After a long rainy day, the rain let up just in time for the fans to line up outside of Oshkosh Arena. A long line stretched from the front door and around the corner of the building all the way to the back side. Once fans made their way in, a large stage was set up in what is usually a basketball arena for the local college.
Just a few minutes after I made it into the arena, Animals As Leaders came out to kick off the prog metal show. Animals As Leaders are an instrumental prog metal band out of LA. Fronted by Tosin Abasi on an 8 string guitar. Playing fast lead parts that showed of his skills on the guitar. Tosin was along side of Javier Reyes also on guitar and drummer Matt Garstka. Animals As Leaders were a great start to an evening of great prog metal. With a set that lasted around 45 minutes.
Animals As Leaders
After a short break, Devin Townsend took the stage. Now I have never heard of Devin until about a month before this show. I seen he was going to be on the tour so I looked him up. Started listening to his album ‘Lightworker’ was instantly amazed hearing his music. What a voice Devin Townsend has, such a range and the way he uses it is just so different. I was very much looking forward to seeing him for the first time.
Devin Townsend came out speaking with an intro first. Then went into playing ‘Lightworker’ and then ‘Kingdom’ right after a couple that have become favorites of mine and really show off his vocals. Not only is Devin an amazing performer but he’s also a really fun guy who jokes on stage and has a great time up there. At one point he also let us know, that it was John Petrucci of Dream Theaters Birthday. But to keep it quiet. At one point a Theramin was brought out that Devin would use during ‘Dimensions’. He definitely had fun jokingly playing around with it. It sounded really good added in to the song. Devin Townsend’s set ended with ‘Bad Devil’, the while band was wearing large oversized red cowboy hats with horns. His set lasted around an hour. It sounded amazing and was fun to watch with his comedic way about him. Definitely a great addition to the Dreamsonic tour.
After another break it was time for the headliners of the night and tour, Dream Theater to take the stage. Mike Mangini on drums was the first to walk out then John Petrucci on guitar, Jordan Rudess on keyboard and John Myung on bass.
First song played was ‘The Alien’ and James Labrie would take the stage just in time for his singing part. Throughout the night James would be on and off the stage. During longer instrumental parts he’d leave the stage and come back out when it was time for his vocals again. Throughout the Dream Theater set between John Petrucci on guitar and Jordan Rudess on keyboard. They would take turns with lead parts. On the large screen behind Mike Mangini’s drum set, dreamlike videos from different albums would be played on it. Which really made for some awesome imagery.
About a quarter of the way through the set James Labrie said they were having some technical difficulties. Which appeared to be with Jordan’s keyboard as the stage hands switched it out. James tried to keep the audience entertained talking to them until John Petrucci starting playing some instrumentals and Mike Mangini joined in on drums. After about five minutes they were good to go again.
Dream Theaters set would also include a few favorites, ‘Caught In A Web’, ‘Pull Me Under’ and ‘The Spirit Carries On’. The show ended with ‘The Spirit Carries On’. But just before playing the final song as said earlier, this night was John Petrucci’s birthday. So they first played Happy Birthday and the crowd sang along. Also a birthday cake with candles was brought out which John blew out. After, he hugged his band mates. They then went into ‘The Spirit Carries On’. Joined on stage by Devin Townsend and Animals As Leaders. Was really an amazing finale to a completely great show.
I’ve seen Dream Theater a few times in the past. The other shows I’ve seen were only Dream Theater and they played a long set on their own. This was my first time seeing them with other bands and it was definitely great to see the other bands also. Especially Devin Townsend! So this Dreamsonic tour is definitely a great addition to Dream Theater’s normal touring. Definitely a show I’d suggest seeing.
Or anytime Dream Theater is out on their own touring definitely a must see. These guys in my opinion are one of the most talented group of musicians out their. Each and every member of the band are absolute masters of their instrument. James Labrie is a great vocalist also and sounds amazing on albums. Unfortunately in recent years his vocals seem to fall a little short live. Although it’s still amazing seeing and hearing him and the whole band live anytime. Amazing songwriters and musicians that won’t disappoint.