Metal Progressive Guitarist John Petrucci comes to Celebrity Theatre

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John Petrucci Feat. Mike Portnoy & Dave Larue concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022

Review by Kevin Kuhlman
Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Celebrity Theatre (https://celebritytheatre.com/ )
Date:  November 2nd, 2022

John Petrucci Feat. Mike Portnoy & Dave Larue concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022
John Petrucci Feat. Mike Portnoy & Dave Larue concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022

John Petrucci has returned to touring as a solo performer for the first time since the G3 tour in 2018, this time with new music and an old friend.

The tour marks a reunion of Petrucci and former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy.  Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2010 after founding the band with Petrucci 25 years earlier.  The two have seemingly repaired their strained relationship, recording two albums together in 2021’s Liquid Tension Experiment 3 and Petrucci’s 2020 solo album Terminal Velocity.  However, this tour marks the first time in 12 years that the pair have performed together live, and much like riding a bike, it seems the two have not lost an ounce of chemistry.  As a longtime Dream Theater fan, the sight of Petrucci and Portnoy on stage together again was a heartwarming sight and worth the price of admission all on its own.

John Petrucci Feat. Mike Portnoy & Dave Larue concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022

Joining Petrucci and Portnoy for the evening was long time Petrucci collaborator Dave LaRue on bass – LaRue has played on both of Petrucci’s albums and has been Petrucci’s go-to bass player for all of his touring as a solo act.  The songs may have been mostly new, but the show was reminiscent of the last time I saw this same trio back at the G3 tour in 2007.  Portnoy was doing similar tricks behind the kit – this time playfully tossing his sticks back and forth with a tech mid-song – and the show was rife with improvisations and solo sections not just for Petrucci but for LaRue and Portnoy as well.  Everything felt like nothing had happened between the three band members over the past decade-and-change.  All felt right in the world.

John Petrucci Feat. Mike Portnoy & Dave Larue concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022

Highlights of the show include the delightful, appropriately titled “Happy Song” which is an upbeat, bouncy tune that features progressions and melodies that would feel right at home in a pop song.  Similarly, “Snake in my Boot” is practically an arena rock anthem with a clap-along beat (which Petrucci and Portnoy led the crowd in) and blues rock-y guitar hooks.  Closing the show was Petrucci’s signature song off his first album, Suspended Animation, “Glasgow Kiss,” featuring a Celtic-inspired central riff and lead guitar lines that rank amongst the best Petrucci has written in his 37-year career.

You can check out John Petrucci on his website and Facebook page.
Website:  https://johnpetrucci.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/johnpetrucciFB/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxtPQJWOWW1PHN7_h-inN5Q


Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved


John Petrucci’s Setlist
Terminal Velocity
The Happy Song
Jaws of Life
The Oddfather
Gemini
Out of the Blue
Tunnel Vision
Damage Control
Snake in my Boot
Temple of Circadia
Glasgow Kiss



Meanstreak

Meanstreak at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on November 2st, 2022

Petrucci and Portnoy were not the only reunion of the evening, as the 90s all-female metal band Meanstreak opened the show in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their only album, 1992’s Roadkill.  The band has not performed together for nearly that same amount of time, and made for a hell of an opening act – bringing a straightforward, thrash metal sound to help prepare the audience for a night of instrumental music.  The band is made up of Rena Sands (John Petrucci’s wife) and Marlene Portnoy (Mike Portnoy’s wife) on guitar, Martens Myung (Dream Theater bassist John Myung’s wife), Yael Rallis on drums and Bettina France on vocals.

This was another band that I’ve subsequently added to my listening rotation in the days following the show.  The five-piece band put on a killer set, playing fast, heavy music – including multiple times where Rallis’s mighty, violent drumming caused damage to her kit – featuring an old school brand of straightforward heavy metal.  Roadkill is an exceptional album, and France sounds as good in 2022 as she did back in 1992.  During the show the band announced that they have an EP coming soon, marking their first recorded work since the early 90s, and if it’s half as good as the band’s performance at this show it’ll be worth the wait.

You can check out Meanstreak on their website and Facebook page.
Website:  https://meanstreakofficial.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meanstreakband/


Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved


Meanstreak Setlist:
Giant Speaks
Rubberneck
Nostradamus
Snake Pit
The Congregation
Oh Father
Roadkill
The Dark Gift

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