Despite being in top form, singer James LaBrie spent a lot of time off stage at Dream Theater’s gig in Amsterdam on February 17th. Whenever John Petrucci, John Myung, Jordan Ruddess and Mike Mangini were shredding away up-front during a prolonged instrumental section—and with them being Dream Theater, there are bound to be a lot of those—he sat in his little tent behind a stack of amps.
But that’s alright. Dream Theater’s main feature has always been the instrumental power play. This tour saw the return of the An Evening With format, with the band playing large chunks of their self-titled latest album, Awake and Metropolis Part II: Scenes from a Memory (on behalf of the 20th and 15th anniversary of those albums)—while ignoring their break-though album Images and Words altogether—in a three hour set.
It was an epicly awesome evening. The band smoked, the sound was very good, the set list rocked, I managed to squeeze off a few shots and I ran out of things to say.
Dream Theater, “Along for the Ride World Tour” at Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam on February 17, 2014
Richard Matheson’s I am Legend is a weird book. One could easily call it a post-zombie/vampire-apocalypse novel and get away with it, but it’s neither very eventful nor horrific. Robert Neville (who sometimes indulged in daydreams about finding someone. More often, though, he had tried to adjust to what he sincerely believed was the inevitable — that he was actually the only one left in the world.) goes about his daily business of survival—fixing up the house, killing of vampires one by one—but that’s not what makes the book work. Where the books work best, is when it’s about hope and loneliness: Neville trying to find out how these vampires work, or when he comes across another living being, be it dog or human.
As such, it’s a pretty great book. If you expect something resembling sparkling vampires or a movie featuring Will Smith, well, nevermind.
Richard Matheson — I am Legend
On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
One of the many benefits of having a Most Awesome Girlfriend who is getting her Teacher’s degree in English, is having access to a bookcase full of books I probably would never have sought out myself. Like Jeanette Winterson‘s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
Oranges tells the story of a young girl who is adopted by a religious zealot, and brought up to be an evangelist missionary. She’s very successful in bringing converts into the church, until she meets this one girl. Which, of course, doesn’t go over very well with her mother and the rest of the congregation.
I was warned that this novel would tick me off big time, on account of the religious ass-hattery it describes. But it didn’t, as I can’t really get into that mode anymore. Instead, I really got into the writing itself, as there were some pretty turns of phrase.
It’s things like this, and It’s always the same with diversions; you get involved., and a story about a girl trying to find out who she is, that tick my boxes.
Jeanette Winterson — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father.
Last year, I spend quite a few weeks with 10 volumes of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comics. The Sandman: The Dream Hunters is an expansion of that universe, set in ancient Japan. It tells the story of a simple Buddhist monk and shape-shifting fox, who learns of a plan to destroy the monk’s life. With the help of the King of All Night’s Dreamings, she then has to use all her cunning to save him.
Unlike the original Sandman-comic series, The Dream Hunters is told in prose, accompanied by the paintings of Yoshitaka Amano. It’s not exactly something I’d hang on my wall, but some of them, like the one above, definitely got something going for them.
And Gaiman’s words? Well, they’re as smooth and beguiling as anything else I’ve read by him.
Neil Gaiman & Yoshitaka Amano — The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
A monk lived in solitude beside a temple on the side of a mountain.