Apologize for coming to this thread a little late in the game, but I sought out answers to this question and this was the first thing to pop up on the search.
As to the statement about appropriate venues in the south, or suitable tour routes, how's this for a sample, southern only tour?
Fifteen days should be sufficient to accomplish all this without killing the guys on the road.
Charlotte to service the northeastern part of the Southeast, North Carolina, South Carolina, East Tennessee, Eastern Georgia.
Orlando to service south Georgia and northern Florida except for the panhandle
Miami for South Florida
Birmingham for West Georgia, the panhandle of Florida, central and Western Tennessee, north Mississippi
New Orleans for Louisiana, south Mississippi Eastern Texas and Arkansas
Dallas for the Dallas, Houston and Austin areas of Texas as well as Arkansas.
Six dates, plenty of exposure, plenty of travel time and rest, and the south is happy. What's so hard about that? The fact is, Dream Theater has played literally everywhere else IN THE WORLD since A Dramatic Turn of Events, their last swing through the south. I don't think that fact has been brought up yet, EVERYWHERE else in the world. Most places multiple times. If they're not making it south, it's due to a lack of effort on someone's part. I fail to believe that not one promoter would be willing to book them in the south, especially since the last time I saw them at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, they had a line around the block waiting to come in two hours before showtime.
Now, allow me to make a personal case for Birmingham, since that's where I live. Mike Mangini spoke of specific venues that could host the concerts for The Astonishing, meeting a certain aesthetic vibe and able to handle the stag spacing, as well as appropriate capacity. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Alabama Theatre. Built in 1927, seating capacity 2,500, an absolutely gorgeous example of that era's architecture. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King have graced her stage among many others. There is room for a full orchestra, and it just so happens we have a pretty darned good one here in town known as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. If the Alabama is too big, we have the Lyric Theater right across the street. Built in 1916 as a Vaudeville venue and seating 1,500, and regarded by no less than Milton Berle as the finest theater in the country. As well as many other theaters of varying size in the city, some larger, a handful are smaller. And few states in the union can match the rich musical tradition that Alabama can boast.
Okay, shameless plug off now.