Dream Theater Captivates Philly Fans an Unparalleled Anniversary Performance of Images & Words

Merriam Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 11/26/17

By: Steve Trager

Dream Theater (credit: Steve Trager)

Dream Theater has always been the type of band that has never compromised their musical talent and has never uncompressed their signature sound making them one of the best progressive rock bands still recording and touring behind stellar music today.

Even without Dream Theater receiving the limelight of enduring continuous momentous commercial radio airplay success throughout an entire career, these guys can still craft some great music fulfilled with intense melodies and endless virtuoso musical compositions that truly transcends the musical mind.

We all love popular bands and the music that they bring to the table and give us the music fans great pleasure for hours on end but we often forget about bands that in the back of our minds are popular but not as popular with the rest of the world much like Dream Theater seems to be still playing to small venues yet still managing to sell – out seats with a blink of an eye.

Rounding out another great year of shows in Philadelphia for 2017, I had the greatest chance to see one of my favorite bands that actually doesn’t come through as many times as I would like, but for the hand full of times that they have, they never disappoint any time I have seen DT in full production at within the band’s finest degree.

While Philadelphia is no stranger to DT, I myself captured a glimpse back twenty five years when they were first generating a buzz with a relic recording entitled Images & Words released in September of 1992, spawning a top ten melodic meltdown with the same name.

What keeps this band in a high point with no signs of slowing down, it’s the chemistry within the realm of musicians who bring a unique blend of great music showcasing talent. Rounding out their almost two year tour in celebration of their 1992 release, they made an annual stop in down town Philadelphia at the ever popular Merriam Theater, which holds a nice 1100 capacity.

With no opening act to get bored with and sit through a bunch of unfamiliar songs, it was a two plus hour set of nothing but Dream Theater and I have to say it’s never a disappointment ever seeing them pull out some great classics spanning a unique history captivating a legacy of a band that earned themselves a gold record with Images & Words.

Dream Theater (credit: Steve Trager)

I absolutely love any band that comes on stage right on cue and sets the tone for a great evening worth of music even if it lasts just about two hours or so, it still gives you that wow factor showcasing amazing talent amongst musicians.

Dream Theater opened their first set with what they call a blending of greatest hits. I being unfamiliar with many of these songs since I stopped collecting CD’s over a decade ago, just was amazed of how fine-tuned this band actually is. I think they played anywhere from six to eight songs in total, but as we all know most songs in their catalog are quite lengthy but still rock solid greatness overall.

A nice quick intermission and then it was time for Dream Theater to roll out the entire gold record of Images & Words from front to back. It is a great record at that, captivating the band in their early days as young musicians bringing together that progressive rock sound that truly resonates power and inner passion.

We all have our favorite songs that stick out like a sore thumb and many of these song  we can never get tired of on repeat, Dream Theater certainly wowed Philly fans this time around with a classic record that is nothing short of great.

Their top ten mega hit Pull Me Under is already well over eight minutes in length, the live version stretched beyond a limitless boundaries showcasing segments with extend keyboard solos and guitar and drum extensions making that opening track in a live setting definitely making it the best new live version.

Over all Dream Theater can still bring that genuine wow factor to a small venue, been that way for a number of years especially in the USA touring cycle, I can remember seeing this band in early 1992 playing to a small crowd maybe pushing two hundred people, they have come a long way since then, grown as musicians and have certainly captivated any fan that enjoys progressive rock to its finest degree.

If you missed this tour obviously you may never hear this record again in its entirety, but we always see Dream Theater come round to promote a new effortless master piece.


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