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  DREAM THEATER ASTONISH BANGKOK WITH IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater: Thunder Dome, Bangkok, Thailand


mark taylor
Words: Mark Taylor, Photos by kind permission of IME Thailand
18th October 2017



dream theater

Dream Theater are no strangers to the Land of Smiles, this being their fourth visit to the capital city of Thailand, yet it's been a long five year wait since Bangkok got their last fix of the technical wizardry from the masters of progressive Metal.

For this tour, Dream Theater are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the breakthrough sophomore album 'Images And Words'. An album released at the height of grunge, beside the rotting corpses of glam hair Metal bands where Dream Theater went against the tide to ride a tidal wave that saw the band from Boston catapulted onto the global stage with an album that blended the crunching riffs of Metallica and the pomposity of Saga with the complexity and tenacity of Rush.

The hard hitting single 'Pull Me Under' become a MTV smash resulting in a Top Ten hit. The album 'Images And Words’, the first album to feature Canadian vocalist James LaBrie, went on to sell over a half million copies in the States alone, their biggest selling album to date.

Only Europe had so far witnessed this celebration, billed as 'Images, Words and Beyond 25th Anniversary Tour', but Dream Theater are no strangers to getting their passports stamped with as many visas as possible. They've visited countries many fear to tread including not only Thailand but also Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and India, as well as visiting Japan and Australia on this exotic trip, something for which the Americans should be highly applauded for.

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Before anything bordering on nostalgia, Dream Theater got their claws into latter-day material including the aptly titled opener 'The Dark Eternal Night' featuring bone crunching riffage from the bearded John Petrucci and devilishly snarling vocals from James LaBrie.

The engaging vocalist had trouble with his unbalanced wandering mic-stand which at one point fell into the pit, but Labrie had no problem with his vocals which filled the hall above the majestic cacophony of sound.

Dream Theater's last opus, 2016's 'The Astonishing' was presented with 'The Gift Of Music' and fellow single 'Our New World'. Six string bassist John Myung paid tribute to Jaco Pastorius with an expressive solo called 'Portait Of Tracey'.

The doomy 'As I Am' segued into dangerous territory with a snatch of Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' which received one of the loudest cheers of the night.

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After a twenty minute intermission, the loudest roars were reserved for the piece de resistance, whose entrance was signalled by a 1992 Happy New Year radio recording followed by Dream Theater belting out their ten minute epic 'Pull Me Under' which made Bangkok come well and truly alive with arms out stretched as the Thais faithfully sang along to every world.

Voices were raised even higher as they angelically knew every word to the dream-like ballad 'Another Day'. John Petrucci got to grips with 'Take The Time' impressing all budding guitarists who stared on in amazement, towards the right hand side of the stage.

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The euphoria continues with a soaring 'Surrounded'. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess and Drummer Mike Mangini may not have appeared on 'Images And Words' when it was released 25 years ago but their contribution tonight was wholeheartedly impassioned with aplomb and precision, Mangini proving his worth with a captivating drum solo on 'Metropolis Pt I', and Rudess adding his own intricate intro to the ballad 'Wait For Sleep', emotionally sung by Labrie.

A complex 'Learning To Live', which has more time changes than a Southern Rail timetable signalled the end of a remarkable album.

The grand finale saw a twenty five minute encore with the challenging eight parts 'A Change Of Seasons' which was originally intended to fit onto the 'Images And Words' album but was released three years later on an extended EP.

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Many here tonight were too young to remember its original release and for them, Dream Theater united the Thunder Dome into a Theater of Dreams.

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Setlist:
Act 1:
The Dark Eternal Night
The Bigger Picture
Hell's Kitchen
The Gift Of Music
Our New World
Portrait Of Tracy
As I Am
Breaking All Illusions

Act 2 (Images & Words):
Intermission
Pull Me Under
Another Day
Take The Time
Surrounded
Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper
Under A Glass Moon
Wait For Sleep
Learning To Live

Encore:
A Change of Seasons: I The Crimson Sunrise
A Change of Seasons: II Innocence
A Change of Seasons: III Carpe Diem
A Change of Seasons: IV The Darkest Of Winters
A Change of Seasons: V Another World
A Change of Seasons: VI The Inevitable Summer
A Change of Seasons: VII The Crimson Sunset

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