Interview: An Evening With Dream Theater

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It’s a common consideration that keyboardists are short-lived band members, easily replaced or even disposable. Rarely are keyboardists considered a full-time member. To have such a status – beyond that of a mere session musician – you need to bring considerable creativity to the table, and more than just the usual.

In short, Jordan Rudess – keyboards of legendary progressive metal band Dream Theater – is just as important as any other member of the band. He started with the band in 1999 to record 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory', and since has co-written and recorded seven other studio albums with Dream Theater, including 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence', 'Train of Thought’, ‘Octavarium’, 'Systematic Chaos’, 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings’ and 'A Dramatic Turn of Events', as well as their newest self-titled album 'Dream Theater'.  He has also appeared on a number of live albums and DVDs, namely 'Live Scenes From New York', 'Live at Budokan’, 'Chaos in Motion' and 'Live at Luna Park’.

From 1997-99 and in 2008, Rudess was invited by the then Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy, to be the keyboardist in a side project called 'Liquid Tension Experiment' along with guitarist John Petrucci. Liquid Tension Experiment had a similar sound to Dream Theater, but with more of a jazzy feel, and it was purely instrumental.

With a collection of awards and accolades from publications such as Guitar World, Revolver, Metal Hammer, Rolling Stone, Spin and Classic Rock, as well as Grammy nominations rightly bestowed upon the band over the course of their storied career, Jordan has played a major role in all of the band's movements, from songwriting to stage and album designs, and important decision-making.

If all of that doesn't convinced that Jordan Rudess deserves the status of legend – although he’s 'just' a keyboardist – consider the fact that at the age of just nine he entered the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division for classical piano training, which alone is an honourable feat. And not to forget, he is the founder and owner of one of the world's top app-making companies, called ‘Wisdom Music’.

In a recent interview with Jordan he told me, "I like creating lots of apps for Apple and android devices. That’s really a big part of my life. I enjoy playing with graphics and photos and stuff like that.”

We got talking about the upcoming tour and I found out why ‘An Evening with Dream Theater’ is different than the normal Dream Theater concerts; "This particular show we are taking down there [Australia] is a huge experience. It’s a three-hour show. It’s the grandest Dream Theater show we have ever produced. Comparing it to festivals is like night and day, because with festivals we go in and it’s more like we are just playing a shorter time – but this show is going to be a much larger-scale production. We’ve got a lot of cool videos, a lot of cool lights and cool stage design, and that kind of thing."

"What we are presenting, so as far as our show goes it's very dialled-in. You can kind of think of it as a Broadway show or something. We don’t modify our music on-the-fly depending on what we think the audience is doing at the moment; it’s more like we are presenting our show which is prepared to be an experience, and hoping that people will go along for the ride, if you will. So far they seem to be enjoying the show. It’s dialled-in. It’s a real show. We know exactly what we are going to do and everybody in the crew knows what's happening with all of the lighting and visual changes and song changes."

"We haven’t been there for a while and we have missed coming there [Australia]. It’s time we came back and luckily we are coming back. Anybody who knows Dream Theater is going to be pleased with the evening which we're presenting. It’s a mixture of our older music – like 'Awake' – plus a bunch of things from the newest self-titled album, and it’s going to be a treat for our long-time fans and for our newer fans, who are all going to really enjoy it. We are going to be really, really tight for sure, and we are really looking forward to it. It will be great to see everybody there again because it’s been just too long."

The tour has been nominated for a ‘Best Live Event’ award at this year’s Progressive Music Awards, demonstrating it is certainly one of the finest prog shows currently touring the world.
CLICK: Photos from the Melbourne gig.

Dream Theater Tour Dates

Wednesday 29th October : Palais Theatre, Melbourne
Thursday 30th October : Big Top, Sydney



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