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Dream Theater, and Defiance Through Music 

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I woke up Wednesday feeling a little anxious and depressed. As a bi-racial gay man, the future of my civil liberties seemed a little dim and unclear on account of the outcome of this presidential election. I tried not to let it affect me too much as I, one, can’t predict the future and, two, didn’t want the media to dictate how I was going to feel. Scrolling through my emails I was reminded that I had a ticket to see the prog-metal band Dream Theatre. “So Sick!” I exclaimed to myself as I immediately started to feel a little better about life as an American. “At least I get to see this amazing band before the world ends."

As I walked through the doors of The Tobin Center, I was ushered into a sea of black shirts, long hair, and an overall vibe of eighties metal-ness. Dream Theater was already underway. The prog-rock clamor of guitars, drums and piano weave around singer James Labrie’s siren falsetto: a war-cry echoing through the room as massive screens behind the band begin to relay the tale of defiance in dystopian future America. Their new concept album, The Astonishing, tells the story of The Ravenskill Rebel militia and their efforts to defy The Great Northern Empire of The Americas using the magical power of music (lol, what?). I realized about three songs in that they were about to shred through the entire thirty-four track opus.

After pulling us through almost three hours of power ballads, thrash metal and progressive rock, the Boston prog-gods consummated the evening with a few songs from albums past. One song in particular sticks out, “The Spirit Carries On” from Metropolis 2: Scenes from a memory. The lyrics go, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go when we die? What lies beyond and what lies before? Is anything certain in life?”

I immediately thought about the election, the uncertainty of life in general and somehow, in the midst of this metal show, I felt ok with not being in control; with not knowing the outcome of Donald Trump’s presidency or how directly affected I may be. I sighed in relief and cheered as the band took a bow and I’m grateful that for a few hours, I wasn’t thinking about politics, or how many Trump supporters were in that room with me. I was just thinking about rocking out to a band that I’ve been a fan of since I was a freshman in high school.

So I guess, the power of music is magical. Thanks for the reminder Dream Theater. I really needed that this week.

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