DREAM THEATER (Provinssirock, Finland 14th of June, 2002)

The prog maestros Dream Theater invaded Finland once again for the fifth time, and surely I was gonna be there like many other dedicated DT fans to witness this perfect live band. Dream Theater must have the worst luck considering the places where they have to play. I have been to all of their shows in Finland and this time I had to travel altogether 600 km to see them. Out of the five gigs, three were held at places that just don't work too well soundwise for most of the bands. And festivals are usually quite a disaster when it comes to sounds. Provinssirock is located in the middle part of Finland where most of the music festivals are held, so it's quite far from Helsinki where bands usually play. But I knew I'd see some familiar faces here too.

Most of the DT fans I know have been faithful to the band and it's no wonder, the band has released amazing albums. Their latest, "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" is yet another masterpiece with songs as long as the Great Wall of China but with amazing techniques and musicianship. An average music fan might fall asleep while listening to the cd. So bearing in mind that an average music fan is just what festivals draw in like flies it was clear that this gig wasn't going to be anything huge considering the place was packed with youngsters getting helluva drunk and pretty much having no idea who Dream Theater are.

When the show was about to start though, a lot of people appeared out of nowhere near the stage. Many of them wearing DT shirts of all kinds. Even the oldest ones. The show started with "Regression", a fine start after a two years wait. Other songs that were played from Metropolis 2 were "Fatal Tragedy", "Home" and "The Spirit Carries On", where James LaBrie got to relax a bit and sat on a chair while singing. But Jordan Rudess had to stand of course and he had a cure for not getting bored and falling asleep while playing [Lay-out dept: surely their songs are not THAT boring???]. He had a spinning stand for his keys, so he must've had a blast going circles all through the show.

The noise level was too high, so it wasn't a pleasure to be standing right next to the speakers even though I had small earplugs, but not big enough ! Other bands were having the same problem, so I wonder how many people had their ears bleeding 'cos you just can't back away when your fave band is on the stage ! Otherwise the show was great, even though LaBrie couldn't hit the highest notes anymore. He seemed to have trouble with his voice. Mike Portnoy sang a lot too as he has done for a long time now. From far his voice was heard really well and he seemed to sing out of tune a few times, but the noise must've been hellish on stage too to hear one's own voice.

There was a lot of jamming and some new songs of which two were long. Even though the new album is great you would've expected to hear more songs from the first albums. As the new songs are so long and complicated they didn't work too well for the drunken, miscellaneous crowd. The real fans of course knew the lyrics and were having their own dance performances in the area, not giving up dancing just because it's so complicated!

When the band hit the notes for songs "Burning My Soul", "Surrounded", "6:00" and "Take The Time" it was time for the crowd to party hard ! The older songs are still working best at least for finnish fans. The last song of the show "Take The Time" ended in a long jam, but it was pretty clear that the band hadn't intended it this way. If you don't care much of techniques you could give some thought to the lyrics though. They're brilliant and maybe some fans got kicks out of just having a chance to sing them live with the band. Though Dream Theater played an honourable hour and 40 minutes it just didn't seem to be enough for the fans or the band, which already had played overtime and came back on stage for the bows and to say they were sorry for not having more time. Maybe we could've heard "Another Day" live if they were given more time ? Lately they've played it in other countries so who knows. It would've been the first time in Finland the fans would've heard such a great song live. Maybe next time then guys, please ?

The setlist:

1. Regression
2. The Glass Prison
3. 6:00
4. Fatal Tragedy
5. Surrounded
6. Burning My Soul
7. War Inside My Head/The Test That Stumped Them All
8. The Great Debate
9. Home (no intro)
10. The Spirit Carries On
11. Take The Time

Text & Pix by Satu Reunanen
(Photos from an instore signing session last year)