Author Topic: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?  (Read 2372 times)

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Offline Kattoelox

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2017, 08:15:35 AM »
Reasonable expectations, ya'll... most greenhorn singers in their early 20s couldn't sing today what James sang back in 92. Cut him some slack, the guy's 54 out there singing 3 hour sets every night for months on end singing one of the most vocally demanding albums out there...

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2017, 08:43:10 AM »
I was at the Detroit show last night. Logged in specifically for this.

James was weird last night and not very strong, vocally speaking. He said right away that he was "feeling pretty wacky tonight, so you guys are in for a treat." To be fair, the banter was decently funny, but it seemed like people were saying about the Pittsburgh show, that he was just tailing off lines and not doing much of the high stuff. Granted, when he went for the high notes, they usually came out flat, forcing him to do his crazy wide vibrato thing.

Now, to make this perfectly clear. I'm not hating on James at all for not being as good a singer as he was 25 years ago. The food poisoning accident was horrible and sad, we all know that. And it seems like he was doing miraculously better recently. All 3 times I saw them on the Dramatic Turn tour, he was spot on the whole time. I know the I&W&B tour setlist is incredibly taxing, and you can't expect to hold it up for a year. As far as the tailing off phrases thing, maybe he's just bored. I know lots of us never get tired of hearing those songs, but I bet it gets really obnoxious when you have to play them every night for months at a time and it's a struggle to hit a lot of the notes on top of that.

Maybe I'm way off base because now multiple people are saying it, he certainly struggled vocally at times but I expected him to based on the difficulty of the set. But, to me, James has always been a little goofy and weird on stage, there are tons of examples I could site, but it certainly increased a bit once MP left and James seemed to feel more comfortable talking in specific spots. A lot of that went away for TA because of the production of the show but it's always been there from where I've sat.

I dunno maybe I'm wrong and James is a terrible drunk now.
This is my 6th time seeing them. It wasn't really the in-between songs banter that bugged me. That was pretty normal. I'm mostly talking about when he was actually performing. He would make weird voices and melody changes in strange places.
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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2017, 09:00:16 AM »
This is my 6th time seeing them. It wasn't really the in-between songs banter that bugged me. That was pretty normal. I'm mostly talking about when he was actually performing. He would make weird voices and melody changes in strange places.

Gotcha, he definitely is altering melodies a lot more this tour than usual, that stuck out at the Pittsburgh show as well.

Offline gzarruk

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2017, 12:14:54 PM »
Iíve never seen DT live, and probably never will, since they never come to Peru when they tour. So, if I had the chance to see them live, I wouldnít even think about Jamesí rough vocals, Iíd go without a doubt and would enjoy every second of it. I think people are taking DTís shows for granted, instead of being happy they tour your cities on a regular basis.

Having said that, I do think Jamesís been struggling a lot in recent years, and think they should do something about it.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2017, 12:23:47 PM »
Iíve never seen DT live, and probably never will, since they never come to Peru when they tour. So, if I had the chance to see them live, I wouldnít even think about Jamesí rough vocals, Iíd go without a doubt and would enjoy every second of it. I think people are taking DTís shows for granted, instead of being happy they tour your cities on a regular basis.

Having said that, I do think Jamesís been struggling a lot in recent years, and think they should do something about it.
I don't think people are taking the shows for granted. At least the people who don't live in Penn or NY. Hell, I can't stand the dude, and I'm pretty soured on the band in general, but I'm still looking forward to seeing them next month. Hell, I haven't even ruled out catching a second show.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2017, 12:39:12 PM »
Having said that, I do think Jamesís been struggling a lot in recent years, and think they should do something about it.

I think they've done what they can at this point. They can't lower the songs even further.
Unless you're talking personnel change, or hiatus, which I feel is entering more and more into the realm of possibility.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2017, 01:20:00 PM »
Having said that, I do think Jamesís been struggling a lot in recent years, and think they should do something about it.

I think they've done what they can at this point. They can't lower the songs even further.
Unless you're talking personnel change, or hiatus, which I feel is entering more and more into the realm of possibility.

I was thinking of not playing the songs he definitely cannot nail anymore. I mean, DT has a long enough catalog, so it wouldn't be a big deal really if they don't play a few songs never again. They could also include a couple instrumentals (or songs with long instrumental breacs ala Metropolis or BAI) so James doesn't have to push his voice too hard on every show. That would be the easiest/wisest option, I think.

My other option would be to actually replace him (Fabio Lione FTW :metal) but that would be a last resource option.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline Kattoelox

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2017, 01:47:31 PM »
My other option would be to actually replace him (Fabio Lione FTW :metal) but that would be a last resource option.

gzarruk, I like your taste in singers...

Offline Adami

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2017, 01:52:38 PM »
I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.
They won't be touring the entire next year, so I think that solves that problem.

Not really. If I told you to run 50 miles non-stop, would the fact that you could take a year off of running make that easier? No.

Would it help if you could run 2 miles and then take a break and so forth? Yup! That's more of what I'm talking about.
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Offline gzarruk

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2017, 02:05:32 PM »
My other option would be to actually replace him (Fabio Lione FTW :metal) but that would be a last resource option.

gzarruk, I like your taste in singers...

I'm not a fan of Rhapsody, but Fabio did an excellent job on Angra's Secret Garden, he would be a very nice fit for DT :hefdaddy

I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.
They won't be touring the entire next year, so I think that solves that problem.

Not really. If I told you to run 50 miles non-stop, would the fact that you could take a year off of running make that easier? No.

Would it help if you could run 2 miles and then take a break and so forth? Yup! That's more of what I'm talking about.

I agree with Adami, but I don't think a touring schedule like that would be viable for DT at all, since that would mean longer hotel stays, etc.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline Dream Team

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2017, 08:36:47 PM »
I really believe this tour is the last hurrah for these songs, save maybe a Pull Me Under/Metropolis mashup as an encore on some tours.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2017, 09:20:28 PM »
I think this is the last hurrah for four songs: Another Day, TTT, LtL, and ACOS.

Offline Lethean

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2017, 10:10:29 AM »
I was not at the Pittsburgh show, but I was in Detroit and several other midwest shows. JLB was not drunk, nor was he singing poorly. He sang the songs the same way each night - it was clearly prearranged to modify some of the melodies so he wouldn't have to attempt so many high notes.

I think that's perfectly valid.  I get that if you were expecting to hear things the same way as on the record it might be disappointing or maybe a little disconcerting
 What he's actually doing conflicts with what you have in your head. And the first time I heard the changes it took getting used to for me, but I realized it was intentional and it didn't at all sound bad. It worked quite well actually.

While I don't think it would be the best idea for them to keep doing tours full of old songs with the highest notes, I think it would work very well for them to include a few songs per show with the altered vocal melodies.

Short version: he's been doing what he (and I imagine JP) set out for him to do on this tour and has been doing it incredibly well. Not to mention his stage presence is excellent - I think he stepped it up for TA tour and has taken some of that with him to this tour.

Offline Drinktheater

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #48 on: November 13, 2017, 01:04:27 AM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge JLB fan and would still enjoy his performance if I attended a show nowadays (I haven't seen them live in two years, though), but like all fans, I still analyse and pay attention to the individual performances. We're allowed to respectfully share our thoughts.

Having said that, James wasn't drunk.  :lol

Well, that's the point. The way we put our expriences makes all the dfiference.

But... This is what I worried before the I&W tour began. Even though this is an anniversary tour, I think the band decided to do that tour due to financial reasons and regain the fans after TA's mixed (and mostly unappreciated) feedbacks. Whatever the reasons they are, this tour is heavy burden for James. The band and James surely know this risks. I see him doing fine, doing really bad, doing absolutely fantastic on that tour (by only watching youtube). Having said that, yeah he is not drunk.  :lol

Bosk has said many times that the IAW&B tour is not really about rebounding from the underappreciated TA album and tour. My own reading is that they probably know that this is the last time they could give tribute to the album, given their age. They won't play this set again.

Yup I agree age has really caught up with James specially singing the I&W set, I am curious about the Pittsburgh show see how it compares to the European and Asian Segment of the tour.

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They won't play this set again

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Offline noxon

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #49 on: November 13, 2017, 01:51:03 AM »
Regarding the talking spots - they were among my favorite portions of the show, just fun, small stories about the band in the early days. And general lunacy like "The Popcorn Incident" (youtube it if you havent seen it).

But yeah, they didnt intend to set out on a world wide tour of "Images and Words and Beyond" - it was only supposed to be a small tour of a couple of months. But they didn't expect promoters to go crazy and throw money after them to get them to come "everywhere", so they decided to restructure their plan into a full year of touring.

The Astonishing wasn't a big money loss for them, as the risk was always on the promoters. Now, it didnt really become a big income source EITHER, because smaller venues means less people attending means fewer ticket sales means generally lower income - and most of the money had already been spent on production. But they didnt go in the red for doing the tour - far from it :P
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2017, 04:58:20 AM »
Good lord this thread.  DT-side, you never fail to disappoint.

:youfail:

Reasonable expectations, ya'll... most greenhorn singers in their early 20s couldn't sing today what James sang back in 92. Cut him some slack, the guy's 54 out there singing 3 hour sets every night for months on end singing one of the most vocally demanding albums out there...

Short version: he's been doing what he (and I imagine JP) set out for him to do on this tour and has been doing it incredibly well. Not to mention his stage presence is excellent - I think he stepped it up for TA tour and has taken some of that with him to this tour.

The two most reasonable posts here.

Replace him just because he's not up to your (clearly impossibly high) standards?  :lolpalm:  Ya'll probably wanted Dickinson to be replaced 10 years ago too.

He was FANTASTIC in Toronto last night.  Yes, many melodies were altered, but he hasn't been able to nail Take the Time at all since the injury, and even before then he was spotty on it (especially the verse 'if there's a pensive fear ...' - they cut that verse right out of the PN2009 tour).  He nailed a more than a few of the high notes he was going for last night, but just can't hold them for the 8-10 seconds that he did in the studio.  He held some of the lower note for long durations though - eg, the very last line of the show "I will live oooooooooooon" was perfectly delivered.

To expect him to do so at his age, given his injury event 20 years ago, and the tour schedule they've been on is a ridiculous expectation.  Go listen to (the redubbed) Live at Marquee if you need your live fix that sounds like the studio.  Me, I'm fine with him just the way he sounds.
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Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2017, 05:55:31 AM »
I would also much rather he alter the melodies for Take the Time than to cut that part out altogether (the pensive fear part)

Offline Kattoelox

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2017, 07:59:34 AM »
I just want to take a minute to acknowledge how awesome those lyrics and that part of TTT are. I remember standing in front of high school waiting for the doors to open many years ago just replaying that section over and over in my CD player just because it was that cool.  :metal

Offline newdull

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2017, 09:46:05 AM »
Was @ the Pittsburgh show, felt like i'd add my $0.02 ....


I did *not* come away from the show thinking "There's something wrong with James."

James is performing extremely well, considering the setlist.  The word i would use to describe his performance in Pittsburgh would be: inconsistent.  The example that jumps out at me is how he sounded on back to back songs.  Pull Me Under was basically perfect.  He sounded great!  Good energy and sound throughout the whole song.  Next was Another Day, and he sounded.... strained.  It stuck out to me because of the stark contrast from literally back to back songs.  So, is he maybe overextending himself?  Possibly pushing his voice a little too hard at some points, but then doesn't have to time to recover for the next song where there are a ton of high notes?  James himself has said in interviews how in their earlier songs he's "...in the stratosphere.", so maybe it's just beyond his capabilities to do a full album like Images & Words in a single night....

However.... I also agree with the original post.  For The Astonishing tour, James was amazing!  I remember leaving a review on here the next day describing JLB as a "powerhouse".  Nothing stuck out in the entire night that would make me think he's having issues with his voice, and TA is not what i'd consider an "easy" album.  So, *is* there something wrong with his voice?  Is he just pushing himself a little too hard this time around? 

I'm sure we could analyze all this for days, but ultimately i think James is fine.  "Off" nights combined with a grueling tour schedule of a challenging album.

I definitely do *not* agree with considering a new frontman.  I consider JLB the soul of the band.  You can replace any of the other band members, and someone could potentially play the songs close enough to the original that you might not even notice (JR and MM are obvious examples of that)... But replace JLB and you have a completely different sound/ feel for the band.  Which i guess is what people are asking for then, but not me.



P.S.  The comments about his "banter" seem strange to me.  He's a silly guy, and he's silly on stage.  I enjoy all the stories and things he does on stage between songs.

Offline gzarruk

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2017, 11:26:04 AM »
I definitely do *not* agree with considering a new frontman.  I consider JLB the soul of the band.  You can replace any of the other band members, and someone could potentially play the songs close enough to the original that you might not even notice (JR and MM are obvious examples of that)... But replace JLB and you have a completely different sound/ feel for the band.  Which i guess is what people are asking for then, but not me.

Not JP.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline newdull

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2017, 11:49:52 AM »
Not JP.


Lol, i did say "might not notice".

There are some damn good guitarists out there that would definitely come close..... but you're right.  Petrucci is a one of kind guitar god.  :metal

Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #56 on: November 13, 2017, 11:58:01 AM »
I have seen Dream Theater twice in the past two years. Leading up to both shows, I read numerous posts about how James wasn't sounding good. I saw numerous clips of James missing notes or messing up a lyric. I went into those shows preparing for some Blink-182-style vocal suckage.

You know what though? James sounded good both times. Part of that probably has to do with the adrenaline of being there. If you recorded his vocals and analyzed them post-show, I'm sure you'd find mistakes. But he still sounded good in the moment, which is really all that matters to me.

At the end of the day, I think the guy is singing this material about as well as a 50-year-old can. Everyone in Dream Theater still puts on a great show.
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Offline noxon

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #57 on: November 13, 2017, 12:30:18 PM »
I've been to shows where he REALLY didn't sound good, but we're talking "on the verge of cancelling due to loss of voice"... He'd apologize and continue the show as best as he could, but people did notice big time.
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Offline Tick

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2017, 03:05:11 PM »
No offense to the OP but as a life long vocalist one year younger that JL I see things differently. I've been at show where James has been awesome and the feedback was "wow, James just doesn't have it anymore!"

I say nonsense. He sounds great especially with the amount of touring he does at his age. I have only seen one show where I feel James really went easy and that was two days before he did Score in NYC, so I get it.

I'll be in NYC Thursday night and I'm expecting a great performance and I'm sure I'll get it! :metal
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Offline ozzy554

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2017, 08:30:24 AM »
Yeah the I&W material is where James Struggles the most. I wouldn't be surprised if this tour ends up being a farewell for most of the songs from this album. Apart from occasionally pulling out Pull Me Under or Metropolis.

Also he may need a bit of a break from touring. I'm sure doing 3 hour shows a lot can be taxing let alone at his age. After this tour if they spend a good chunk of the time off the road making a new album I think it would be really good for him. When I saw them at the boston opera house James was basically on point the entire night. He especially nailed the Awake songs so I know he still has some left in the tank.

Offline Shooters1221

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #60 on: November 15, 2017, 08:37:39 AM »
I was at the show, James was fine.  :lol

Me too....he was fine.

Offline rumborak

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #61 on: November 15, 2017, 12:59:32 PM »

I say nonsense. He sounds great especially with the amount of touring he does at his age.


I dunno. I for one am not particularly capable of this "caveat enjoyment". When I watch my favorite sports team lose because they played 3 games in one week, I can say "of course they're tired", but that doesn't mean it's a good game by them or it's enjoyable soccer to watch.
I'm actually seeing them tonight, but if James is off-pitch the whole time I doubt I'll be able to use the grueling schedule as a way to increase my enjoyment.
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #62 on: November 15, 2017, 01:13:51 PM »
But that's the thing, he's not off-pitch at all.  He changes some of the melodies to fit his voice, and can't hold the F# in LTL for 10 seconds, but he sounds perfectly fine.  To use the sports analogy, Brady has had to adapt his playing style as he ages.  He can't heave it the way he did 15 years ago!
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Offline rumborak

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #63 on: November 15, 2017, 01:17:31 PM »
But that's the thing, he's not off-pitch at all. 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. James is off-pitch a LOT, and he has struggled with that throughout his career.
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #64 on: November 15, 2017, 01:23:24 PM »
But that's the thing, he's not off-pitch at all. 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. James is off-pitch a LOT, and he has struggled with that throughout his career.

True... I was listening to CiM yesterday, and man a few of those songs were a trainwreck.  Hence the likely reason why he's altering the melodies of the really high parts from I&W.
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Offline Tick

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #65 on: November 15, 2017, 03:22:27 PM »
But that's the thing, he's not off-pitch at all. 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. James is off-pitch a LOT, and he has struggled with that throughout his career.
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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #66 on: November 15, 2017, 05:01:33 PM »
   To use the sports analogy, Brady has had to adapt his playing style as he ages.  He can't heave it the way he did 15 years ago!

But Brady is better than he was 15 years ago...
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline cramx3

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #67 on: November 15, 2017, 05:07:59 PM »
I really believe this tour is the last hurrah for these songs, save maybe a Pull Me Under/Metropolis mashup as an encore on some tours.

Take the Time, Another Day, Change of Seasons... yea I think those songs may be shelved for good besides maybe a special show or something.  Maybe even Learning to Live.  It's part of the reason why I am going to see this show multiple times.  Some of my favorite DT songs and I think it's a strong possibility these don't get performed again.

Offline DT2003

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #68 on: November 15, 2017, 09:31:08 PM »
Was at last nights show and it definitely was not one of the best Iíve seen of James, but he wasnít horrible (Iíve seen DT about 30 times now). He wasnít very energetic although he was very theatrical while he was singing, mainly with his facial expressions and hand gestures. It was kind of strange to watch at times. In most of the shows Iíve seen since MP left I feel like James has really stepped it up, but I didnít feel that way last night. I think the break before they regroup later next year to start writing the new album will do them all some good, although I do have to say that Mangini seemed to be having the time of his life.

Offline ozzy554

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #69 on: November 15, 2017, 09:50:51 PM »
I think Change of seasons still sounds pretty damn good so I hope they keep busting that out occasionally