RoD header


Amphitheater, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
24th June 2009
Dream Theater, Neal Morse

It was only a few days since we saw the Amphitheatre in Gelsenkitchen the last time attending the Blackfield Festival. And on that warm and sunny Wednesday evening, perfect weather for an Open Air gig by the way, we were back to see the Prog gods of DREAM THEATER and with us thousands of other people. We took our places on the huge steps of the theatre with a good view on the stage and in anticipation of what’s to come we’re wound up for a high pitch.

Neal Morse

Californian musician NEAL MORSE, who’s a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and lyricist has made a reputation for himself with his works for the bands SPOCK’S BEARD and TRANSATLANTIC. He departed from both in 2002 because he became a born again Christian and on the first solo work ‘Testimony’ (2003) the period leading to this decision is described in. The second album ‘One’, about man's relationship with God came out in November 2004. His latest and meanwhile sixth solo effort, named ‘Lifeline’ has been released on 30th September 2008. NEAL MORSE live is Neal Morse (vocals, keys, guitar), Paul Bielatowicz (guitars), Elisa Krijgsman (guitars), Wilco van Esschoten (bass guitar), Jessica Koomen (vocals, keys, percussion), Henk Doest (keys), and Collin Leijenaar (drums). /

Music & Performance
I wouldn’t say I’m a Christian or a believer and lots of the lyrics would have made that absolutely necessary in my opinion but this isn’t about faith in god this is about the music and the music itself was absolutely fascinating; finest Prog Rock to say it straight. I hadn’t heard of NEAL MORSE thus far but others obviously had as every member of the band as soon as he or she hit the stage was frenetically welcomed. Morse coming as the last one probably had biggest applause and kicks the show off right away with the first song and long engaging instrumental passages before I heard Morse’s voice for the first time. And I had to admit that this guy has a damn good voice, strong and smooth at the same time and he’s a king on his keyboard with fingers running over it at the speed of light.

For the song ‘We all need some Light’, he welcomed DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy on stage and the audience sang the first chorus of the gentle and widely acoustic song all alone. A great moment, however there were two more to follow when on ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’ he had his son coming on stage singing the song together with him. On the last song called ‘Lifeline’, Neil chose to leave the stage to run out into the amphitheatre and continue singing on the huge steps and found some time to pose for a photo with a fan. A very likeable guy and a virtuoso musician including great live band!

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: (daylight)
Total: 8 / 10

Dream Theater

DREAM THEATER has been formed under the name MAJESTY in 1985 but had to drop that name as another band of the same name already existed and took the suggestion of founding member Mike Portnoys father, inspired by a theatre in Monterrey. The first official album ‘When Dream and Day Unite’ (1989) didn’t get the success band and label had hoped but widely gained positive reception in the press. The breakthrough came with ‘Images and Words’(1992) and Canadian native James LaBrie, replacing Charlie Dominici on vocals. The album is also famous for the epos ‘Metropolis Part I’ which found its continuation first in the form of the band’s fifth studio release ‘Metropolis Part II: Scenes from a Memory’ in 1999. By that time the band’s success spread worldwide and following the Metropolis 200 world tour was their first Live DVD.

Rolling forward to 2007, DREAM THEATER have signed to the renowned Roadrunner Records label and released their ninth studio album ‘Systematic Chaos’ in 2007. ‘Black Clouds & Silver Linings’ is the name of their newest album, released on Roadrunner Records in June. DREAM THEATER is James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (guitar, vocals), John Myung (bass), Jordan Rudess (keys), and Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals). /

Music & Performance
The sun was already setting and sent her deep orange rays on the amphitheatre when the time of the DREAM THEATER show drew closer and a palpable tension filled the air for everyone was waiting for their heroes and also we did wait for the things to come. The first thing that came was the theme from ‘Psycho’ and short time later it was time for the band to appear one by one and just like before with the NEIL MORSE live band they’ve been frenetically welcomed in Gelsenkirchen, which is obviously hard for an American to say as John LaBrie later pointed out ;-).

The aforementioned was the last one to come up after his band colleagues led by the amazing John Petrucci and John Myung “showed off” with their skills on the opener ‘In The Presence of Enemies Pt I’. No, seriously, I think never before I have seen something like that. Such an exemplary virtuosity with which each member handles its instrument! That’s clearly out of this world. Contrary to other bands, DREAM THEATER are keeping it quite plain and natural like a “normal” rock band with LaBrie doing his extraordinary vocals and pushing and involving the audience and that means almost everybody and not just the crowd front of stage. When there’s nothing to do for him he kept disappearing behind a tower of speakers and left the field to the others and you were never tired of looking at what they were doing down there the audible results in following songs such as ‘Beyond This Life, ‘Take The Time’ and ‘Rite of Passage’ from the just recently released new album. Those songs were shifting and morphing so many times it was hard to keep track sometimes if it was still the same song.

For the balladry and serene ‘Hollow Years’, started with the stunning acoustic solo of Petrucci, a stool was placed on stage from which LaBrie would perform this time. With the constant receding of daylight, the stunning light show gained more virtue and drenched the stage in front of that picturesque scenery in varying, colourful lights. Time had run faster down the hourglass than expected and with ‘As I Am’, band and audience equally contributed to, comes the call of goodbye. “Goodbye??? Who do they think they are? We want another song” and after clapping and after unmistakable signals had been sent out from the people we got one more. Actually a medley and what a medley! One to make you awestruck with solos from every member playing themselves dizzy on the instruments. With that impression the released us into the night! So, that was me attending my first DREAM THEATER show, but certainly not the last one. Now I knew why they’re praised like that.

01. In The Presence of Enemies Pt1
02. Beyond This Life
03. Take The Time
04. A Rite Of Passage
05. Hollow Years
06. Caught In A Web
07. Erotomania
08. Voices
09. Solitary Shell
10. Forsaken
11. As I Am
12. Medley (Metropolis / Learning To Live / The Crimson Sunset)

Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9.4 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /


Comments powered by CComment