Archive for March, 2002

Dream Theater cover Master of Puppets!

Friday, March 29th, 2002

Last night I went to see Dream Theater in New York. It was their second show in the city, and was promised to have a “very special” setlist. If I’d been following Ytsejam or alt.music.dream-theater, I would have know what was so special about it, but I hadn’t been, so I didn’t. Anyway, it was a pretty good show. LONG. They went on promptly at 8:00 and I didn’t get out of the theater until nearly midnight… and there was only one 15-minute intermission in the middle.

I wasn’t really blown away by the first set. I’m not nearly as big a Dream Theater fan as I used to be, and the last couple of albums never really impressed me. Thankfully, the band played a set that spanned all of their albums, which was cool - my favorite part was when the noisy finale of “Misunderstood” transitioned into the heavy riffing of “Lie”. It was also interesting to hear James LaBrie try to sound like Charlie Dominici when the band did “The Killing Hand”. And “Take The Time” really reminded me of how much more I like the band’s early material. At about 9:45 the band went offstage for the intermission; fifteen minutes later they were back and they settled into the rather tedious “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence” - the 40-minute-long “song” that makes up the entire second disc of the latest album. To my surprise, it went by pretty fast, and parts of it were pretty powerful live. Not as bad as I expected.

Then the band went offstage again. Clearly, something weird was about to happen. The opening of “Pull Me Under” started all of a sudden, and then disintegrated with a screech. The group came back onstage and Petrucci started playing what I immediately recognized as the opening guitar part to Metallica’s “Battery”. Sweet, I thought - a great song to cover. The band crunched through “Battery” convincingly - more than convincingly, it was fucking awesome - and then went straight into “Master of Puppets”. Even better! Turns out they covered the entire Master of Puppets album from start to finish. Now, I like Master of Puppets better than I like Dream Theater’s own recent work, so I was pretty damned happy. They did a great job with it - I was particularly impressed by Petrucci, who pulled off all the solos really well. After that, there were a couple encore songs (ending, of course, with “Pull Me Under”), and then it was over.

Master of Puppets was definitely the highlight of the show for me. “Take The Time” and “Lie” were pretty good too, but otherwise I wasn’t all that impressed. I was definitely much more affected by the Dream Theater show I saw two years ago on the Metropolis tour; probably just because I was a much bigger fan back then. Still, it was worth the trip.

Oh yeah, a couple weeks ago I saw The Dismemberment Plan live, for the third time, this time back home in North Carolina. It was a great show marred by really bad sound. I also really liked one of the other bands, Death Cab for Cutie, and just recently downloaded mp3s of their latest album, The Photo Album - really good, laid-back, melodic indie-pop.

Maybe some reviews will be up soon. Between work and Ultimate I’m struggling to find time for things like eating, sleeping, and breathing, but what the hell.

Headphone bliss and… Britney Spears

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

A couple weeks ago I got a pair of used Grado SR-125s along with an old Headroom Airhead portable headphone amp, for the sum of $175 (about what the Grado phones would cost new by themselves anyway). I’ve since been attached to my CD player. Everyone always says that a good new system or pair of headphones makes your CDs sound brand new again, and it’s so true. I A/Bed the Grados with my Sennheiser earbuds and even with my old Labtec computer headphones, and man. What a difference. I’ve been going through old CDs and hearing new stuff in all of ‘em. It’s a great way to prevent me from spending still more money on new CDs.

So here’s something that will make me lose all credibility with pretty much everyone. I found Britney Spears‘ new one (the creatively titled Britney) in the used bin, and on a weird whim (probably influenced by the review I read at PopMatters) I picked it up, glancing furtively around me to make sure no one I knew was nearby. Haha. After a fashion, it ain’t so bad. I mean, by this time we all expect cheesy bounciness out of this sort of music, and that’s what you get. It can be fun when you’re in the mood for something stupid.

Wow, did I really just post that? Allow me to hang my head in shame and get back to listening to Aksak Maboul on those Grados. :)

Ha… music reviews from Focus On the Family

Thursday, March 7th, 2002

The local record store was playing Dream Theater’s Images and Words when I walked in today. Played the whole album, except they skipped “Metropolis”. Hmm.

SEX IS BAD!

The best part of the above site are their reviews of rap music. Why do they even bother? This message appears before their review of an Eminem album: “WEB EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of this album’s graphic nature, this review contains sexual descriptions that are not appropriate for children. If you are a teenager or a younger child, please let your parents read this review before you proceed.” Oh sure, that’s gonna work.