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Dream Theater 

Sunday, March 19, at the Agora Theater.

Prog-metal's Dream Theater could be the heir apparent to Rush's throne. Its latest release, Octavarium, finds the band members testing their songwriting skills with shorter pieces, rather than the endless intricate jams the group is known for. "We kind of did that formula to death," says drummer Mike Portnoy. "So we wanted to challenge ourselves this time. There are three or four songs on the album that are very short and concise, but are still Dream Theater."

Diehard fans, rest assured: Octavarium's title track clocks in at an astonishing 24 minutes, putting it up there with the group's other epic, A Change of Seasons. This tour marks the band's 20th anniversary. Billed as An Evening With Dream Theater, the shows on this tour are three hours long, with no opening act. The band will play two sets, spanning its entire career, though the group doesn't draw up a set list until shortly before each night's show. But given its penchant for keeping its fans -- a loyal crew known as "Ytse Jammers" -- on their toes, the set should be full of surprises.

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