Jordan Rudess turned me on to Haken. I knew them by name and reputation but I can recall have a dark period on prog where I was more exploring extreme metal for a few years and during this time, Haken appeared on Ken Golden’s Sensory Label (once again). It seems like so many bands make the journey from Sensory to Inside Out Music (just like Leprous). Aquarius was the album on Sensory that got a lot of attention.
But Jordan turned me on to their latest album at the time, The Mountain, which is an absolutely perfect prog concept album. They got the blessing from Dream Theater early on and Mike Portnoy has since taken them out on the road for his Shattered Kingdom project (minus the wonderful Raymond Hearne). Haken’s album, Affinity, was on my top 5 for 2016. Pure prog gold.
FreqsFact: Guitarist Charlie Griffiths and I have a very similar Dream Theater story from when we were both back in college. You can ask him about his, but its pretty much the same, except that his story surrounded the storied Ronnie Scott gig in London and mine surrounded the Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory show at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. It was 2000, and I had just moved to New York City to start studying at the School of Visual Arts. I was sitting in the first year orientation seminar and a guy sitting in front of me had a hat on backwards. The hat was a Falling Into Infinity (Dream Theater’s fourth LP) baseball cap. At that moment, I was so excited to have just moved to NYC where I knew noone and here is a Dream Theater fan sitting in front of me! So of course I struck up a conversation with him. Shortly in, he asked if I had already gotten tickets for tomorrow nights DT concert at Roseland Ballroom. They were gonna play Scenes from a Memory (my favorite album of all time) all the way through. What?! Where do I get tickets? At Irving Plaza in Gramercy. I didn’t know where that was, but I ran out of the building leaving my school orientation behind. This would be my first chance to see Dream Theater, a band I had now been a massive fan of for 6 years. I managed to get a ticket and they would record a DVD at that show. It was the greatest concert of my life. Here’s a shot of me in the crowd during the outro solo of Spirit Carries On (thinner, less facial hair…I was 20 years old!)