Well here we are on a Monday and this will be the first of my music blogs. Now had I been at Pittodrie Stadium last night, I would have been able to bring you a review of Rod Stewart’s concert in Aberdeen, but not being a fan of him, I wasn’t. Sorry about that. Instead I shall talk about one of my favourite bands, in fact my favourite, Dreamtheater. I( was introduced to this band by my best mate one drunken night around 1998 and have love them ever since so for that Boyd, I thank you.

The Band
They were formed over 20 years ago in Long Island, and the group comprised Mike Portnoy (drums), John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), Kevin Moore (keyboards) and Charlie Dominici (vocals). From very humble beginnings at Berklee College of Music they have risen through the ranks of modern progressive rock music to become one of the biggest acts in their field today.

Personnel Changes
The band has undergone a number of personnel changes through the years just like any other band. Dominici left the group to pursue other interests and was replaced by Canadian James LaBrie whose vocal performances have just got better and better as the years go by, particularly live. Keyboardist Kevin Moore also left the group although all the particulars of his leaving are not known specifically. Derek Sherinian replaced Moore on keyboards for the recording and tour of the album Falling Into Infinity. He has gone on to be in a number of successful groups since also leaving Dreamtheater. The current and in my opinion, one of the best keyboard players that has ever been involved with rock music is maestro Jordan Rudess who, since joining in 1999 has become a massive favourite with fans all over the world and fits the Dreamtheater mould perfectly.

The Music
The band has recorded 11 studio albums and is currently mixing their 12th due for release in September of this year. I personally can’t wait although there is some trepidation with this release. Founding member and drummer Mike Portnoy sensationally quit the band last year and it has been a massive undertaking to find a new guy, but Mike Mangini has been given the job so it will be very interesting to see  if the band’s sound has changed any this time out.

Onto some of my favourite tracks. There are so many and I could go on forever, but I’ll limit it to just 3 here. From the album Images & Words came the song “Metropolis Pt 1″. A mighty 9 and a half minutes, it is a true example of how good these virtuosos are and how that from just a jam session great music was made and will live on. Heres the music:

Next up is one from a little more recent. Taken from the Live Scenes album in 2000, “Through Her Eyes” demonstrates that even on a live stage, they can improvise and do something that gives you chills and the phenomenal vocal performance from Theresa Thomason is something that I wish I could have seen live at the time, but have since this recording. Enjoy:

Finally I’ll leave you with something from their last album Black Clouds & Silver Linings in 2009, “The Shattered Fortress” is an amalgamation of a number of tracks, a medley if you like of reworkings of some older tracks from Dreamtheater’s albums.

Live Performance
I have seen Dreamtheater on 3 occasions. Once in Manchester and then a two night stand in London. On the second night they performed Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety ands was simply mind-blowing and you can buy that performance on CD and DVD. If you are a fan of live rock music and happen to get a chance to see these guys, snap up the tickets, you will not be disappointed, particularly if there is no support act; you’re then looking at 3 solid hours of live music from them.

Bootleg Culture
The band actively encourages recording of the gigs to be released as bootlegs around the internet. They see it as great promotion for the band and its free. There have been some really great gigs recorded by fans and the band alike and you can buy some of these officially through the band’s website.

So there is a little about some of the music that I like to listen to. Not all of my music blogs will be like this, sometimes I will review a new album or take to my soap-box about the state of the modern music culture, but I hope that any of you reading this will perhaps like what you hear and become a fan aswell. Enjoy the music.