Dream Theater: On The Backs Of Angels

On the backs of Angels, released on 29th June on youtube, is Dream Theater’s first ever release without founding member Mike Portnoy. It is also their first ever release with new drummer Mike Mangini and the first single from their upcoming album, A Dramatic Turn of Events. The single was released as a high-quality digital download on August 14th.

On the backs of Angels is a return to classic form for Dream Theater. It sounds like it could be a track from The Images & words era or Metropolis 2 era. Unlike their last few offerings which were more in the metal direction and less in the prog direction.

The entire band is beautifully showcased. The drummer is finally grooving with the band and not trying to forcefully take the spotlight. John Myung’s bass can finally be heard again. The song is carried by Jordan Rudess. He has tastefully integrated his patches with a grand acoustic piano sound.  This is all topped off by a solo John Petrucci. Everything in this song goes and fits so well. This could be the start of something epic.

Dream Theater
James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars, backing vocals and lyrics
Jordan Rudess – keyboards, continuum
John Myung – bass
Mike Mangini – drums, percussion

John Petrucci – production
Paul Northfield – engineering
Andy Wallace – mixing


Jamming and Lessons from Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess.

Jordan Rudess is a rarity. A rockstar virtuoso who happens to be a keyboardist. Not just an ordinary one but one for a band called Dream Theater.

Dream Theater are the kings of progressive rock.  They have a stellar line up which includes James LaBrie on Vocals, John Myung on Bass,  John Petrucci on Guitars and Mike Portnoy on Drums. Any other keyboardist would just be a dot compared to these guys. But Jordan Rudess is a special case. He is quite simply a magician with his fingers on the keys.

Jordan Rudess has been giving lessons for quite a while now. Even thou he offers keyboard lessons and I am a guitarist, I can clearly see now why he is so highly rated.

Jamplay and Jordan Rudess teamed up to offer lessons on Jamplay. I was lucky enough to attend one of these online sessions. The sessions involved us students posting question to Jordan, which he would answer back by video conferencing. Seeing Jordan Rudess play is seeing a master at work. This guy has the gear and the talent. For someone as good as he is, he is very humble and nice as well. He is a great teacher, explain everything in a very simple and precise way.

Jordan was playing on his Korg OASYS, which let me tell you, is a magnificent beast. That thing has a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 CPU and up till 2GB of RAM.

I was lucky enough to have my question answered by Jordan, which was incidentally the first question he answered.  I asked him about practice routines. He replied that was a very good question. He went on to say that practice was very important and gave some tips on practicing.

After that we had a little jam session where Jordan would play notes on his keyboard and we at home jammed along. Quite not your average jam session, but with video conferencing, the sky is the limit.
Even thou we only heard what we and Jordan played, it was simply unbelievable.

Its not often that you get to meet your heroes who inspire you to do what you do. Far less, that your hero is even bigger than you dreamed.

Jordan Rudess is far far bigger than you can ever imagine.