Graspop Festival 2002

       Ah that wacky Graspop festival of 2002. So wacky in fact that it produced a Dream Theater bootleg that became a Fan Club CD. It was one of the two CDs I got whilst being in Theater of Dreams/DTIFC for that crazy two years.

       They opened the set with Glass Prison, after an intro tape of the SFAM outro static. JP is really on during TGP, which must be a killer song to have to play live. The sound levels arent really too great on this track, Jordans Keys come in way too loud, and Mike and James's vocals come in way too soft. Mike does his best to upstage James as a frontman in this song, working the crowd during the Hey's, but the Johns and Jordan really steal this song playing the solo sections crazy fast. In the spirit of alcoholism, they followed up TGP with Mirror and Lie. Mike really hams it up with his vocal lines in The Mirror, and James really delivers with his angry voice through the two songs.

       Since it was a metal festival, they played a set of their heavier tunes, with Peruvian Skies next. Mike belts out a loud "C'mon Mothafuckaaaah" in the middle of the song, which makes me laugh everytime i hear it, but James's tambourine is really damn annoying. The two metal songs from the second disc of Six Degrees and the Great Debate continued on with the new material as this show was part of World Tourbulence. Then the band takes it home with Home and Pull Me Under before breaking into Master of Puppets.

       If you like the metal side of DT this cd is definately a winner. More importantly If you like Mike's background vocals, theyre everywhere on this disc. Thirdly if you like hearing James Tambourine cut through all the rest of the music, this disc is also for you. Its sort of ironic that in all of these metalled up offerings, James still goes nuts on that tambourine, most notably during Peruvian Skies, where it really sticks out like a sore thumb. At least he sings in his angry voice for much of the cd, which is exponentially better than his normal singing voice.

       Overall I think this is a pretty solid live offering. Sure its no Farewell or Live After Death, but its no live Opeth show either. Anytime a band "spontaneously" breaks into a cover of a song everyone knows during the closer, its a good show. The only thing that would make this CD better would be a full on breakdown with James working the crowd, but then again this is DT, and James isn't too good at working the crowd. Perhaps Mike should give it a try from behind the set.