Dream Theater at Noorderligt, Tilburg, The Netherlands, Tuesday 15th April 1997


23 Mar 2009, 23:20

Tue 15 Apr – Dream Theater
My first opportunity to catch DT live in over 2 years, so I was well pumped up the evening. The setlist was going to be predictable, based on that used at the last couple of Christmas shows, but with the added bonus that we'd get to hear some of the new material live. After all, the tour was entitle 'An Evening of New music.

I booked my tickets over the Internet, but all the same I was a little aprehensive about whether or not they would be there for me when I arrived. I needn't have worried as the staff at the Nooderligt had put them aside for me and were really friendly and helpful. Having entered the foyer wearing my ytsejam sweatshirt, complete with huge Majesty logo on the back, I fully expected to encounter some fellow ytsejammers. (I'd already met Mark Metzger in a pizza-joint just before the show.) Sure enough, within minutes of entering, Denis Schoen from "Theater of Dreams" and Ties Goebel introduced themselves.

The Noorderligt was a strange place to have chosen. It looked pretty run-down from the outside, but inside it was well organised and obviously doubled as a concert venue and night club. It held 1000+ sweaty, tall, dutch people and was gently sloped from back to front enabling a decent view for the majority of those present.

First up were Enchant who played an entertaining if not very memorable set. It was the first time I'd heard anything from them at all, so I'd like to reserve judgement. I'm sure I could like them, but I need to spend some time listening to their records first.

The tension leading up to the entrance of DT on stage was terrible. 2 years is a long time to wait to see your favorite band and there were times when you wondered if they would tour again, so it was a huge releif to hear the strains of A Change of Seasons over the PA. The crowd roared their delight - the sound was terrific and ACOS sounded even better than on disc.

The crowd roared again as James joined the other members on-stage. He sounded out of this world. The Mirror/Lie followed before we got the chance to hear the first of the new songs Burning My Soul. I wasn't impressed - yes there were some heavy sounds in there, but the lyrics were un-inspiring. On to Another Hand/The Killing Hand, which was the highlight of the show for me. When Dream And Day Unite took a while to grow on me as an album, but performed live this song is sensational, and with James in this kind of form, the whole thing was just magical!

Just Let Me Breathe was the second new song played and once again I was left wondering where all the wonderful complex music had gone to. It was straight-forward enough, but sounded downright uninspired alongside the old classics. The next one up was the messed-up version of Caught in a Web, entitled 'Caught in Alice's Nine-inch Toolgarden', in which the guys introduced all kinds of industrial sounds from the sources indicated by the title - Nine-inch Nails, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains etc. OK, but not an immediate success to my ears.

Peruvian Skies was next. Again it sounded unfinished, good in parts, but lacking the magic to make it a classic. 'Pull me Under' got things back on track, except that James seemed to take exception to some of the moshing going down at the front of the stage and almost got himself involved in an argument. Lines in the Sand and Take Away My Pain were touted as being classics of the future, but failed to live up to the enthusiastic reviews I'd read on the Ytsejam and in the fanzines. I was really starting to be a little fearful that the new album wasn't going to be up to the standard expected of these guys.

Well, a further extract of 'ACOS', followed by Ytsejam and Learning to Live showed that the guys could do it. They hadn't lost the ability to play and whatever the shortcomings of the new material, they showed that they were still a force to be reckoned with. 2 hours plus of material meant that they deserved a break.

It wasn't a very long break, since the crowd screamed for more and were eventually rewarded with the obligatory Metropolis Pt I. Brilliant stuff once again.

Speaking to fellow jammers after the show, I couldn't hide my disappointment with the new material, despite the enthusiasm of others. As gigs go, it was very good, but it hadn't lived up to the expectations I'd had of it and which had led me to travel several hundred miles. Maybe it would be better the following night.

ACoS - The Crimson Sunrise / Innocence
The Mirror
Burning My Soul
Another Hand / The Killing Hand
Just Let Me Breathe
Caught in a Web
Peruvian Skies
Pull Me Under
Lines in the Sand
Take Away My Pain
ACOS - The Darkest Of Winters
The Ytsejam
Learning to Live
Metropolis - Part 1


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