Petrucci, Portnoy and LaRue rock Chill Crowd at Town Ballroom

Sunday, October 9th brought progressive metal heavyweights to Buffalo. John Petrucci, considered by many as the greatest guitarist of his generation, has just released his first solo effort in 15 years, Terminal Velocity. For the first time in 12 years, he is joined by his longtime musical collaborator, one of his closest friends, and undoubtedly one of the greatest drummers on the planet, the incomparable Mike Portnoy. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, moments like this don’t come around all that often, and for longtime fans of Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment, this moment could not have come soon enough. If you’re reading this review because you’re wondering if JP and MP were able to recapture their storied musical chemistry, catalogued on over a dozen classic Prog Metal albums, then let me make it clear that they did indeed—and then some. Dave LaRue joins them on bass for the tour. He has played many times with JP and MP on past G3 tours.

What is special about this tour is their three wives are in the band Meanstreak, opening for Petrucci and company every night. Formed in 1985, Rena Petrucci is on lead guitar, Marlene Portnoy is on rhythm guitar, and their bassist Martins Myung is the wife of John Myung who plays bass in Dream Theater. The band also consists of singer Bettina France and drummer Yael Rallis.

The atmosphere of the show had a very calming presence to many fans in attendance. The floor of Town Ballroom which is usually standing only, had 40 chairs for fans to watch the show, while the rest of the upper level was standing room only. Fans watched with their jaws dropped when Rena Petrucci shredded solos just as well as her husband John Petrucci does. It was an amazing sight to see for sure.

Rena Petrucci

Meanstreak’s set was 45 minutes in length where they played eight songs from the album released in 1988 titled Roadkill.


John Petrucci

After a 30 minute changeover, John Petrucci and company took the stage to the Sopranos theme music. The crowd screamed intensely as the band took the stage. Mike Portnoy counted off the title track “Terminal Velocity” and that went into “The Happy Song.” John Petrucci then spoke to the crowd and said “How about that number 17?,” referencing Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and their big win earlier in the day. All of the fans cheered in excitement for the local connection.

Mike Portnoy

“Jaws of Life” was next on the setlist. From his original album Suspended Animation. This song is a nonoffensive and rather straight-beat opener that at least lets unsuspecting listeners know what kind of guitar trio this is; the players are pros. Other memorable songs played were “Damage Control” and encore “Glassgow Kiss.”

Dave LaRue

Shredding and art tend to be mutually exclusive by nature, since too many chord crunchers refuse to let the music be more important than they are. It often doesn’t help when a member of a well-known group undertakes a solo project, since standing out becomes even more urgent. John Petrucci avoids the land mines and delivers more depth than many listeners will likely appreciate.

Setlist: Terminal Velocity, The Happy Song, Jaws of Life, The Oddfather, Gemini, Out of the Blue, Tunnel Vison, Damage Control, Snake in the Boot, Temple of Ciracida

John Petrucci’s 2022 North American Tour Dates:
10/13 – New York, NY @ Town Hall
10/14 – Glenside, PA @ The Keswick Theatre
10/15 – Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theater
10/17 – Richmond, VA @ The National
10/19 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
10/20 – Nashville, TN @ CMA Theater
10/21 – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Music Hall
10/22 – Clearwater, FL @ Capitol Theatre
10/23 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Café
10/26 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
10/27 – San Antonio, TX @ Charline McCombs Empire Theatre
10/28 – Houston, TX @ Stafford Centre
10/29 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theatre
10/30 – Dallas, TX @ Factory Deep Ellum
11/02 – Phoenix, AZ @ Celebrity Theater
11/03 – San Diego, CA @ The Magnolia
11/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ace Hotel
11/05 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
11/07 – San Francisco, CA @ Palace of Fine Arts
11/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ Pantages Theatre
11/13 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic
11/14 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
11/16 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
11/17 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall

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