Remembering 2022 – Dream Theater // Live Review // The SSE Arena // Belfast

So tonight ticks off a serious box for me, catching the one, the only Dream Theater live in the flesh and in my home town, what more could a girl want? 

The SSE Arena plays host to one of Prog’s finest entities as John Petrucci, James La Brie, Jordan Rudess, Mike Mangini and John Myung bring their world of Proggy goodness to Belfast this evening.

The guys play only three UK dates kicking off in Belfast tonight with Newcastle & London to follow. 

More information on all dates, tickets for all upcoming shows, as well as VIP packages can be found at

It has been a prog-tastic April so far with Devin Townsend and Vola in Dublin last week and Dream Theater tonight I think my poor brain might just be pushed over the edge this evening with a barrage of notes tossed at me like a machine gun spitting out bullets,  It is an absolute joy to witness musicianship of this calibre up close and personal, JP is an absolute legend in the guitar world so to bare witness to his playing first hand is a thing of beauty. Jordan Rudess has all the tricks up his sleeve from his keyboards that move on a whim so you can see his blistering fingerwork in action while Mangini on drums just leaves you breathless at how effortlessly he plays. 

Jordan Rudess gets out the Keytar occasionally Petrucci and Myung up front and centre to the crowd’s rapturous applause as Petrucci’s frets glisten in the light. Rudess and Petrucci interchange solos at light speed whilst La Brie’s vocals soar over the SSE crowd. La Brie is in fine form tonight bellowing out classic Dream Theater number after another and the crowd is loving it.

It takes an hour of solid music before James takes a breather and talks to the crowd telling stories of his lack of knowledge about the biggest things to happen in Northern Ireland such as The Titanic & Game Of Thrones, we forgive you James but your cards are marked! As I look over the crowd as the guys get stuck into the second instalment of their set I can see a legion of dedicated fans throwing their hands in the air singing along with every lyric La Brie throws at them, guys on their feet living every thrash of the guitars and slam of those drums. The room is clearly filled with a die-hard DT element which is thoroughly deserved, a band of this stature should have an arena packed with adoring fans, and Belfast has obliged for sure. Guy’s & doll’s living their best life once again after two horrendous years in the shadows after covid now upfront and centre with the band of their dreams in their hometown absolutely nailing it, it’s a beautiful thing to see.

It’s a powerful thing to behold, the multi-faceted, multi-layered compositions that constantly keep you as a listener on your toes, the vocal harmonies, the ever-changing pace just creates the most fantastic soundscape in which to lose yourself for two hours.  The guys play a plethora of tracks covering their two-plus decades as a band with a taste of new music too from their latest release A View From The Top Of The World which helped deliver the band’s first-ever Grammy Win with The Alien. A spectacular performance by a spectacular band, Dream Theater fan or not, you could not walk away from a show such as those without a greater appreciation for musicianship at this level and their dedication to their craft. It is no surprise that the best bands at this time really are the veterans, the warriors who paved the way and set the bar so high excellence is your only option if you want to follow in the footsteps of these greats. Hence the birth of bands such as Animals As Leaders, Polyphia and Periphery who have taken the bull by the horns and hope to emulate what the legendary Dream Theater have achieved, through blood sweat and tears demanding that they represent their genre honestly and unconditionally and a long hard-fought battle has been worth it. We tonight get to enjoy the spoils as if all the hard work was our own! 

As previously mentioned, tonight was for sure a major box ticked, witnessing Dream Theater up close and personal is a truly extraordinary thing, a personal experience for sure and if you yourself are a musician on any level or just a true lover of music it will probably be the closest thing to a religious experience you’ll have this year, so if you are on the fence at all about whether or not to attend Newcastle or London, buy your ticket now. Do It. You can thank me later.

Pic’s by @flashartmark for @rocknloadmag // #flashartmark #rocknloadmag


Check out our recent interview with Jordan Rudess about their 1st Grammy Win and European Tour:


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