8 years after their last appearance in Greece, the world’s biggest progressive metal band returned, and hopefully this will be the start of a more stable presence in our country.
With my apologies to Jason Richardson, whom I missed, I will begin with Minus One, from Cyprus, who represented their country in the Eurovision contest of 2016. They were the band adding a different flavor to the mix, performed well, but none of their songs stayed with me afterwards. Cool little Queen snippet towards the end.
Animals as Leaders played in Greece for the first time, but unfortunately the sound wasn’t their ally. The technical problems they faced seemed to affect them for a large portion of the set; although all three members are undoubtedly great musicians, I expected more on the communication aspect, especially since we are talking about an instrumental band trying to capture the attention of a new audience. I must admit however that during ‘The Woven Web’ many people around me had their jaws on the floor.
Following the schedule impeccably, Dream Theater’s show started at 21.30 sharp with ‘Untethered Angel’ off of ‘Distance over Time’. From the very first notes the familiar yet always impressive quality that the band exudes was apparent, leaving us anxious to take it all in. Mangini makes ‘A Nightmare to Remember’, the first song he ever played in his audition for DT, and makes it look annoyingly easy. Myung and Rudess are always reliable and their playing is worthy of being studied, while LaBrie has kept his voice in good condition.
The sound from upstairs, where I was during the majority of the show, was good, which was not the case at the general admission area, but more on that later.
The melody in ‘Fall into the Light’ was as majestic as on the record. Generally the clarity in Petrucci’s sound is out of this world, the man is at the top of his game. Highlights included ‘In the Presence of Enemies, part I’, the power display of ‘The Dance of Eternity’ and of course ‘As I Am’, as clearly and prophetically requested in our article before the show.
Regarding the setlist, personally I thoroughly enjoyed all the new songs. It goes without saying that I would have preferred a complete ‘evening with’ show, with ‘Scenes…’ played in its entirety, instead of this shorter, festival-style slot, but it is what it is. Furthermore, a proper headline show would require an adequate venue – which leads me to the organization. Five different ticket categories, priced accordingly, only work in stadiums, especially if one of those is for tables (!) evocative of a different, lesser kind of music show. In the general admission area, people were stacked, sitting on the stairs. This is not a concert meant to be casually watched from a distance, or in a thrash metal pit; people deserve to watch and listen to the band clearly, from anywhere in the venue.
Food for thought, as I blast ‘Train of Thought’ once more…
Setlist: Untethered Angel, A Nightmare to Remember, Fall into the Light, Peruvian Skies, Barstool Warrior, In the Presence of Enemies part I, The Dance of Eternity, Lie, Pale Blue Dot
Encore: As I Am
Photos: Chris Kissadjekian