Gig Review: Dream Theater live in Dubai

October 08, 2017

So, was it the best concert I've ever attended, well in many ways yes. Here's a 5-step review of the historical Dream Theater concert that took place in Dubai on Oct 6th 2017, the first for these giants of progressive rock to ever come to this part of the world and also a first for me to ever witness their sound.

1. The location was easy to get to, parking was super easy and entry into the Dome was well organized too. A Rock concert indoors....Thank god! Imagine headbanging out in the open (it was 37 degrees that night) and dehydrating the crap out of yourself. This was the first time I've attended the Dome. It reminded me of the old-school era of rock concerts in Dubai (Def Leppard circa 1998 at Al Nasr Club) before the big venues opened up. There were clear separate entrances for various ticket holders, the crowd control outside was in top form and volunteers were pretty friendly, always a plus.  It was weird to have a rock show where a 'no smoking' rule was observed, but frankly it wasn't a deal breaker, it was probably for the better.

2. Me and my buddies showed up early too, around 7pm. The show was scheduled to start at 8pm and it did. The punctuality was spot on. There were still some people outside when the gig started, but that's nothing new when it comes to Concerts in Dubai. Its usual for people to take their time, get stuck in traffic, lose their way etc. Even the biggest bands on earth respect time and start when they need to.

3. The Sound & Acoustics - so immediately after the show started, I had patches of fanboys around complaining that the sound was 'not great'. Honestly, as a first time to watch DT, and considering we were right upfront where the PA was blasting in our faces, I didn't mind the sound. The only limitation was that its all contained in a Dome like venue so there was probably a lot of sound bouncing within the dome, but bad acoustics??? really, where the fuck did you think they're playing? a recording studio? - Not to mentioned these same kids ended up moshing, screaming,, jumping and pretty much enjoyed the show the rest of the night. So lets try not to sound like record producers when watching a live concert. It was DT, their own crew setup the sound and lights, if they're OK with it, so should we.

4. Food & Drinks - the arrangement of indoor bars & outdoor food was pretty well organized. Beers were priced at AED 35/- which was pretty standard compared to concerts where they're overpriced. Its smart to have the wearable payment bracelets where you'd load in money and use it instead of carrying around wads of cash, funnily enough though, the venue was charging a AED 5/- activation fee for the bracelet which was pretty silly. On the bright side, if you had any money left in the bracelet at the end of the night, you'd get it back in cash. Food was available via food trucks outside the venue which is great because I wouldn't want to smell burgers and pizza's in-doors. Moreover, the band actually took a 20min interval during the show which gave everyone plenty of time to get out, grab some grub, and get back in. Nice.

5. The ticketing sections. So this is where I think I got pretty lucky. I managed to get platinum tickets which were right up front, kinda like a VIP but just a better/closer view. Other sections were Gold, Silver and Bronze. There was a point where I felt bad for the folks in bronze as they were right at the back, but then again,the venue layout was already shown online so I'm sure they knew where they'd be. Ticket prices were very Dubai-like, so before you decide a ticket is too expensive, search out the concert ticketing plan/layout so you'll get an idea of what view you're in for.

6. This is a bonus one also a very personal one. John Petrucci, a founding member of Dream Theater, a guitar legend, an original G3 player....digs my beard. So for all those folks out there telling me to shave it off, never. The beard is here to stay. 

So, in the end, it was a memorable performance. I hear people complain about bad organisation, or bad sound, or bad whatever....well remember one thing, the company that organized this gig was not a semi-govt giant or well known giant concert organizer. It was an event done out of passion, like a dream project for Mainstage events. Its not easy to bring down heavy weight bands being a small event organizer. More-over, sound & light was handled by the DT crew themselves as I mentioned up already. So here's to Mainstage events, well done and looking forward to bigger and better shows. 

Till next time, If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment and don't forget to follow Apes and Men on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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