I didn't want to create a thread as I thought there would be just a few members reading it. But since the thread is created, here we go:
as a manager of the French fan club, this date was so special for me, mixed with incertainty, stress, excitement and joy.
Thanks to Kim and a dozen of persons, I was able to set a fan meeting. But the participants did not know it was to take place inside the venue, with a Q&A with John and Jordan (which turned to be a Q&A with Mike and Jordan) and with great great gifts to be won among them: aftershow passes, rare fan club CDs (like the Stream of Consciousness contest, 4 Degrees of Radio Edits, A Sort of Homecoming, A Walk Beside the Band) and rare stuff (a Elements of Persuasion tour tshirt, the tribute Voices). They were all given too the fan club CD : Images and Words 15th Anniversary and the DVD Romavarium. They had a difficult quiz to complete (so difficult that the highest mark was 5.5/15 !).
The Q&A was great, even if it was a bit complicated for me to manage everything but we did it and the interview is available there : https://blog.yourmajesty.net/2017/02/15/interview-in-english-mike-mangini-and-jordan-rudess-12th-february-2017-paris/
Our pastry cook made a great cake (you can see it on the instragram of DT World) intitled: Cake the Time
Mike and Jordan seemed to appreciate. He even made a second cake for the whole crew.
After the meeting and the Q&A, I just wandered near the venue giving free guitar picks (some were from the Awake tour!). Indeed we had a game: those who could recognize me and would say to me "hey is it you the greatest fan club manager ever?" would get a free guitar pick.
I had a great seat (golden circle, second row) just before the pit thanks to a fan club member who was attending the meet and greet and who kept a seat for me.
The gig was great, not the best in my life but I found that the band was united and was freer than ever. You could see they had fun playing together, a thing that was not visible during the Astonishing tour. It reminded me of the Octavarium tour. James struggled to hit some notes but it was during that gig that I realized that Images and Words is a hard album to sing. Learning to Live and ACOS were the greatest songs of the evening as I had never had the chance to see them live. The first set was not that great as it was the fourth time in five concerts that I saw Breaking all Illusions.
End of the show, we met with the fan club managers and the winners of the aftershow passes near the stage and we waited for the aftershow to begin. It was a strange aftershow: we were in the hall, not backstage, the lights were dimmed so it was not perfect for those who wanted to take pictures. Suprisingly, John Myung came first and was really talkative, then Jordan and John came but they wanted the aftershow to end early. I didn't mind as I had already attended an aftershow a year before. All I wanted was to see them and thank them for what they do for the fan club and get my pics signed. I didn't mind not seeing Mike as I saw him during the Q&A and I can understand that James didn't want to show up: he was sick.
What I like with the fact of being a fan club manager is that when I go to a Dream Theater concert, the experience starts at noon and ends at 11PM. It's an entire day dedicated to Dream Theater, meeting the band, meeting the fans and attending the gig. It's intense, exhausting but so rewarding!