Dream Theater Balboa Theatre, San Diego, December 1, 2011

By the Left Coast Rebel

This Thursday I took an evening off of my busy schedule to catch progressive rock/metal masters Dream Theater at San Diego's recently-opened Balboa Theatre. They are touring for their recently released "Dramatic Turn of Events" album:

A few things: like any fan, I was eagerly anticipating Mike Mangini's performance. Good news: he didn't disappoint. Although it will take time to get used to DT sans Portnoy, they chose well. Mangini had great stage presence and a style all his own. Did he match Portnoy's powerhouse technical abilities? Open to interpretation but I was not disappointed.

Overall: The band seemed rejuvenated, best show I have seen yet (and I've seen them 8 times now). Perhaps Portnoy's exit is just what the doctor ordered to get the gang's creative juices back. My favorite songs was "Lost Not Forgotten" off the new album:

Unfortunately photographs were not allowed in the venue (a new policy in direct contrast to Portnoy's "any bootleg, any time"?). Nevertheless I managed to grab some shots outside the venue.

The event!

The venue -- Balboa Theatre -- is a Depression-era theater. Seating was very interesting, we almost got a bloody nose from our seats (extremely high, at the back of the theater, very steep seating). One of our friends had a handy set of binoculars that we passed around, I found myself panning between Mangini and "The Wizard" Jordan Rudess.

I grabbed this shot on the street. The Balboa Theatre ticker reads "Dream Theater," though it's a bit blurry. The streets were crowded with balding, heavy-set dudes in their 30s and 40s, reliving the past glory days of big-hair, Nintendo, Dungeons and Dragons, Rush, Reagan.... (present company included).... oh the good old days:

After the show, I grabbed a shot of the road crew packing up the Dream Theater gear on 4th Avenue:

This roady shot me a "oh by, another 30-year-old fanboy" look as he packed up the Dream Theater gear; I was nice enough to not get his face in the shot:

I'll try to check back in later to add more thoughts on the show.


  1. Tim,

    "Falling Into Infinity" and "Train of Thought" are iPod constants for me.

    DT is one of the few things in my life I would classify as progressive. I firmly believe when Rush calls it quits, DT will be anointed as their replacement.

  2. Certainly not my cup of tea. However, being a musician, now retired ;) I can appreciate the musical virtuosity this group obviously possess.

  3. Les: I understand; most of my friends reiterate your point of view (most of them hate the vocals, mostly). However they are the most technically proficient prog-rock musicians in the world, IMHO.

  4. This is so typical. While the 99% toil away on the blog, the 1% goes out and parties.

    *Just kidding of course*

    Glad you had a chance to take a break.


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