On Sunday evening the prog-rock band Dream Theater, touring on ‘The Astonishing’ double album, played at the San Jose City National Civic Auditorium. This was the last night on the West Coast for the group, after having played Temecula, CA and Reno, NV on consecutive nights before arriving here. They brought with them their style of progressive rock music that has made them prog-rock royalty, and descended on the capital of Silicon Valley with a 2-1/2 hour unleashing of songs that make up the concept album. At 8:00 p.m. as I was standing beside the lighting/sound boards I could here the call for “house lights down! go, go, go!”, and with that Dream Theater began their dystopian tale that is ‘The Astonishing‘. As the show began the late arrivals took their places among the die-hard, on-time fans, settling in for a long night of prog.

This is Dream Theater’s second concept album and guitarist John Petrucci’s first, serving as co-writer and producer. Taking cues from the forerunners in rock history like The Who (‘Tommy‘), Rush (‘2112‘), Queensryche (‘Operation: Mindcrime‘), and Pink Floyd (‘The Wall‘), Pertrucci combined his love of fantasy and science fiction, and melded them with futurism to create this two-act modern rock-opera.

Living up to their name as a “theatrical” group, Dream Theater backs their narrative and visuals with the skill and precise musicianship they have been known for nearly 30 years. Even with lineup changes this band seems to never have missed a beat. Since replacing drummer Mike Portnoy, who left in late 2010, with Mike Mangini in mid-2011 the core of the band seems to have held together over the years. By retaining singer James LaBrie and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, along with Pertrucci, their drive and abilities are certainly what has taken them to the top of the genre.

The 34 songs were cut down by five to make room for fan favorites at the end of the show. Fans I spoke to knew it was unlike many of the shows they had been to, and they knew this time exactly what music to expect. Perhaps that may be why some chose not to attend Sunday’s show, since it was a different type of performance. There may be those that say later on how they missed out on that unique opportunity, as well. Of course, they could hop on a plane and catch them in a week. Dream Theater will next travel to the East Coast for six dates starting in Charlotte, NC on Nov. 28th. A European tour follows an extended two month break and begins in Rome, Italy, then winds itself up and around Europe for at least 19 dates going as far north as Helsinki, Finland. Catch them when they come to your town!



Descent of the NOMACS
Dystopian Overture
The Gift of Music
The Answer
A Better Life
Lord Nafaryus
A Savior in the Square
When Your Time Has Come
Act of Faythe
Three Days
The Hovering Sojourn
Brother, Can You Hear Me?
A Life Left Behind
A Tempting Offer
Digital Discord
A New Beginning

2285 Entr’acte
Moment of Betrayal
The Path That Divides
Machine Chatter
The Walking Shadow
My Last Farewell
Losing Faythe
Hymn of a Thousand Voices
Our New World

Power Down


As I Am
The Spirit Carries On
Pull Me Under


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here