Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) Interview

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Jordan Rudess, Dream Theater‘s keyboard genius, talks about the band’s current tour, how they choose the setlist, his keyboard setup, recent solo albums, his latest music apps and upcoming plans for the band.

Below is an excerpt.  For a full audio interview click the link below or download the iTunes podcast.


The reviews of the tour have been great. How has the tour been so far?

There’s a lot to report about the tour. The fact that we’re doing the “Evening With” thing, that’s been a long time coming. Dream Theater hadn’t done that in a while. There are reasons we haven’t done it. Number 1, it’s a whole lot of work, tiring. It’s in many ways easier to take out another band. But in this particular case we felt like the demand from the promoters and our audience themselves was so strong to have an Evening with show from us that we really couldn’t deny it. We’re trying to give people what they want and what would make sense form a business point of view as well. So embarking on this was a lot of work to pull all the music together, but also when you’re doing that kind of show, in our case, we really wanted to make it an experience. So we ended up putting a lot of extra time and thought and finances behind putting together the biggest show that Dream Theater’s ever done.

How about the decision to do a portion of Awake and Scenes From a Memory this time on the tour, was that a no-brainer or what was the decision making there like?

Definitely wasn’t a no-brainer as far as the setlist goes. The setlists are really considered very seriously. We’re all ears as far as listening to our advisors, fans, we do research to figure what works and makes a nice flow for the evening. That was carefully constructed. And that’s the reason we’re taking this setlist around the world. It’s very much like going to see a Broadway show or something where it’s tight and together. Our lighting people and our video people all know their cues and our staging, everything that will work.

It’s a really long show. Things have changed in recent years from the perspective of how we operate. We prefer to come into a concert situation and have everything really dialed so its as smooth as can be and effective and powerful as can be, and that’s what I think we are offering with our show.

What are the highlights for you personally, either a song or a moment on the tour?

Song-wise, I would say it’s really fun to play Illuminations from the new album. It feels really large and powerful and it’s at a good point in the show. Its right before we come back to play some of the “Scenes” stuff. It gives a bold statement about where the band is these days. It’s got a very cool middle section, which is orchestral. We had this wonderful movie made by an artist who did some beautiful animation work. It’s a little break actually for us; the movie plays, the orchestral music plays and than we hit it again. Touring-wise, we played a really exciting show up in Boston at the Boston Opera house with the Berklee College of Music. That was filmed and should be coming out as a DVD.

Any chance for more US shows following the Europe run?

Maybe, there are some areas we didn’t cover so it’s possible but I haven’t heard.

Any plans yet for a new Dream Theater record and what are the plans moving forward?

We have a bunch more touring to do. We have a break and then we tour some more and then we’ll tour some more which will lead us to the New Year. And then Im sure, although we haven’t really made a plan yet, we will get back and start working on another record. We haven’t really spent much time writing because we are so busy on the road. But we’ll get there.

For more check out the full audio interview!

Also, check out The Prog Report’s interview with James Labrie.

Thanks to Rick Triana for the photo.


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