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Dream Theater at the Fillmore Detroit, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019

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Dream Theater is celebrating a rich past and a vibrant present this year.

It's been 30 years since the prog/metal troupe released its debut album, "When Dream and Day Unit," and during its current tour the quintet is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of another album, "Scenes From a Memory." But Dream Theater also has a new album out, "Distance Over Time," which topped the iTunes Top Album Chart and was greeted with rave reviews.

So singer James LaBrie and company are pleased with their lot, and anxious to build on it moving forward...

"Distance Over Time" is Dream Theater's first album with a running time under an hour since 1992, and while length wasn't a pre-determined factor Ontario native LaBrie, 5, says by phone that it reflects the more direct approach the band wanted to take. "We knew we wanted to write this kind of an album and make a more aggressive album and really take the balance between the progressive edge and the metal side and make it very cohesive, like a good marriage. It catapulted us to getting in touch with our roots again, being thrown back to all these little stylings and influences that were still part of us but kind of took a back seat. So we were like, 'Let's think a bit more about this and implement that into the writing process again,' which we did."

Working at Yonderbarn Studios in upstate New York, Dream Theater found it "very easy" to get back into that approach, according to LaBrie. "We stayed about 18 days of writing towards the album, and it came together very quickly. So many times you say, 'Oh yeah, we've been in the studio for three-months,' but it's non-stop. We might take a few days off or a week off and then come back, and then when you figure it out over that time it averaged about three and a half of four weeks of writing, which is about on par for us."

Diving into "Scenes From a Memory" on the road this year has been special for Dream Theater as well as its fans. "That album definitely left an indelible mark worldwide when it came out and was a crucial moment in the band's career. We had our third keyboard player coming into the band (Jordan Rudess), it was our first conceptual album -- all doors were leading towards almost, like, a completely new beginning or another chapter in Dream Theater's saga, so it resonated very, very strongly, and still does."

Because Dream Theater's instrumentalist spend a great deal of time playing during shows, LaBrie is left to his own devices for long stretches of time. What does he do? "I have my tent. I do stretching, drinking a little bit of water, do a little bit of humming and stuff like that. Sometimes I run certain lyrics through my head; Even though I have them memorized it doesn't hurt and helps them become second nature. I try to make it productive time back there and stay in the moment."

That said, LaBrie admits he's made the odd mistake or two on stage. "Yeah, last night there were a couple of lines where I sang something else that was different than what we wrote for the song. It's kind of like, 'Whatever...Don't know what happened there, man.' It's funny. Sometimes people notice, sometimes they don't. You just roll with it."

Dream Theater performs Tuesday, April 2, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 7 p.m. $35-$155. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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