Author Topic: The "A View from the Top of the World tour is awesome!" thread (spoilers)  (Read 30045 times)

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Offline Stadler

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But as it stands, if the band is happy, then I am happy.

I agree. And I am on the 'production' side and love what they're giving us now, I wouldn't have it any other way. I just think that if there is such a large percentage of fans that is unhappy they could at least catch a different kind of show in an alternative environment. Maybe this would help calm all the unrest in the fandom? But I do see your point, they don't owe anyone anything.

I do wonder, though, what percentage of the fanbase posters on this forum represent. I suspect (and fully admit that I could be way off base) that the 'unrest' is a very small, but vocal minority. There are thousands of people in these arenas every night, but there are but a few dozen comments on reddit, and barely just as many here. So, regardless of what 'side' of this debate you fall, all of us may only represent one percent of the actual concert goers. The vast majority likely don't have an opinion either way.

Maybe this has to be in the "Controversial Opinions" thread, but I do think some of these sharp opinions good or bad are really a small minority.   I know I would consider myself a "musician" in the sense that I know what is being played (even if I can't play it myself) and I know what the technology entails (even if I can't duplicate that technology).   None of this is a bright line for me, and while I won't name names or speak for anyone else, it didn't seem like it was a bright line for any of the other people whose opinions I sought after the show I saw.   I think for the VAST majority of fans, it's not an issue until it becomes an issue.  Meaning, while I thought to myself "who's playing that guitar behind John's solo in TCOT?" I didn't lose a minute's sleep about it after the thought flew out my ear.   If you had five guys on stage throwing shapes and mugging to the cameras (look at any of the early 80's Tops Of The Pops sessions where everyone KNEW there was lip-synching going on) while sound was pumped in, that would be a problem.  I don't know where the line is; I think it's one of those things that is case-by-case. 

Offline hefdaddy42

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It's about being polished. The band is so advanced and polished now, and their use of technology just serves to create an even more polished finished product. If technology enhances the atmosphere of an elevated total experience, then I say it's a positive addition.
That is definitely the way that JP looks at it.  Which is why they do this now, instead of the MP style, different setlist each night, fly by the seat of your pants, live without a net method.

Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses, but for now anyway, JP is going with the former.
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Offline crystalstars17

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LOL at calling the live shows of all the great rock bands of the 60s and 70s a "hot mess". Such a ridiculous statement.

It would be that yes if I were saying that about the bands themselves, but I'm not. I'm referring specifically to their production quality. Granted they didn't have access to the advancements that are available now. But imagine if they had? What a beautiful thing that would've been.

That is definitely the way that JP looks at it.  Which is why they do this now, instead of the MP style, different setlist each night, fly by the seat of your pants, live without a net method.

Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses, but for now anyway, JP is going with the former.
And why shouldn't he? The technology is available now to make the best possible show that can exist. And it's working. Their show is the most technically sophisticated show ever, which not only does their music deserve, but it's also another layer of extreme talent and ability to be showcased, in itself.

Offline MoraWintersoul

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I don't think that would set their shows to hot mess status.

No, it wouldn't and they never were, but I was addressing the type of fans who seem to be saying (here and elsewhere) they want a completely "raw" and unproduced show. Maybe that's just what they grew up with at concerts in general, and so they prefer it? That's all I meant. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

But that's not my preference at all.

It's about being polished. The band is so advanced and polished now, and their use of technology just serves to create an even more polished finished product. If technology enhances the atmosphere of an elevated total experience, then I say it's a positive addition.
Those were Dream Theater's shows they grew up on though! If you like stuff like Score or Budokan, you like a "raw" unproduced show (yes I know both those published recordings have a few overdubs). I don't think Score isn't polished enough to Dream Theater standards, and yet they wanted to go from 95% polish to 100% polish for some reason.

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Offline jimgolf

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But as it stands, if the band is happy, then I am happy.

I agree. And I am on the 'production' side and love what they're giving us now, I wouldn't have it any other way. I just think that if there is such a large percentage of fans that is unhappy they could at least catch a different kind of show in an alternative environment. Maybe this would help calm all the unrest in the fandom? But I do see your point, they don't owe anyone anything.

I think maybe you could be misunderstanding the qualms of myself and other fans in regards to the piped in lead vocals and the backing vocals(I dont mind the backing vocals as much because MP isnt here anymore to sing them, but I can see why others might have issues with them considering how much higher in the mix they keep getting each tour). I am still very happy the band is touring and releasing new material. I had a blast at the most recent concert in Philly and I hope they continue touring and making music for as long as they can. Likewise, I enjoy seeing them advance the presentation of the live shows because the lights/stage production/video projections look fantastic. However, the use of piped in lead vocals on the verses in Bridges in the Sky does kind of ruin that songís live presentation a bit.  The backing vocals are one thing and donít matter as much because the audience can still clearly hear the lead vocals of James being sung live. To use Petrucciís favorite band as a comparison, Rush had been doing a very similar thing for many years with Geddyís voice where they would have prerecorded backing vocals triggered to enhance the chorus and make them sound more full and like the album(complete with Alex Lifeson miming along  :lol). However, the line Rush didnít cross was having prerecorded vocals playing over a difficult lead vocal line while Geddy whisper sings or sings the line an octave lower to make it appear hes actually singing the lead vocal line.

Another example would be Roger Waters: Roger has been doing a very similar thing for many years where he has prerecorded lead vocals on certain songs and just kind of whispers along to it in the mic. Do I still love Roger Waters? Of course. The Wall in 2011 was a fantastic show. That being said, its still absurd that a professional musician would do that.  I believe it is disingenuous to the audience because it makes them think they are hearing a certain type of live performance when they actually arenít (especially when tickets are so expensive these days). Now if something happened to Labrieís voice during the tour and he was physically unable to sing the material for medical reasons,  I would be more accepting of something like that as a solution because they would simply be making the best of a difficult situation. In this case ,Bridges in the Sky has been performed the exact same way since the first show of the tour - and at the show I was at in Philly - which means they intended for it to be performed like that before the tour even started.

Offline crystalstars17

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I don't think Score isn't polished enough to Dream Theater standards, and yet they wanted to go from 95% polish to 100% polish for some reason.

Oh I do love Score! It was my first exposure to the band and to this day I adore it the most of all.

But I think the difference between 95% and 100% is negligible. Why is 5% enough to cause such a rift? I think now we're just splitting hairs?

Offline crystalstars17

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Now if something happened to Labrieís voice during the tour and he was physically unable to sing the material for medical reasons,  I would be more accepting of something like that as a solution because they would simply be making the best of a difficult situation.

I see what you're saying but how do we know that was not the case, whether something happened just before the tour and yet the rest of the production was already in place and so they've had to adapt to his physical needs? We don't know. We do know that his voice is fragile and we can infer that he may have had physical/technical issues with it since around the time of The Astonishing tour. I think mainly it's been technical (ie. pushing, getting off the breath, high larynx, etc) but whether he has sustained another vocal (re)injury during that timeline or just before this tour, we simply don't know. If I were inclined to think that they could be more forthcoming about anything, I would hope it is more about this. I can see that you and I both care about his vocal wellbeing so if he actually did reinjure his voice I think it may also clear the air for us to know. Because well, as his fans we do care.

Offline EPIC Outro

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This discussion is giving me flashbacks to when my band was recording our first demo. I wanted to do multiple keyboard layers with lots of depth and orchestration. But the rest of the band had a rule that the album could only feature things that could be reproduced live, so I had to simplify my keyboard stuff to what I could perform on stage without piping anything in. It frustrated me because I felt I wasn't able to fully express my creativity. But majority rules, I guess.

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Day after the show and it was amazing. I would say it was better, performance and sound wise, here in The Moody Blues  Theater. The venue was smaller than I thought, and I like how close we were even in the balcony. The seats were pretty steep with small foot space so many of us sat down.

It was awesome how the people in front of us started swaying there phones for TMOLS and others catching on and doing the same. I have no idea if the bottom levels were doing it, but there were quite a lot of people doing it and it was nice.

Then for the encore break, the entire place lit up with peoples phone lights.

It was great, but also funny because JP made the same mishap as in the Mesa show, only on a different song. He forgot to change the patch for the end of TMOLS.

The band sounded great, and the production of the show was good. Although, being in the balcony meant getting lights shined in our eyes, but it was still awesome seeing the full production, which is vastly different from seeing the show close up to the band.

JLB also said he needed to go home and drew a blank for what to say.

Arch Echo was amazing and I think they're utilizing the availability of the click because their light show was fantastic and on point with their songs.

It was also funny getting to hear Mangini sing a bit after he threw a bottle cap and it was still on stage.
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Offline 425

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On that JLB video, seeing the commentary in the fanbase outside DTF, I totally understand why heís pissed. Itís far from my favorite song, and I donít think it would be actually advisable to do this, but it would be cathartic to see them break out Never Enough. Iíve always maintained that MP was exactly right about a certain kind of fan.

Eh, I would hope James would never stoop to the level of embracing the embarrassing lyrics to Never Enough.  While I get the sentiment Portnoy was going for in them, the lyrics themselves are not good, IMO (sorry, Mike, if you were neglecting your family, that's on you :P).

I think the emphasis on physical violence and self-harm imagery is something that understandably turns a lot of people off, although I personally don't mind it. People sometimes make fun of the "brand new floor" line, but I think that's meant to be funny.

I do think I interpret the "neglect my kids and wife" line somewhat differently from you. I don't think he's blaming the bad fans for his choice to do that; I think it's more like "It's ridiculous that you complain that I don't do enough for you and I only care about myself when the reality is the opposite: I'm doing too much for you, to my own detriment." I take that line as a moment of real self-awareness, actually, which is an interesting dimension for a song that's primarily about criticizing other people.


It's about being polished. The band is so advanced and polished now, and their use of technology just serves to create an even more polished finished product. If technology enhances the atmosphere of an elevated total experience, then I say it's a positive addition.
That is definitely the way that JP looks at it.  Which is why they do this now, instead of the MP style, different setlist each night, fly by the seat of your pants, live without a net method.

Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses, but for now anyway, JP is going with the former.

"Live without a net" captures one aspect of what I like about the MP approach. To me, part of the thrill of a live show, especially for prog, is the fact that these five (or however many) guys on stage are responsible for making every sound I'm hearing, live and in the moment.

There are definitely advantages to the JP way, especially when it comes to the issue of being able to making more intricate, layered music without having to worry that it won't come off live. I'm a fan of symphonic metal bands like Nightwish and Epica, and it would be simply impossible for them to tour without using backing tracks, which free them to compose really interesting orchestral parts.

I understand why some people, like crystalstars, might not care about the "without a net" feel or the other things I like about the MP way (improvisations, tempo set by the drummer in the moment rather than the click, etc.), and prefer the more polished sound of the JP way. And I'm definitely not angry at the band for doing it the way they prefer. But I can't deny that when I see their live shows in the post-MP era, there is a part of me that says, "man, I wish I was hearing JP sing this part live and in the moment instead of this pre-recorded JLB backing track."
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Offline bosk1

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On that JLB video, seeing the commentary in the fanbase outside DTF, I totally understand why heís pissed. Itís far from my favorite song, and I donít think it would be actually advisable to do this, but it would be cathartic to see them break out Never Enough. Iíve always maintained that MP was exactly right about a certain kind of fan.

Eh, I would hope James would never stoop to the level of embracing the embarrassing lyrics to Never Enough.  While I get the sentiment Portnoy was going for in them, the lyrics themselves are not good, IMO (sorry, Mike, if you were neglecting your family, that's on you :P).

I think the emphasis on physical violence and self-harm imagery is something that understandably turns a lot of people off, although I personally don't mind it. People sometimes make fun of the "brand new floor" line, but I think that's meant to be funny.

I do think I interpret the "neglect my kids and wife" line somewhat differently from you. I don't think he's blaming the bad fans for his choice to do that; I think it's more like "It's ridiculous that you complain that I don't do enough for you and I only care about myself when the reality is the opposite: I'm doing too much for you, to my own detriment." I take that line as a moment of real self-awareness, actually, which is an interesting dimension for a song that's primarily about criticizing other people.

I don't think the first one is meant to be "funny," per se, but I don't think it is meant to be taken literally either.  I think both of the lines you cite (and the lyrics as a whole) are just meant to be exaggerated and melodramatic to make the types of points you mention.  I get that that doesn't land with a lot of people.  But I think a lot of those people also just don't get what he is doing and what the song is about, and they either (a) take it all literally, (b) take it to be a criticism of fans in general as opposed to that very specific situation with the stalker fans, or both.

It's about being polished. The band is so advanced and polished now, and their use of technology just serves to create an even more polished finished product. If technology enhances the atmosphere of an elevated total experience, then I say it's a positive addition.
That is definitely the way that JP looks at it.  Which is why they do this now, instead of the MP style, different setlist each night, fly by the seat of your pants, live without a net method.

Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses, but for now anyway, JP is going with the former.

"Live without a net" captures one aspect of what I like about the MP approach. To me, part of the thrill of a live show, especially for prog, is the fact that these five (or however many) guys on stage are responsible for making every sound I'm hearing, live and in the moment.

There are definitely advantages to the JP way, especially when it comes to the issue of being able to making more intricate, layered music without having to worry that it won't come off live. I'm a fan of symphonic metal bands like Nightwish and Epica, and it would be simply impossible for them to tour without using backing tracks, which free them to compose really interesting orchestral parts.

I understand why some people, like crystalstars, might not care about the "without a net" feel or the other things I like about the MP way (improvisations, tempo set by the drummer in the moment rather than the click, etc.), and prefer the more polished sound of the JP way. And I'm definitely not angry at the band for doing it the way they prefer. But I can't deny that when I see their live shows in the post-MP era, there is a part of me that says, "man, I wish I was hearing JP sing this part live and in the moment instead of this pre-recorded JLB backing track."

I get that they are just different approaches.  I can't really say which is "better" because I don't think "better" is a proper consideration.  It's just a question of preference, and I can't really say what I prefer.  There are aspects of either approach that I think yield more preferable results.
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Offline 425

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I think the emphasis on physical violence and self-harm imagery is something that understandably turns a lot of people off, although I personally don't mind it. People sometimes make fun of the "brand new floor" line, but I think that's meant to be funny.

I do think I interpret the "neglect my kids and wife" line somewhat differently from you. I don't think he's blaming the bad fans for his choice to do that; I think it's more like "It's ridiculous that you complain that I don't do enough for you and I only care about myself when the reality is the opposite: I'm doing too much for you, to my own detriment." I take that line as a moment of real self-awareness, actually, which is an interesting dimension for a song that's primarily about criticizing other people.

I don't think the first one is meant to be "funny," per se, but I don't think it is meant to be taken literally either.  I think both of the lines you cite (and the lyrics as a whole) are just meant to be exaggerated and melodramatic to make the types of points you mention.  I get that that doesn't land with a lot of people.  But I think a lot of those people also just don't get what he is doing and what the song is about, and they either (a) take it all literally, (b) take it to be a criticism of fans in general as opposed to that very specific situation with the stalker fans, or both.

I guess I didn't mean laugh-out-loud funny, but more that the image of this guy standing there complaining about his floor to someone who's bleeding out is meant to be ridiculous to highlight how ridiculous MP thinks these particular fans are.
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Offline Skeever

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It's sad to see that James is letting the comments get under his skin, especially since, by the vast majority of accounts, this tour has been a huge success and nearly everyone who's reported back from a show seems to have been delighted with their evening.

I've gone back and forth on it a bit myself, and personally, I no longer care that DT use backing tracks. Their shows are not just raw live music anymore; they are delivering a much more "state of the art" production than I remember from seeing them back in the day, one that seems to maintain consistently high level of quality. Would it be nice to see them do things in a more "old school" way? Maybe. Maybe not. I honestly can't say. What I can say is that I was very happy with the show I saw on the latest tour.

Offline hunnus2000

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It's sad to see that James is letting the comments get under his skin, especially since, by the vast majority of accounts, this tour has been a huge success and nearly everyone who's reported back from a show seems to have been delighted with their evening.


While I think this could have been handled differently, I can understand his frustration and anger. He's been taking shit for years from trolls that think he should be replaced or make YouTube videos on his fuck ups. I'll bet a dollar that DT has a Social Media Admin that is responsible not only the DT content they put out but also reviewing content that's put out there on the I-Net like say - this board. MP for years used to do this for years and he fought back when he didn't like the criticism.

Also, how do we know that his comments weren't a calculated way to bring attention to the band. What do they say about even bad press is good press?

Offline cramx3

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Well DT wouldn't have to look much further than this thread.  And the fact blabbermouth has made articles before referencing DTF, it would be no surprise to me that the band got wind of such comments directly from here.  I'm not too sure they go through the youtube videos, they kind of feel disconnected in that way from the fan base as they don't embrace anything from the fans (you don't see their social media sharing fan content at all).  I know it's not the same, but I filmed a Tallah song last fall and their singer actually commented on my youtube video thanking me for filming because it helps them understand the sound and image they project.

Offline 425

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I think he (or the band, at least) had to address it in some form, given that it really does seem like the backing track was pushed so far to the front of the mix at some shows that people were honestly confused. I think people should have given him the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst and being snide and combative about it, but an explanation was warranted (even though the confusion was not his fault).
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Offline bosk1

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I think he (or the band, at least) had to address it in some form, given that it really does seem like the backing track was pushed so far to the front of the mix at some shows that people were honestly confused. I think people should have given him the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst and being snide and combative about it, but an explanation was warranted (even though the confusion was not his fault).

Agreed with all of that.
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Offline Stadler

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I do think I interpret the "neglect my kids and wife" line somewhat differently from you. I don't think he's blaming the bad fans for his choice to do that; I think it's more like "It's ridiculous that you complain that I don't do enough for you and I only care about myself when the reality is the opposite: I'm doing too much for you, to my own detriment." I take that line as a moment of real self-awareness, actually, which is an interesting dimension for a song that's primarily about criticizing other people.

My interpretation is pretty close to yours.  Wasn't necessarily meant to "blame".   It is a bitter lyric, I'll give you that, but that's part of the emotion of setting your thoughts to music.


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I understand why some people, like crystalstars, might not care about the "without a net" feel or the other things I like about the MP way (improvisations, tempo set by the drummer in the moment rather than the click, etc.), and prefer the more polished sound of the JP way. And I'm definitely not angry at the band for doing it the way they prefer. But I can't deny that when I see their live shows in the post-MP era, there is a part of me that says, "man, I wish I was hearing JP sing this part live and in the moment instead of this pre-recorded JLB backing track."

I've been thinking about this a lot since I read it, and I think Crystalstars is onto something in terms of eras and generations.  I grew up with Zeppelin and the Dead.   6:00 songs on record stretched to 30 minutes or more live.   I saw Temple Of The Dog play "Achilles Last Stand" live a couple years ago, and they NAILED it, and the reason they nailed it, is because Matt Cameron let the song breathe.  It wasn't timed to the light show, it was "timed" to the feel and ebb and flow of the musicians.  I've seen both kinds of shows, and I've loved both kinds of shows. I don't think one is right or wrong, it's a matter of what matters to you. I can and do enjoy both for what they are. 

Offline Setlist Scotty

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I do think I interpret the "neglect my kids and wife" line somewhat differently from you. I don't think he's blaming the bad fans for his choice to do that; I think it's more like "It's ridiculous that you complain that I don't do enough for you and I only care about myself when the reality is the opposite: I'm doing too much for you, to my own detriment." I take that line as a moment of real self-awareness, actually, which is an interesting dimension for a song that's primarily about criticizing other people.
Exactly.
 
 
Also, how do we know that his comments weren't a calculated way to bring attention to the band. What do they say about even bad press is good press?
I don't think so. If it was, in a way, I'd say it backfired and created more of the "Streisand effect" by bringing more attention to it than previously. I'm seeing tons of discussion about it in a Facebook group, whereas I don't think there was much if any before the Houston show.
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Offline KevShmev

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LOL at calling the live shows of all the great rock bands of the 60s and 70s a "hot mess". Such a ridiculous statement.

It would be that yes if I were saying that about the bands themselves, but I'm not. I'm referring specifically to their production quality. Granted they didn't have access to the advancements that are available now. But imagine if they had? What a beautiful thing that would've been.

One could argue that a truly great band doesn't need a great production quality.  Get out there and play your music and that ought to speak for itself, right?  I remember seeing a performance of  I'm So Afraid by Fleetwood Mac from the 70s where it was outside, I think it was a little windy, and there was no fancy production or anything, just five people on stage playing their song and kicking ass.  That is music in its purest form.   :hat :hat

Offline goo-goo

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Day after the show and it was amazing. I would say it was better, performance and sound wise, here in The Moody Blues  Theater. The venue was smaller than I thought, and I like how close we were even in the balcony. The seats were pretty steep with small foot space so many of us sat down.

It was awesome how the people in front of us started swaying there phones for TMOLS and others catching on and doing the same. I have no idea if the bottom levels were doing it, but there were quite a lot of people doing it and it was nice.

Then for the encore break, the entire place lit up with peoples phone lights.

It was great, but also funny because JP made the same mishap as in the Mesa show, only on a different song. He forgot to change the patch for the end of TMOLS.

The band sounded great, and the production of the show was good. Although, being in the balcony meant getting lights shined in our eyes, but it was still awesome seeing the full production, which is vastly different from seeing the show close up to the band.

JLB also said he needed to go home and drew a blank for what to say.

Arch Echo was amazing and I think they're utilizing the availability of the click because their light show was fantastic and on point with their songs.

It was also funny getting to hear Mangini sing a bit after he threw a bottle cap and it was still on stage.

I was waiting for your shout Ben :)

Very enjoyable show. Surprised with James' performance, he sang well, no weird enunciations, kept it within his current range.

what shocked me was the price of the merch for both DT and AE :(

Offline cramx3

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Was there anything special at the show last night to mark the end of the tour?

Offline bosk1

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One could argue that a truly great band doesn't need a great production quality. 

Sure, one could argue that.  And I would agree that no band "needs" that.  But it has nothing to do with whether great production can make for a good show or whether it is desirable for any number of reasons.
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Offline MrMike

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Day after the show and it was amazing. I would say it was better, performance and sound wise, here in The Moody Blues  Theater. The venue was smaller than I thought, and I like how close we were even in the balcony. The seats were pretty steep with small foot space so many of us sat down.

It was awesome how the people in front of us started swaying there phones for TMOLS and others catching on and doing the same. I have no idea if the bottom levels were doing it, but there were quite a lot of people doing it and it was nice.

Then for the encore break, the entire place lit up with peoples phone lights.

It was great, but also funny because JP made the same mishap as in the Mesa show, only on a different song. He forgot to change the patch for the end of TMOLS.

The band sounded great, and the production of the show was good. Although, being in the balcony meant getting lights shined in our eyes, but it was still awesome seeing the full production, which is vastly different from seeing the show close up to the band.

JLB also said he needed to go home and drew a blank for what to say.

Arch Echo was amazing and I think they're utilizing the availability of the click because their light show was fantastic and on point with their songs.

It was also funny getting to hear Mangini sing a bit after he threw a bottle cap and it was still on stage.

I was there too in the front row of mezzanine.  Epic show.  Even with already knowing the setlist and everything else to expect, it still blew me away.  They were all on fire and so locked in with each other.

The Mangini singing bit was a fun little extra treat.  Did I hear James say "I'm really drunk" at one point?  I thought so, but it was a little hard to understand some of his stage raps.  He was acting a little goofy and seemed disconnected at times, but I thought he sang fine for the voice he has today.

And even though I originally questioned The Count of Tuscany as an encore, I must say it made for an absolutely perfect ending to the evening.  The crowd roared when that intro started.  Man, I can't wait until they come back around again!

Offline Herrick

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While it can be argued that DT's use of backing tracks was a sudden change, it has been their way of doing things for more than a decade now so I've had plenty of time to become accustomed to it. I prefer the old way, but I have accepted that this is the kind of show they are giving us right now. But I wouldn't be disappointed if they gave us a more raw live show sometime in the future.

And as far as JP doing live backing vocals... I LOVE the falsetto lines he sang on In the Name of God at Budokan. I believe he did the same on The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun on WDADR. If I remember right, those vocals were much more apparent on either the CD or the DVD of that show, but I don't remember which.

I thought the same thing about JP's vocals on When Day and Dream Reunite but at the time, I hadn't heard much of their live stuff and didn't realize how much backing vocals Portnoy did. Now I am wondering if that's mostly Portnoy we are hearing on The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun. Can anyone clarify?
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Offline gzarruk

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I think this discussion has become a bit too toxic, but I feel like there's the need to clarify a few things here.

This whole recent "incident" didn't spark from the fact that DT uses a lot of backing tracks for their live shows. That's been the case for the last 11+ years, there's no real reason for it to become a problem "just now". And IMO, there's nothing wrong with that, as that's the kind of show they want to present and they feel like it's best to do it that way. They aren't a 10-piece band with multiple singers or two guitarists/keyboardists, etc. They might do a few exceptions (Metropolis or TCOT intros) but other than that most of what you're hearing, specially in the playing/instrumental department, is being played live on the spot. And the've said that (specially Jordan, most recently) they approach it in the "let's reproduce as much as we can live with our two hands" fashion. Anything else that's added to the piped in tracks is because there's layers and layers of other stuff that they can't simultaneously play anyway. Again, there's nothing wrong with that approach either.

So, what's the big deal then? That it's become apparent to some people that there's certain spots in one specific song where it seems like the "backing track" vocals are doing the heavy lifting at least for those couple sections. Now, if you look at this carefully, I'm using words like "it seems" and so on because we can't ever be 100% sure of what's happening without actually being there with the band and crew and to see what gets piped in and what not. However, there seems to be some evidence to support that statement, coming from different people at different shows and shot from different angles. And that's a completely different topic/discussion than just them using backing tracks to enhance their performance, which shouldn't be the main issue at discussion.

The real issue instead is should the backing tracks overpower/replace what is actually happening live? Because then it just doesn't feel like an honest performance anymore, even if that's just for a few seconds anyway. And again, full disclaimer: I don't have any issues with them using backing tracks at all, and I'd say most people here don't either. But that's not what this whole "incident" is about.

And as for James' response, I have nothing but love and respect for him and all he's done for the band in his more than 30 years with them, but he quite didn't address the real thing either. Is he lip-syncing? Maybe not, and he obviously said he isn't. But again, the real question here isn't if he's lip-syncing, but if he's "cheating" for a couple bars on that particular song and letting the piped in vocals handle it while he prepares for the next section. And that he didn't address at all, he just started cursing people who brought things up. And that's at best a fallacy.
It sounds like, "ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk, ruk." Instead of the more pleasing kick drum sound of, "gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk, gzarruk."

Offline KevShmev

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One could argue that a truly great band doesn't need a great production quality. 

Sure, one could argue that.  And I would agree that no band "needs" that.  But it has nothing to do with whether great production can make for a good show or whether it is desirable for any number of reasons.

That is true, but to circle back to the main point of discussion as of late, I think the backing track/lip synch thing stands out a bit much because of how produced the DT concerts have gotten in general.  Everything seems so rigorously planned to where there seems to be little to no spontaneity at their concerts now, and the "appearance" that James was getting a bit of help at times with a backing track I think just added to the frustration that some have regarding the band's live performances now and how they present them.  I agree with the comments that it is great that DT is touring again following the last few years of uncertainty for concerts in general, but I am just viewing through the lens of DT shows over the years and contextualizing it a little, if that makes sense.

Offline Herrick

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I think this discussion has become a bit too toxic, but I feel like there's the need to clarify a few things here.

This whole recent "incident" didn't spark from the fact that DT uses a lot of backing tracks for their live shows. That's been the case for the last 11+ years, there's no real reason for it to become a problem "just now". And IMO, there's nothing wrong with that, as that's the kind of show they want to present and they feel like it's best to do it that way. They aren't a 10-piece band with multiple singers or two guitarists/keyboardists, etc. They might do a few exceptions (Metropolis or TCOT intros) but other than that most of what you're hearing, specially in the playing/instrumental department, is being played live on the spot. And the've said that (specially Jordan, most recently) they approach it in the "let's reproduce as much as we can live with our two hands" fashion. Anything else that's added to the piped in tracks is because there's layers and layers of other stuff that they can't simultaneously play anyway. Again, there's nothing wrong with that approach either.

So, what's the big deal then? That it's become apparent to some people that there's certain spots in one specific song where it seems like the "backing track" vocals are doing the heavy lifting at least for those couple sections. Now, if you look at this carefully, I'm using words like "it seems" and so on because we can't ever be 100% sure of what's happening without actually being there with the band and crew and to see what gets piped in and what not. However, there seems to be some evidence to support that statement, coming from different people at different shows and shot from different angles. And that's a completely different topic/discussion than just them using backing tracks to enhance their performance, which shouldn't be the main issue at discussion.

The real issue instead is should the backing tracks overpower/replace what is actually happening live? Because then it just doesn't feel like an honest performance anymore, even if that's just for a few seconds anyway. And again, full disclaimer: I don't have any issues with them using backing tracks at all, and I'd say most people here don't either. But that's not what this whole "incident" is about.

And as for James' response, I have nothing but love and respect for him and all he's done for the band in his more than 30 years with them, but he quite didn't address the real thing either. Is he lip-syncing? Maybe not, and he obviously said he isn't. But again, the real question here isn't if he's lip-syncing, but if he's "cheating" for a couple bars on that particular song and letting the piped in vocals handle it while he prepares for the next section. And that he didn't address at all, he just started cursing people who brought things up. And that's at best a fallacy.

Well said. I had to go back a few pages to read more about the controversy after I saw an article about it. People here kept muddying up the waters by talking about "backing vocals". The video I saw was not backing vocals but lead vocals. However, I didn't know what to make of it as it was uploaded by that guy who was banned from the forum & who fucking hates all things post-Portnoy DT.

I'd really have to check out the other videos that were linked in this thread but if LaBrie is doing what Petrucci does where the recorded track is like 95% louder than his mic, then yeah that's not cool. But if it's only for few seconds on one song, I don't think that would keep me from wanting to see the band live.
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Offline EPIC Outro

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Do you think the band might scale back some of the piped in stuff given the backlash recently?

More specifically, do you think the next legs of this tour will see that section of BITS handled a different way - or perhaps the song might be dropped altogether?

Offline TAC

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More specifically, do you think the next legs of this tour will see that section of BITS handled a different way - or perhaps the song might be dropped altogether?

I think they'll do it just like they have for the upcoming European tour. I also believe the song will be replaced if they do a second US leg.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Online Ben_Jamin

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Day after the show and it was amazing. I would say it was better, performance and sound wise, here in The Moody Blues  Theater. The venue was smaller than I thought, and I like how close we were even in the balcony. The seats were pretty steep with small foot space so many of us sat down.

It was awesome how the people in front of us started swaying there phones for TMOLS and others catching on and doing the same. I have no idea if the bottom levels were doing it, but there were quite a lot of people doing it and it was nice.

Then for the encore break, the entire place lit up with peoples phone lights.

It was great, but also funny because JP made the same mishap as in the Mesa show, only on a different song. He forgot to change the patch for the end of TMOLS.

The band sounded great, and the production of the show was good. Although, being in the balcony meant getting lights shined in our eyes, but it was still awesome seeing the full production, which is vastly different from seeing the show close up to the band.

JLB also said he needed to go home and drew a blank for what to say.

Arch Echo was amazing and I think they're utilizing the availability of the click because their light show was fantastic and on point with their songs.

It was also funny getting to hear Mangini sing a bit after he threw a bottle cap and it was still on stage.

I was there too in the front row of mezzanine.  Epic show.  Even with already knowing the setlist and everything else to expect, it still blew me away.  They were all on fire and so locked in with each other.

The Mangini singing bit was a fun little extra treat.  Did I hear James say "I'm really drunk" at one point?  I thought so, but it was a little hard to understand some of his stage raps.  He was acting a little goofy and seemed disconnected at times, but I thought he sang fine for the voice he has today.

And even though I originally questioned The Count of Tuscany as an encore, I must say it made for an absolutely perfect ending to the evening.  The crowd roared when that intro started.  Man, I can't wait until they come back around again!

I thought he was taking to the people on the floor, asking them, "Are you already drunk?"and to stand still and stay in their seats.
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Offline erwinrafael

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People demanding an honest performance from James and then when he does and end up not hitting the notes, they start posting he is the weakest link in the band and make threads of who is the best replacement vocalist.

Offline nikatapi

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The real issue instead is should the backing tracks overpower/replace what is actually happening live? Because then it just doesn't feel like an honest performance anymore, even if that's just for a few seconds anyway. And again, full disclaimer: I don't have any issues with them using backing tracks at all, and I'd say most people here don't either. But that's not what this whole "incident" is about.

And as for James' response, I have nothing but love and respect for him and all he's done for the band in his more than 30 years with them, but he quite didn't address the real thing either. Is he lip-syncing? Maybe not, and he obviously said he isn't. But again, the real question here isn't if he's lip-syncing, but if he's "cheating" for a couple bars on that particular song and letting the piped in vocals handle it while he prepares for the next section. And that he didn't address at all, he just started cursing people who brought things up. And that's at best a fallacy.

Spot on. Agreed 100%. That's the main issue i have, i'm ok with James altering melodies (even the band downtuning some songs), but it feels a bit dishonest.

Offline Tomislav95

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It would be really cool if they did at least a tour without any backing tracks and even without click track. It's not that I really care if they're having some help or think they must not have but I'd really like to hear it, it would be different and (I think) very fun experience. JP could handle some back vocals just fine, he has a nice timbre even though he's not the best singer.

People demanding an honest performance from James and then when he does and end up not hitting the notes, they start posting he is the weakest link in the band and make threads of who is the best replacement vocalist.
Yeah maybe but it's not about that. Someone somewhere doesn't like any member of the band, I heard it all :lol They don't do it because of internet posters. It's probably because they want to sound better produced and richer live. Rush did the same with backing vocals :biggrin:
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Offline MoraWintersoul

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The real issue instead is should the backing tracks overpower/replace what is actually happening live? Because then it just doesn't feel like an honest performance anymore, even if that's just for a few seconds anyway. And again, full disclaimer: I don't have any issues with them using backing tracks at all, and I'd say most people here don't either. But that's not what this whole "incident" is about.
I didn't mean to cloud the discussion or anything by taking it in a wider backing tracks direction, I just think that this whole situation came as a logical conclusion of them being polished to the point that they will use every track from the album that they can't or won't try to reproduce live. If you need the sound to be extremely full because now it's a produced show, every single doubled vocal line from the albums is going to be in there, and it's going to be loud, and then who can say if it was a case of a too loud backing vocal tape overpowering James, or whether James was even singing, or whether he was willingly letting the track take over a bit more but then didn't calculate how little of him we'd be hearing at that volume, or any of the other options we discussed?

When you have backing tapes to that extent where (I haven't checked but it seems like it to me) close to every single harmony from the albums is present, but no humans singing other than James, this is what you get imo. If he was lip syncing and then corrected himself in the shows after, it's due to this mindset that crafted the show, that says we need perfection and polish and enhancements, because god forbid a workaround for James in that song can't be reproduced night after night and we get some inconsistency - whether it's, say, JP singing along with a much lower volume true backing vocal tape, oh, horror and inconsistency, or James taking over the whole section as it is on the album but then not hitting the "big" note in the end night after night due to being out of breath sometimes. Then when you contrast this overly cautious approach to this song with the rest of the set, where James does miss out on problem sections regularly, it gets even more mind-boggling.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 04:28:33 AM by MoraWintersoul »

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