Dream Theater’s DreamSonic : June 17, 2023 @ Texas Trust CU Theater in Grand Prairie, Tx

The inaugural run of DreamSonic, the summer’s ultimate progressive metal music festival, is now underway and several dates in. The festival is being hosted and headlined by Dream Theater with support coming from Devin Townsend and Animals as Leaders.

Fresh off the opening night in Cedar Park, Texas, the tour rolled into Grand Prairie’s Texas Trust CU Theater. It was day two of the 26 – date tour.

Dream Theater are no strangers to the venue as they have graced this stage in the past. Vocalist James LaBrie mentioned to the crowd the venue seems to have a different name each time they play the building. 

For the progmetal fans, DreamSonic is an ideal gathering of like minded fans and musicians. It’s more of a large family affair when compared to other tours. Time slots for the supports are very generous, especially for Animals as Leaders, the first of the three acts. 

The Washington D.C. based trio were granted a 50-minute time slot and they utilized every second with pure instrumental rock. Their set wasn’t typical of an opening band of three bands. As their set progressed, the usage of lights increased and their sound remained well rounded and mixed throughout the 50-minutes.

Animals as Leaders on stage during their set. Photo by Brian McLean

The band threw down prog rhythms that earned them a standing ovation at the set’s end. It can be said, Animals as Leaders are truly a positive addition to the DreamSonic tour.

Devin Townsend and his unique personality and musical style followed. Townsend has always been entertaining with his music and odd on-stage banters with the crowd.

The Vancouver resident is touring in support of his latest solo effort titled Lightwork through his own label, Hevy Devy Records.

Like Animals as Leaders, Devin Townsend was allotted a 50-minute set as well. Townsend utilized “Lightworker” to open his over the top entertaining set. Townsend hasn’t lost a step with his on-stage sense of humor and animated personality. The crowd reciprocated with shouts back to Townsend. It was all in great fun. 

Unlike Animals as Leaders, Townsend had access to the LCD screen behind the band where an octopus was present. The set was also more illuminated with lights providing plenty of colorful visuals.

Devin Townsend during his set Saturday night at Texas Trust CU Theater in Grand Prairie.
Photo by Brian McLean

The final song of Townsend’s set saw all members wearing large, oversized, orange foam cowboy hats. Townsend’s hat even had a set of horns. The color of the hats probably related to the University of Texas Longhorns in Austin, the major city near Cedar Park.

Townsend never disappoints once his set is over.

After a standard set change, the hosts of DreamSonic took to the stage with “The Alien” from their 2021 release, A View from the Top of the World. Accompanying the band from the start were non-stop computer generated animations. 

Dream Theater on stage during their show at the Texas Trust CU Theater in Grand Prairie.
Photo by Brian McLean

The graphics for each song in Dream Theater’s set gave the fans visual journeys along with the sonic experience.

Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie. Photo by Brian McLean

For their set, Dream Theater leaned on their latest release as well as others. There was material from Awake, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Images and Words, Black Clouds and Silver Linings

“Act II: Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On” bought the night to a close. Devin Townsend and Animals as Leaders joined Dream Theater on stage for the final song.

With this first edition of DreamSonic in motion, it’s safe to say that Dream Theater have tapped into something for the progmetal fans. A musical gathering unique to those fans. Fans should anticipate more DreamSonic adventures in future summers.