A critique by Bachar Sawaya on the Dream Theater cover night by Turbulence on the 4th of June, 2016 in Metro Al Madina.

In an age where the music industry is defined by showmanship rather than musicality, by looks rather than musical performance, by released moves and acts rather than hours of rehearsing at home on the instrument, it would seem that a dark age is but to get even darker.

In a dark street in Hamra, in a place underground, a glimmer of light shines as the local band Turbulence make their fourth Dream Theater dedication night. It is very true that I am the worst person to be chosen to do this review, but being the stubborn head that I am, I took the challenge. I was trained to be a showman, an entertainer, where I spent the bigger half of six years working in weddings and private events, add to that the lack of Progressive Metal knowledge needed to do this critique. In addition, I was dull of self-confidence that I am able to do a well-done job.

As I arrived to Metro Al Madina, I waited impatiently to see the show, and when the time came, I realized that the show was actually pushed back forty-five minutes, something that is very natural here in Lebanon. A ticket in hand and a stamp on the fist, I made my way to the perfect spot, right in the middle where I can see everything and hear clearly. A few minutes later, and the show began. My journey through a Dream Theater night began, and what a journey it was. Syncopated bars, odd rhythms, sweeping solos, mind-blowing riffs, executed to the minutest of details to the part that I had to ask myself: where does Dream Theater end and Turbulence begin? I believe that none can tell because those guys did more than a job well done; in my opinion, they redefined the concept of cover performances to “if it doesn’t sound better, then the original is not good”. But I have rather an open question: why is this band still performing cover songs when they have already an original album out, and their musical and compositional capabilities are very high? Is their manager/sponsor that can support this young talent and take it to a higher place, both on the music aspect and on the performance level, a person that can open opportunities and organize more frequent local and abroad events? The answer to these questions is a definite NO, because we have become more interested in how the musician looks like and how sexy their performance was, we are more interested in what type of food they are serving next when this local band is playing, we are more interested in our trivial conversations rather than actually listening to the music being played…

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During this night when I watched Turbulence, I realized that there are musicians who are not willing to sacrifice music for the thing they love. Turbulence showed me that showmanship means nothing when musicality and technique kick in. Turbulence gave me hope that I can still practice the style that I like even if that meant just a few people will come to watch me. Turbulence that night made me dream.

They made me dream of a musical community worthy of musicality. They made me dream of a time when every band may have a manager that can give them the opportunity to reach places they dream about. They made me dream of pure music, no lights, no visual effects.

They made me dream of a theater able to encompass all this at an affordable price. They made me dream that even in this turbulent and dark present, a glimmer of light can be found, and I found it on a dark road in Hamra, in a place underground, on the 4th of June, while watching Turbulence play a dedication night to Dream Theater.

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Pictures by Nancy Jdid

-Bachar Sawaya

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