Bands: Dream Theater (USA) + Opeth (Sw) + Bigelf (USA) + Unexpect (Can)
Day: October 22nd, 2009
Place: Palacio de Cristal - Porto (Portugal)
Price: 30 €
Thursday night and we ran fast to Portugal to see what we could find in the big gig Progressive Nation organized by the DT drummer Mike Portnoy. 10€ cheaper than in Spain, we couldn'd miss the chance to see Opeth and DT in the same stage, though I was really "expectant about Unexpect".
Though we tried to be on time in Porto, the massive traffic in the middle of the city made us to arrive late, and we just heard the last notes of the canadian extreme progressive band Unexpect, which played really few time! maybe 30 min.???
It was really a pity :(
Anyway, when we arrived we just saw the place: an amazing big bubble called "Cristal Palace" that seems to host many important events in the portuguese city, and that promised a proffesional ambient and sound, as we are used to have in Portugal in most of the concerts.
Ready to come inside, hundreds of people dressed in black were at the doors, and many in a big queue that we didnt know whether it was for passing into the show or for the toilets. I just saw some of the members of Thee Orakle, the gothic metal band, and the charming singer just told me "see this??? this is the queue for the bar!!!" XD Omg that was something a bit unexpected... that day we would have some problems to get some drink at the concert...
So, even that we were a bit thirsty, we didnt skip the chance to see Bigelf, who were already playing! (such punctuality! this is not happening in Spain XD)
Bigelf are an american band that plays a kind of progressive hard rock totally inspired in the 70's, with an important psychedelic touch in the riffs and melodies, and mostly in those Hammond keyboards the singer was playing. I wasn't really expecting to see something that I liked, but I must say that seeing them in life was really worth. Not my kind of music but they were truly proffesional in the stage in a very short show. Again.. few more than 30 min.???
The sound in the place was almost perfect. Not the best I have heard, but no doubt much better than any concert I had been in Spain. Though there were many people outside (and many people in the queue for the bar), the building started to become full, and in DT both sides of the stands were occupied, leaving few free spaces of the 6000 people of capacity of the "Palacio de Cristal".
After Bigelf, we tried to get some beer for our dry throats and it was quite disappointing that the queue was even bigger than before and it didnt move 2 steps in 10 minutes!!!!
So we thought that we should do something if we wanted to drink and to see Opeth, which already started on the other side, and made a little trick to get a bit of Super Bock. Another letdown: there were just small plastic glasses that could be drank in 1 min. if you are really thirsty, not any of those bigger ones... so.. "let's take as much as we can":
We were already missing the first song of Opeth and we ran back to the concert.
Well, another complain (I feel specially complaining about this Progressive Nation) is that the stage was almost down to the floor. In Bigelf we could see them, but in Opeth people started arriving and I barely could see the instruments, and I am not specially short, so I can imagine the suffering of smaller fans.
The swedish progressive gods played mostly their new stuff, and though I like their new and old albums, they didnt choose the best setlist. I dont know, it was too soft, I missed more "death metal" moments, and it was way too short! but I guess that was about requirements of the "big band".
Mikael Åkerfeldt is a funny guy and he did some jokes between song and song, I was already told about that he likes to talk and get the complicity of the crowd but somehow I felt he was pushed by the few time Dream Theater gave them, I'd say not much more than 1 hour.
Anyway, their concert was the best of the show in Porto.
Great moment: The Lotus Eater
With punctuality, after a big curtain fell down, Dream Theater came and it started to be very promising, playing "A Nightmare to Remember" as first. Again lots of heads in front of us that didnt let us see too much of the band except the totally exagerated drums of Mike Portnoy "hey guys I am the leader". Behind and in both sides, big screens that showed mainly Portnoy and Petrucci, and sometimes James and Jordan and other images that fitted with the songs. Poor Myung.
With the developing of the concert, I'm sorry to say this, and probably many DT fans wouldnt agree with me, but it was becoming sooooooo damn dull!!! They started playing as Opeth newer stuff, and lots of mid-tempo songs/ballads that could keep the excitement of the most devoted fans, but not us. We were 5 people there, 5 people that grew up with those great albums as "Images & Words", "Awake" and "Metropolis part II" and we 5 got terribly bored and dull with the show they were giving. By the way, no songs from "Images & Words" and "Metropolis pt II", which I consider a terrible mistake.
I cannot say they did a bad performance, of course not!!! they are great musicians and every single note was done with precision and technique, but...
The keyboard solo of Jordan Rudess, completely unnecessary (much better if they played Take the Time in those minutes, come on!):
And I have the opinion, as well shared with my friends that if you make some 3D animation, but it is not very good, better leave it at home cause showing it might be a shame. Matter that happened with those images of elephants walking or that lame Jordan-witch-keyboardist. We were laughing quite a lot with that:
James LaBrie becomes boring when singing, not just in the concert but in the last albums, he was much more powerful in the first ones, under my point of view (it can also be that he was singing songs from newer albums... but... still... )
The top of boredom reached when they played the song of the 11-S, and we just decided to skip it and try to reach the bar, which still had a big queue... oufff
Then, we found a funny old man dancing in the corner of the stage as he was watching an Elvis Presley show while doing aerobics, and stayed there for some time laughing and looking at him, and afterwards coming back to the crowds:
Summing up, I have learnt the lesson: it was my first and last concert of Dream Theater, which would be much more interesting to see years ago and unluckily I didn't have the chance.
At the end, this is everything we saw from Unexpect :/ who were signing some cd's and autographs outside.