Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dream Theater is a sheer delight

The new single by well-known cover band, Dream Theater, is actually three songs segued together; kinda like how Queen used to fade their songs into each other on the early albums.

Wait a minute, their new single is the three-song set from side two of Sheer Heart Attack:
- Tenement Funster
- Flick of the Wrist
- Lily of the Valley

After my first listen, a few things came to mind:

1) Wow, these guys do a great job. They’ve retained each song’s integrity but have added an edger quality throughout the eight minute opus.
2) Now I know that Roger was talking about “purple shoes” (I had no idea what he was saying on the original Tenement Funster intro).
3) Their lead singer doesn’t quite capture the mood and energy that Freddie and Roger provided, although they tried really hard from the sound of it.
4) This three-song set is particularly striking in its story-telling and musical brilliance. I would like to know what Dream Theater fans unaware of Queen’s originals think of the single? Would they take a listen to the SHA versions just to compare?
5) The guitar work isn’t quite as complex and textured as Brian's, but the subtle differences in the DT version makes up for it in power and style.
6) I’m divided on the whole cover band idea . . . they’re essentially piggybacking on the success of another band without coming up with anything original of their own. BUT I’m drawn to the cover versions because it forces me to see the songs in a different light, through the lens of other musicians/fans.

Bottom line: this is one of the better covers of Queen’s material and credit should be given for DT's bravery in choosing older and lesser known songs.

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