Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

September 7 2009

Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)


On Sunday, August 23rd, 2009, I had the pleasure of attending Progressive Nation 2009 - and it was a blast! Here are some thoughts about each band:


Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

the location was at the Chicago Theater - and thank you to the promoters for picking a location just 3 blocks from where I live. Nice walk home afterwards :-)

Scale the Summit


Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

Scale the Summit is a modern day Liquid Tension Experiment - a 4 piece instrumental band that just rocks. They have two guitarists and no vocals - but you really don't miss them. Four outstanding musicians that I am sure picked up a bunch of fans on this tour.

Big Elf


Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)
Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

Big Elf is what I would call classic prog rock - with a touch of that 70's hippie flair that makes me run the other way. Mike Portnoy listed their album as one of his top favorite of 2008, but I had a hard time getting into it. Stellar musicians all, the organ sounds and style just turned me off. If you like the old school prog style - think late era Beattles - with a mix of modern day sound - check these guys out.

Zappa Plays Zappa


Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

Zappa Plays Zappa is the brainchild of Dwezel Zappa trying to bring his dad's music to a new generation. If you are not familiar with Frank Zappa's music, you need to check this out. Every musician in the current Zappa Plays Zappa are out of this world - I would even say that Dwezel is the one playing catch-up here. Frank's music is wacky and over the top - but you will be blown away at the percussionist and the keyboard/sax player. Wowsah. Mike Portnoy came out and played a couple of songs with the band - which was awesome.

Dream Theater


Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)
Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

The set list for the Chicago show on this tour (for those of you that do not know, Dream Theater rotates the set list every night of every tour - which makes it even more special):
  • A NIGHTMARE TO REMEMBER
  • A RITE OF PASSAGE
  • (Quick Keyboard Spot)
  • SACRIFICED SONS
  • THE DANCE OF ETERNITY
  • ONE LAST TIME
  • SOLITARY SHELL
  • IN THE NAME OF GOD
  • THE COUNT OF TUSCANY

Yes, this set list was killer. And the band sounded amazing. James was in top form - the best I have seen him live in many tours. No chatter, no banter, just 2+ hours of music. Highlights were Jordan playing his iPhone during A Rite of Passage (he has an iPhone app and he rips on it) and The Count of Tuscany.

Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

Jordan also has an TV behind him that comes up during his solos. Wizzy, his cartoon, comes up and plays in unison with what he is playing. He purposely plays on the fly - so you see this is not pre-recorded. It rocks. Jordan is definitely the geek god of musicians.

Image:Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

A great show for the 2009 version of Progressive Nation. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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