Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Highlights 2008 - KHALLICE and DREAM THEATER in Rio!
(you can use "read more" link to see the complete post)

KHALLICE AND DREAM THEATER in Rio de Janeiro, March 2008
Originally written by MARCELO BARBOSA for Russian ROCKCOR magazine

It was January 31st... We couldn’t believe the message Mike Portnoy had just posted. Khallice was one of the bands selected to open for Dream Theater in Rio de Janeiro! The flow of emotion was just overwhelming. I called the band members, feeling like I was in heaven.
The guys went crazy. It was funny, for some of us it was difficult to beleive the information that we were actually opening for Dream Theater!
Every one of us entered in a state of uncontrollable joy. The deal was to go for a bar, or a pub, and celebrate our asses off! At the bar, we thought “Man, how are we gonna go to the show, without spending too much? Because we gotta take all of our equipment, amplifiers, drums, keyboards. That will be expensive, because of the weight excess in an airplane”.
Then we all came to the idea: “Let’s prepare an excursion! It will be awesome. We can reserve 10 places in the bus for the band and the crew, and the rest we can open for fans of Khallice and Dream Theater. I bet it’s gonna be a hell of a great trip”.
The rehearsals for the show were great! We were happy and anxious at the same time. We had rehearsed for 2 weeks, every day, from 9pm to 12am. We all played with big smiles on our faces, knowing that we were about to have a real great time.
And it was that. We were able to rent a very good bus, double decker, very comfortable. It was 750 miles, or 1200 km journey from Brasilia, our city and the capital of Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is a city on the South East area of our country. It’s a coaster city with beautiful beaches and a hell of a hot weather.
The trip took 18 hours long. Everyone was extremely happy, listening to DT in the bus, singing along. It was fantastic mood!
We arrived to Rio de Janeiro a couple of hours past noon. It was very hot, and the city had a different felling in the air, like something big was going to happen. Every one of us could feel that. It was really good, a great atmosphere.
We entered to set our things up and saw the whole place empty, with just some guys from the venue’s staff wondering around. It’s very intriguing how a place can be dead and then alive, from a matter of minutes.
Soon later we hit the stage for the soundcheck . While we were at it, TJ, Dream Theater’s tour manager said “Ok guys, at 20:15 DT will go to your dressing room, to meet you guys”. Excellent! We were gonna meet them!
We went back to our dressing room and stayed there, everyone were doing his stuff, warming, talking, in a very relaxed mood. Then…. “Knock knock knock. Hellooo”... It was Mike Portnoy. He began to enter the dressing room, then Petrucci, Rudess, Labrie and Myung. There they were, Dream Theater, in front of us... Khallice went full circle.
It was funny, the band freezed in front of them. Silence, DT staring at us, and Khallice staring at them. Mike broke the silence asking if I was Michel’s brother. And then the ice melt, and we began to chat. We stayed there, talking for a few minutes until they had to leave.
Mike said to us “Ok guys, have a great show, don’t be nervous, and have fun, because that’s the reason we are all here for”. We’ll never forget those words.
We went to the show ready to rock the house. We hit the stage, and the crowd was insane! We played for 4500 or 5000 people. They were all singing our songs, jumping, asking for songs, shouting our names. What a freaking great audience! What a rock and peace mood! We had never felt so great on the stage like that day. We played 6 songs mixing hits from “The Journey” and new songs from our new EP entitled “Inside Your Head”.
The making of our new EP was very interesting. We had recorded the drum, the bass, the guitar tracks for the upcoming full length album in mid August of 2007. When we knew that we were selected to open for Dream Theater, we rushed to finish 5 of those tracks, to release this EP. We thought it could be the perfect opportunity to promote our work, and give a little taste of what’s to come. We had extremely little time to record the guitar and vocal parts, and even more, we still had to mix and master the EP. Everything in 2 weeks! Even so, the result turned out very satisfying to us.
We made 1000 copies of this EP and gave away, for free, to the first 1000 headbangers waiting to enter the venue.
The reception of the new songs was incredible for us. The crowd knew a lot of the lyrics, and really seemed to enjoy the entire show. We were done after 30 or 40 minutes.
Dream Theater show was a more atmospheric show, with more mid/slow tempo songs. It was a very prog show, in the sense of the word, very hypnotic. They conducted very well the mood of the songs, and the set list contributed a lot to it. For the hardcore fan the show might have been a little slow but for us, musicians, it was a perfect demonstration of technique, felling and musicianship.
Comparing to the show DT made here in Brazil in 2005, this 2008 show was less varied and heavily based on their new album "Systematic Chaos". They played almost the entire album, with the exception of Prophets of War and The Ministry of Lost Souls. We missed some songs from Awake and Scenes from a Memory. The presence of Lines in the Sand was fantastic, along with the new version of Surrounded, entitled "Surrounded 2007".
Dream Theater in this tour seemed to be even more relaxed but it was with great stage presence. Those who say that DT is a very static band , just based in technique without feelings, would have really changed their minds watching this show. It was a very moody show, not based in heaviness, much more based in mid/slow tempos songs and feeling. We could see all of this when they played Lines in the Sand, Surrounded 2007 and Misunderstood.
Jordan Rudess used a mobile keyboard, which was a great welcoming addition to the show, because that way he could go very close to the audience, rocking like never before!
Very funny thing happened when Mike Portnoy's drum tech changed a cymbal in the middle of one song, and Mike wouldn't let him replace the cymbal correctly, because he began to use just that crash, making fun of him!
We went back home fully realized, everything worked out perfectly, there were no slow downs, no worries, no argues, nothing. Khallice was treated with enormous respect, coming from DT and their staff. That day we were all musicians, with no restrictions.
The whole experience was wonderful, and we really hope that this will open doors to great new opportunities for Khallice. We can’t wait to make people have more access to our music, that is made with extreme passion and sincerity!

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