I GOT AN ALL ACCESS PASS TO THE DREAM THEATER CONCERT & YOU HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE JEALOUS
Hey ladies, has your boyfriend met Dream Theater?
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10 October 2017

We sent a monster fan to the Dream Theater concert with an all-access pass, and what he did next may not blow your mind, but everything about last Sunday exploded his.

 

Ask anyone who was at the MMRDA grounds last Sunday in Mumbai, and they will not tell you what went down that night. Not because they’ve signed a non-disclosure pact, but because their exhausted vocal cords won’t let them.

 

But that’s what us stable peeps are here for; so you can still get the deets straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak—a couple of writers and social media ninjas at Dream Theater’s historic Images, Words and Beyond tour in India were here to cover the concert, and if this write-up reeks of privilege, it’s only because the gods are not usually this generous to a DT fanboy in Mumbai.

 

When such a fanboy expresses his concern over whether he’d be allowed back inside the gates if he steps out to buy smokeables, his boss tells him, “Do you know who you are today?’’, pointing at the AAA pass hanging from his neck—that’s when privilege gets to his head. At that very moment.

 

 

That, and when James LaBrie casually says ‘hey’ to you.

 

As we walk past the roaring crowd at the MMRDA grounds, and make our way backstage, it was almost enough to be at an arm’s distance from the five vanity vans of the band members. Except that suddenly, out of nowhere, you see James LaBrie briskly walk toward you from the opposite direction. He’s going to his vanity van, of course, but your brain isn’t processing logic at this point, and there’s nothing you can do at that moment besides stare, jaw wide open. Polite as he is, he throws in a little ‘hey’ as he passes you, and you, the nervous wreck, respond… with a namaste! A NAMASTE? Who does that?! Cringemaxxx.

 

As we walk past the roaring crowd at the MMRDA grounds, and make our way backstage, it was almost enough to be at an arm’s distance from the five vanity vans of the band members. Except that suddenly, out of nowhere, you see James LaBrie briskly walk toward you from the opposite direction.

 

And then you get to chat up Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci!

You’re still in a daze, mumbling “James LaBrie noticed me…”, “he said ‘hey’ to me…”, “he knows I exist!”, “I fucking said namaste…’’ when all of a sudden you’re in a room with two other beasts of progressive rock—Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci. The next thing you know, you’re shaking hands with the demigods, exchanging pleasantries, asking them questions on behalf of other fans for a Facebook LIVE, taking autographs for friends, and clicking pictures.

 

“Do you guys know that you have influenced a lot of people in India? People want to dress like you, talk like you, play like you… do you have any idea what Dream Theater means to Indian fans?”

 

Petrucci: Wow…

 

Rudess: You know, we’re kind of getting a feeling for it, especially with the show coming up… you know, more people are reaching out and writing, and we see people talking, but I think being here and what we’ll experience tonight and seeing the reaction will tell us a lot about, you know, what’s going on.

 

Petrucci: I highly discourage people from dressing like me at all, I’m a horrible dresser. All that I wear is black t-shirts. And don’t talk like Jordan, ’cause he has a potty mouth, he’s always cursing…

 

Rudess: <laughs> Shh… You don’t wanna tell people that…

 

Petrucci: <laughs> …but you know, music is an awesome thing, and we’re happy that we have fans, like, so far away from where we live, that are appreciating the music that we do… that’s awesome!

 

Our next question was on behalf of every DT fan and musician who has ever attempted a DT piece: Why are Dream Theater songs so difficult to cover?

 

Rudess: Oh! Well… Not ALL of them are difficult to cover, but there are some. You know, we like to play our instruments, we like to go towards being the highest virtuosos we can be but still maintain a lot of heart in our music… but sometimes we love to just go for it, just play. So, you know, in those cases its very possible that we’ll come up with something that is kind of ridiculous, and takes some effort, and takes some practice for us too to get right. So we like to challenge ourselves… I think challenging yourself is the key to becoming really great at your instrument. We have a natural tendency to go for that and push the boundaries of what we can do and try different things. That’s probably why.

 

 

#DreamTheater

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I highly discourage people from dressing like me at all, I’m a horrible dresser. All that I wear is black t-shirts. And don’t talk like Jordan, ’cause he has a potty mouth, he’s always cursing…
– John Petrucci

 

 

Don’t light that cigarette, Stewart!

 

 

 

 

Now you’re fresh out of a dreamlike rendezvous with Dream Theater, and you’re calming your nerves backstage, where only DT’s core crew is allowed. You spot Stewart Wilson, Chief Monitor Engineer, Dream Theater. And all of a sudden, your Spidey-senses tingle, warning you of impending danger—Wilson is holding a cigarette in his mouth, upside down! Here’s your chance to be a hero. So you shout out to him, “Excuse me, sir, don’t light that up…’’

 

Wilson looks at you, and you know you have to finish that sentence immediately, before he thinks you’re here to do something dumb like stop him. I mean, he’s with Dream Theater—he could burn down the whole damn ground if he wanted to. So you gently add, “It’s upside down, sir.’’ Wilson looks at his smoke, and sees that it is upside down indeed. Wilson, Chief Monitor Engineer, Dream-f**king-Theater, pats your back and says, “Ha ha… it is upside down. I appreciate it, man. Thanks.’’ One could die right there, and have no regrets.

 

 

And all of a sudden, your Spidey-senses tingle, warning you of impending danger—Wilson is holding a cigarette in his mouth, upside down! Here’s your chance to be a hero. So you shout out to him, “Excuse me, sir, don’t light that up…’’

 

 

The show begins

 

One of the biggest rock acts to ever hit Indian soil, Dream Theater began their set with thunder and lightning—literally. It started to pour, but no one budged. The three-hour set saw DT belt out their greatest hits, the entire track list from Images and Words, and a totally unexpected cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman. The rain was relentless throughout, but so was the crowd. Even LaBrie was baffled to see the enthusiasm. So he tried playing comedian. “I have been working on my Indian accent,’’ he announced. “You guys wanna hear it?’’

 

 

 

 

“Yes!” roared the crowd, immediately regretting it. Because LaBrie then turned into Apu from The Simpsons and exclaimed, “I am very happy to be in India’’. The crowd didn’t react the way he hoped, prompting him to quickly add that he has nothing but respect for the country, and he wasn’t messing around when he did that accent. Chuckling all the way over in the console tent, Steve Baird, Chief Set and Lighting Designer, Dream Theater, shouted cheekily, “Yes, you ARE messing around!”

 

 

 

 

How do we know that? Well, we weren’t a part of the gritty crowd that braved the rain—we were, ahem, at the console tent, with the band crew and an unobstructed view of the concert. When the sky cracked and rumbled, DT stopped their first song midway. Lighting genius Steve Baird, who was stoned AF and sipping Mirinda from a can, wondered out loud, “Why did they stop? It looked so cool with the lightning striking just as they started… Oh, because it’s too dangerous…’’

 

 

Photo Credits : Amal Dutt

 

 

When the sky cracked and rumbled, DT stopped their first song midway. Lighting genius Steve Baird, who was stoned AF and sipping Mirinda from a can, wondered out loud, “Why did they stop? It looked so cool with the lightning striking just as they started… Oh, because it’s too dangerous…’’

 

 

Mingling with the Plebs

 

It was getting too comfortable inside that tent of extreme privilege. Surrounded by the less lucky Gold and Platinum ticket holders, there was also a sea of people roaring behind us all the way over from Silver Class. We decided generously to go and meet these commoners, because that’s where our friends were—the ones without an All Access Card.

 

On our way, we stumble upon a gatekeeper who calls his friend and asks, “Bhai kaa chal raha hai? Kuch samajh aa raha hai?” (Bro, what’s going on, do you understand any of this?), to which his friend replied, “Kuchh samajh nahin aa raha, isse achha Bhojpuri ya Hindi bajata toh samajh aata’’ (I don’t understand any of this. It would have been nice if they played some Bhojpuri or Hindi songs). But nobody else would have been on board with this DT + Bhojpuri plan. The folks in the Silver Class screamed the loudest when the band played Pull Me Under; they knew all the lyrics, and the distance from the stage didn’t bother them one bit. Now that we were sure that the commoners were fine, we decided go back to where we belonged. Even if just for the next one hour. So I, privileged little fanboy, made my way back to the console tent, which was now reeking of Steve Baird’s heavenly weed.

 

 

Video Credits : Ravina Rawal | Cover Photo Credits : Amal Dutt

 

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