WOW! Just ... wow. This may have been the best Dream Theater concert I've ever seen (albeit this was only my fifth, I saw them in 2000, 2005, and three times the last 8 months)
My fiance and I won tickets and meet and greets from the text trivia contest, the only downside to that part was we didn't actually win the package - we only got an extra poster, no shirt, picks, bag, etc .. and our tickets we won were close to the back on the floor .. but we were able to give those away to friends and we used the original tickets we bought the second they were on sale, row 7 middle, which was pretty damn awesome!
The venue was incredible! the Austin City Limits Live Moody Theater isn't the visually striking spectacle that San Antonio's Majestic Theater last night was, but there isn't a bad seat in the house! There's two balcony levels, and they're pretty close to the stage .. and the acoustics were MUCH better than last night's San Antonio show. I just saw LaBrie give the sound guy one adjustment, as opposed to at least 15 last night. Everything sounded crisp and perfectly mixed .. and VERY LOUD, my poor ears. Oh but they love it.
The meet and greet was cool .. I was kinda sad though, there were only 20-25 people. Last year there were close to 100. We got a little extra time chatting because of that though, so it was fine. We printed out the photo we got at last year's meet and greet right after we got engaged .. and they signed it, so that was awesome!
The show itself .. I said it before and I'll say it again these guys are insanely incredible to be doing this night in and night out at their age! Easily the best live band in history, and they get better and better, not sure how! James' singing was just as loud and powerful and perfect, no cracks or anything, as last night, and this was his third night in a row. Every band member with a top notch perfect performance, and James had a few little extra speeches than he did last night.
As for the setlist, well we got a little surprise in Austin tonight! I noticed early on they skipped A Fortune In Lies .. I kinda wondered if it was because they played 3 nights in a row and needed a break, which wouldn't have upset me anyway. Well, after they left the stage after Breaking All Illusions, a minute later the cube screens popped on with a little video never seen on this tour, talking about big events and little events that happened on this day in 1992 .. and yes, mentioned the release of Images and Words!
Lo and behold, they jump into Pull Me Under... never played on this tour. Then jumped into Another Day!! A song that has a special place in my heart, and I've always wished them to play it live again, I hadn't heard of a time they ever did since 1999. A cool idea for it, Jordan played the sax part on his keyboard, with an awesome sound not quite like a real sax, but not like an electronic one either. Then they ended it with the regular encore for this tour, Metropolis Part I! Featuring some more amazing antics on drums by Mangini, one stick in his mouth, etc.
Yes, it was quite a night to remember .. and NOT a nightmare to remember ;)