This is the website of Neil McDougall, a musician/blogger/podcaster/bookie from Ayrshire.

My trip to RAWK in Manchester

Okay, folks, here’s my big review of my first ever Dream Theater live experience. I’ll be posting this in a couple of places, just so’s ya know. 🙂

Okay, it all kicked off at 7:30AM when I left the house to meet up with my friend Steven. We headed up to Glasgow and met my online amigo Mark, scant moments before our train for Manchester was due to leave, so that was fortuitous.

About 3 and a half hours later, we hit Manchester and started towards the Apollo, to pick up the 11 tickets for the rest of the posse of peeps from the uk.music.guitar newsgroup. We got along there and the box office wasn’t open, so we walked along to the hotel we were staying at (the Sportscity Quality Hotel in West Gorton: there was a few other DT fans there, as we noticed this morning at check-out). We were hoping to meet uk.music.guitar’s Paul Simpson there, who was recently turned onto DT having been shown the Live Scenes DVD. He wasn’t there (turned out he was stuck in the M62 logjam like a load of other folks. Good thing we ended up taking the train rather than driving as was our original travel plan.) so we headed back to the Apollo to pick up the UKMG tickets. Did so, and we headed around to the side door, as a big yellow bus was pulling up. The three of us stood and nattered for a bit, debating over wether we should join the 10-15 fans waiting for the guys to show up when we heard a cheer. I turned to see John Myung’s gig-bag disappearing rapidly out of sight. Guess he wasn’t in a talkative mood, shock-a-roonie. Close behind was Mike Portnoy, who was wrapped up like the Michelin Man, because it was frankly fucking freezing. He stood about, shook some hands, kissed some babies etc, and James LaBrie came out too and schmoozed with the tr00 h@rdk0r3 fans for a bit.

In case you were wondering, we didn’t go up and join in. Even now I’m not sure why. I would’ve loved to have shot the shit with Mike and James a bit. Don’t know if Petrucci and Rudess appeared, as we left just after James went inside, but we did hear the guitars being soundchecked as Mark was picking up the UKMG tickets. Could’ve just been JP’s tech noodling around tho. (Who’s teching for JP these days anyway?)

So, after being feet away from The Brie, The Man, and a passing breeze created by a speeding Korean, we decided to make our way towards the Tribeca in the town centre, where we were supposed to be meeting the rest of the UKMG guys (Final UKMG rollcall was me, Steven Clark (honorary UKMGer for that day ;-), Mark McGuigan, Ian Myatt, Adrian Foden, Rick Booth, Trev Ridney, Mike Whitaker, James Screaton, Paul Simpson, and Blues-Core and his dad). After the UKMGers showed up (apart from Paul S, due to the “M-bastard-sixty-fucking-two”. He showed up just as the intro tape was going) we jumped into two taxis and headed down to the Apollo. By this time we had come to the conclusion that John Rimmer and his wife, who were originally supposed to be part of the UKMG party in the balcony (me and Steven had tickets in Row FF stalls, which is nearer the hotel than the stage), we got to take their seats, Balcony Row B seats 11 and 12. SCORE! Damn near perfect stage view!

Then….THE GIG!

It all kicked off with a frankly FUCKING AWESOME intro video on the centre of the three video screens, running as a timeline from 1986 to the present, leading up to the last part of SDOIT, the big chord and…

THE ENTIRE TRAIN OF THOUGHT ALBUM, START TO FUCKING FINISH! HOLY BABY JESUS IMPALED ON A RABIES INFESTED KEBAB SKEWER!
Yes, I *do* like the new album. *grin*

And that was just the first SET. They cam back after the intermission (where they played Opeth’s fantastic ‘Damnation’ album over the PA. Not surprisingly, as it’s Mike Portnoy’s personal album of the year, and one of my faves of 2003 too) and busted out a more straight ahead set of earlier DT stuff, covering all of their previous albums, apart from When Dream and Day Unite, but that’s their weakest album anyway. Highlights were The Mirror, Fatal Tragedy (the cheer after FT was off-the-charts, easily the crowd pop of the night. I guess Manchester loves Scenes From A Memory. :-)) and, well, basically the whole damn thing. It was totally mind-bogglingly cool.

Afterwards we hopped on a bus to Rusholme for a curry, then back to the hotel and bed. Got up the next morning, went into town with Paul, Mark and Steven, had some grub at a pub and got the train home. And here I am now, writing this as the ‘King Crimson’ bit in Stream of Conciousness plays.

All in all, totally fab. BRING ON THE NEXT UK DATES!

Oh, and someone should slap the promoters until they put DT on in Scotland again. Twats. 😛

This entry was written by NeiloMac, posted on January 17, 2004 at 8:04 pm, filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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