|UserSoundoffs 32Album Ratings 452Objectivity 72%Last Active 06-06-13 11:24 amJoined 05-30-12Forum Posts 0Review Comments 11
|The Many Faces of Dream Theater, Pt.2|
The technically proficient guitar playing of John Petrucci, virtuoso talents of drummer Mike Portnoy and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, and calculated playing style of bassist John Myung have elevated Dream Theater to the upper echelons of contemporary heavy metal. While its lineup has continuously evolved (Mike Mangini replaced Portnoy in 2011 following a much-publicized audition), the Boston-based quintet has consistently delivered sharp-edged music. Dream Theater is known for its high-energy concert performances. They have 12 albums, an extended play, and various live CD's/DVD's - a stunning feat. However, the band has become a topic of hot debate after each album, and the band-members can be very hit or miss at times, especially the singing style of James LaBrie. Now that I got the albums and EP out of the way, here is my personal unbiased ranking of all the DVD's (which consist of live material, of course!) Again, Happy 30th, Dream Theater!!
Live at Budokan
Dream Theater's second filmed appearance in Japan since 1993 may very well be the best thing they ever put out, and for many good reasons. It showcases their more metallic side (Train of Thought and Six Degrees are the main focus), and illustrates that Portnoy's filmmaking skills have finally caught up with his drumming and lyrical skills. The band shows more power and chemistry here than any of their previous concerts - even their softer moments have bite. The only criticism I have would be James LaBrie's uneven vocal performance. But when the music around him is this good, why am I complaining?!?!
Dream Theater gives another powerhouse performance here in this 2006 film, shot at the renowned Radio City Music Hall in NYC. The film, entitled "Score", represented their 20th anniversary, and not only closed the Octavarium tour in grand fashion, but also shows a more melodic side of the band. It is a perfect companion piece to their metal-minded "Live At Budokan". James's vocals are much improved, the band's still playing their heart out, and their emphasis on songwriting is a breath of fresh air. Look for an eclectic mix of new and old cuts. It's great to hear orchestra-backed versions of "Metropolis pt. 1", "Sacrificed Sons" and the whole "Six Degrees" suite. The mix is stellar. Between this and Opeth's 2010 London performance, I can't tell which is better because they're both fucking excellent!
Live Scenes from New York
Playing all the tracks from "Metropolis, pt. 2" in chronological order?? Damn! Let's not forget their once-in-a-lifetime performance of the classic "A Change of Seasons" and some other hits. I wish the sound mix had been better, but the visuals and passionate performances compensate.
Breaking the Fourth Wall
With their 30th birthday looming, Dream Theater releases another film. This one, filmed back in April at the Boston Opera House, has more in common with Score than their previous film (both feature a local orchestra at the end). It features a good chunk of material from their self-titled 12th LP, and also the second half of their now-classic "Awake" album. Did I forget the epic finale is made of choice cuts from "Metropolis, pt. 2"?? As always, there's a good range of diversity and even stronger musicianship (for example, Mangini steals the show during "Enigma Machine", and the band's take on "Space-Dye Vest" would make Kevin Moore proud). However, the sound mix is uneven like always (Bass is flat and lacks power, while vocals, drums, guitars and symphonic elements up front). Some of it may have to do with the venue's acoustics, while others have blamed Richard Chycki's mix job. Who knows? I still recommend this film to DT fans and newcomers alike, but next time out, the band may want to dial Steven Wilson and his technical department.
Live at Luna Park
The band's first concert film with Mike Mangini was filmed a mere two years ago, and represents their "Dramatic Turn Of Events" tour. Like the album itself, this film drew a line in the sand. Some fans decried the album for its so-so sound mix and lack of Portnoy, while others like myself have embraced the balance between the melodic songwriting and mind-juggling improv jams. I will agree about the sound mix, but all other aspects are good. Like always, the band gives it their all (Mangini defies all expectations for this DT fan). And since the concert as filmed over the course of two nights, this allows for their most diverse & extravagant setlist since their classic Radio City performance in '06. Key highlights include "The Root of All Evil", "Bridges in the Sky", "6:00", "Silent Man", and "A Fortune in Lies" to name a few.
Images and Words: Live in Tokyo
Their first concert film, and one of their weakest (only their first two albums are represented). But at the same time, it's worth a look if you wanna know what their first taste of fame is like.
5 Years in a LIVEtime
Another early concert film from Dream Theater, but this time it's forgettable. James' vocal performance is bad, but Portnoy and Petrucci pull together. The songs aren't bad, but they lack the thick layer of depth that was present in the studio.
Chaos in Motion
Dream Theater hits rock bottom with this well-meaning, but poorly executed enterprise that also boasts a sluggish pace, a so-so setlist and sub-par performances. Portnoy's vocals on "Take the Time" are out of place, and so are the frequent improv jams in "Surrounded". And don't get me started on their butchering of "Scarred"! I will, however, give them credit for their bitchin' performance of "In The Presence Of Enemies" in its entirety - that was the lone bright spot of this package.
|Live at Budokan was quality. i don't think they'll ever reach that level live again|
|It's an amazing live album, but to be honest, the visuals for Live Scenes sucked ass|
|Not a DT fan at all. Can't stand the vocals. |
|Score is my favorite DT live album; the tracklist isn't perfect but it has Raise the Knife so it wons for
me. I haven't heard Breaking the Fourth Wall yet, but the tracklist seems pretty great. It's cool to see a
lot of songs from Awake, most of that album must sound great live. |
|I quite liked how they used to change up their set gig after gig and made each one very different to one another, generally speaking. Shame they don't do that anymore|
|Yeah, that's in part what made them such a great live band. I don't dig much of their stuff anymore, but their shows are still awesome nonetheless. I missed them last year though|
|I remember one year for their SC tour (i think), they randomly played the entirety of I&W at newcastle just because they felt like it.|
|Budokan was awesome indeed.|
|Beyond this life and the instrumedley for budokan are ace|
|Dam I forgot how many DVD's they've released, cool list. 7 would be higher for me, some cool performances on
there. Performance wise I think Score is their most tight, but the Budokan setlist is the best. And come on
Luna park is way worse than Chaos in motion|