The line to get into the highly coveted Dream Theater concert wrapped around the block. This insanely sold out show was the second stop of a long North America tour lasting from the end of October through the beginning of December. The Images, Words, and Beyond Tour is celebrating the 25 year anniversary of Dream Theater’s second album Images and Words.
Seats filled The Wiltern instead of a standing crowd possibly due to the lengthy duration of Dream Theater’s sets. A small group gathered in front of the stage where the pit would normally be but they were sent packing by the security guards before the show started. With no one allowed to stand in the front, the few photographers were forced to stand to the side of the crowd. After a very long and dramatic introduction, Dream Theater opened with "The Dark Eternal Night" causing the crowd to roar and cheer. After they finished the song, vocalist James LaBrie noticed that there were a lot of people in the crowd who weren’t even born when the album was first released. I was included among them. It just goes to show that good music lasts for generations.
Their set was broken up into three acts. The first act consisted of eight songs spanning their 32 year career and 13 albums as a band. During their song "As I Am," they transitioned into an "Enter Sandman" cover by Metallica which was a very pleasant surprise. At one point, Jordan Rudess grabbed a keytar with an iPad attached to it and played some lead synthesizer parts for a cheering crowd. Dream Theater concluded the first act with the song "Breaking All Illusions" followed by a fifteen-minute intermission. The second act was a play through of their album Images and Words which also included a guitar solo by John Petrucci, a keyboard intro by Jordan Rudess, and a heavy hitting drum solo by Mike Mangini. The third act was the first song off of their 1995 album A Change of Seasons. This song is comprised of five parts and spans twenty-three minutes which made for an excellent encore. The crowd erupted with applause at the end of the show and the band graciously thanked them before exiting. By the end of the show my ears were ringing and my head was aching but I couldn’t stop smiling. From end to end it truly was a phenomenal concert experience.