DREAM THEATER - Along For The Ride : Prepare To Be Illuminated
March 9, 2014, 6 years ago
By Carl Begai
There are moments during this interview when DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess comes across as a peace n' love kinda guy. Not in a so-chill-he-must-be-on-something way, but rather with a Life Is Good enthusiasm for the band's current status as prog metal kings. You can't blame him for being upbeat considering the wave of success Dream Theater is riding with their latest album and the recently wrapped European tour. It's a buzz that's sure to get louder when the they kick off their North American tour later this month, featuring (almost) nightly three-hour shows designed and guaranteed to captivate everyone in attendance.
It was certainly a gamble in that any show exceeding two hours, particularly featuring music as complex, intense and downright epic as what Dream Theater offers, runs the risk of boring the snot out of even the artist's most ardent fans.
Since the release of the new album, and due in particular to press coverage during the European tour, it's become very clear that Dream Theater is functioning as a unit better than they have in years. Interviews conducted with Rudess, John Petrucci (guitars) and James LaBrie (vocals) have hammered home the point, as far as they're concerned, that Dream Theater functions better without founding drummer Mike Portnoy, who left the band in 2010. Asked to explain their stance, Rudess is genuinely respectful of Portnoy when discussing his influence on the band for better and/or worse.
The impression is that Dream Theater's members are able to breathe freely now, and the audience is feeding off that energy."We're in a very happy place," Rudess agrees. "Mike Mangini is not only a fantastic out-of-the-box drum god, he's a fun and crazy character and that makes us happy. It couldn't be any better. We play on stage with the guy and he's doing these amazing things that make you smile. Mangini is very into engaging other people, you've got John Myung (bass) back there vibing with him, and it's cool seeing the bassist wanting to get involved (laughs). There's a camaraderie and open-ness being able to work together and enjoy together."
Rudess admits that even under the An Evening With... format, preparing a Dream Theater setlist at this point of their career is a potential nightmare featuring "lots of discussion, lots of preparation." And while they're more or less committed to playing the fan favourites, there's a focus on bringing some of the new album to life and turning those tracks into in-demand concert tracks for the future."It's been a lot of fun," Rudess says of performing the new material, which is still fresh to his ears. "For me, I'm very into the epic tunes that we write, so a track like 'Illumination Theory' is so much fun to play. It's great because I spent so much time is the studio doing so much tracking, finding sounds, and really making all my orchestrational ideas come to life. The studio mode is one thing, but then I do this kind of pre-production to figure out how to play all that stuff live. That's the point where I feel 'Wow, I've got this all under my fingers...' and I'm presenting all this work that I did every night on stage. It's the result of a lot of time and a lot of practice, and we all feel this is a great opportunity to present the new material we're so passionate about."
Photos by:- Florian Stangl (Metal-Fotos.de)
- Daniela Adelfinger (Tierra-de-Oz.net) in cooperation with Kalle Rock
Go to this location for Dream Theater's complete tour schedule.