It’s been a good year for progressive rock bands playing in the Phoenix area. Phoenix fans were treated to Rush in June, Queensryche in September and the Genesis experience band The Musical Box in October. As an early holiday present to end the year, Dream Theater, who was voted one of the Top Ten Prog Rock bands of all time by RollingStone.com readers, will return to the Phoenix area and perform at the Mesa Arts Center on Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. Dream Theater’s current tour is in support of their recently released cd, A Dramatic Turn of Events, the band’s eleventh studio album. The tour and album are the first to feature new drummer, Mike Mangini, following the departure of Dream Theater founding member, former drummer Mike Portnoy.
The members of Dream Theater, formed in 1985 by guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and former drummer Portnoy are considered at the top of their professions by many music magazines. Petrucci has been named 2007 “Guitarist of the Year” by the readers of Total Guitar magazine, “Best Metal Guitarist” in the 2010 and 2011 Reader’s/Player’s Choice Awards polls in Guitar Player magazine and was named one of the 20 greatest-ever metal guitarists in Total Guitar’s poll. Myung in 2010, was named the Greatest Bassist of All Time in Music Radar’s reader’s poll. Vocalist James LaBrie was voted fifteenth on Music Radar’s list of “The Greatest Vocalists of all Time”. New drummer, multi Grammy award nominee Mike Mangini, set five World’s Fastest Drummer (WFD) records and appeared on the Discover Channel show “Time Warp”, displaying his drum skills for high-speed cameras. Completing the band is keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Jordan Rudess who not only performs with Dream Theater but has worked with a variety of other artists.
Dream Theater hit mainstream stardom in 1992 with the release of their second album, Images and Words, and its breakout single “Pull Me Under” which received substantial radio airplay and which the video received heavy rotation on MTV. The album still remains Dream Theater’s best selling album to date. Dream Theater has sold over ten million albums worldwide since their debut.
Opening the show will be acoustic guitar soloist Andy McKee. Considered one of the finest of his craft, McKee is a YouTube sensation having had his YouTube video views in excess of 100 million plays and at one point holding the number one, two and three positions for Top-Rated Videos of All Time on YouTube. The Kansas raised McKee first garnered international attention as one of the top finalists at the prestigious National Finger Style Guitar Championships in Winfield, Kansas. Since 2001, McKee has released five albums.
As for what to expect from Dream Theater in concert, Petrucci has stated “we’ll showcase songs from the new album along with tons of fan favorites and a brand new tour production unlike any other that we’ve done before.”
Although the concert is nearly sold out, some tickets remain and are available at dannyzeliskopresents.com and by phone through the Mesa Arts Center, 480-644-6500. Ticket prices range from $27.50 to $45.00 although as of this writing only those priced at $36.50, plus fees remained.