El Paso Got Its Prog On at the Abraham Chavez with Dream Theater and Crimson Projekct
Thursday night, the Abraham Chavez Theatre progged out with some of the masters of the genre hitting the stage in front of a packed crowd. Dream Theater and Crimson Projekct displayed so much technical mastery over their music and instruments, I wouldn't be surprised if Craigslist had a bunch of new instruments up for sale the day after!
The Crimson Projekct (yes, that's how they spell the name) was up first, playing the music of King Crimson. This is the kind of music that was ahead of its time back then, and still is challenging to the listener. You really have to be confident and knowledgeable on your instrument to play music like this and have it all fit together with what the other guys in the band are playing. When it works, it really works. Tony Levin really experiments with the bass, and is one of the best Chapman Stick players around.
After the changeover, the lights went down and the intro for the Dream Theater show began, with cartoons of the band members getting together and leaving for the tour. After all that was over, the beginning of "Bridges in the Sky" started up and the crowd got loud. Even though the band took a little ribbing on the internet over the bass voice doing its best Dark Crystal urRu impression, this is a great song from the new DT album "A Dramatic Turn of Events".
The band performed all the songs of the set amazingly well, with Mike Mangini looking like he was having the best time ever behind the kit, John Petrucci throwing the guitar god poses while shredding his guitars to bits, Jordan Rudess showing why Juilliard is one of the top music schools around, and John Myung a great example of few words but mighty talent. James gets a lot of flack from some, but I happen to really like his voice, and his solo albums are really good, too. Check out "Elements of Persuasion" for some fantastic stuff.
My only complaint is that, for whatever reason, Mike Mangini didn't get to do his drum solo here. I've seen video of it from other shows, and I was really looking forward to it. I'm usually pretty bored during a lot of drum solos, but his looks really insane! I've been a fan of his since the Annihilator "Set The World on Fire" days.
I found a couple videos from the El Paso show, and hopefully you'll enjoy my photo gallery, too. I couldn't take in my camera, but my iPhone works pretty well.