Review Summary: A great live performance as we'd expect from DT - but if you are blessed with the gift of sight, buy Live Scenes From New York instead.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
I thought I'd come back for a real review of this DVD performance, since my previous comment about it was somewhat biased and writ in a fit of fury. Here's a more level-headed approach to this concert:
For those who have listened to Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory, you'll pretty much agree that it's one hell of an album. Unfortunately, this DVD just falls short of doing justice to that magnificent piece of art in a visual aspect. Dream Theater never really have been one for stage presence, so obviously there has to be additional elements added to the performance to really make it a great experience - in this instance, they brought the story behind SFAM to life, including the hypnotist in Regression, Fatal Tragedy and Finally Free, the various footage of film following the plot, which is especially gripping in the latter. However, for some unfathomable reason, the production of the DVD seemed like it was given to a child on a sugar rush - special effects are thrown in ad nauseum, unnecessary and at worst almost bringing me to the point of seizure. The effects just kill the performance, and has pretty much brought me to the point of resenting watching it again to do this review.
On the brighter side; what a fantastic performance by the band alone! Albeit LaBrie's voice is mostly out of key and quite cringe-inducing, there are a few, rare occasions where he hits it so perfectly that it redeems the past half hour of mediocrity - I am of course talking about the harmony between LaBrie and Portnoy in the second chorus of Home. As for the instrumentation, Dream Theater go above and beyond the call of duty; they somehow bend the laws of physics and exceed what they played on the studio album, Beyond This Life especially. I could spend all day writing about how accomplished DT are as musicians technicality-wise, but you'd probably know that by now, so I won't bother.
Based on the visual and audio aspects of the performance, taking into account the special effects and LaBrie's inconstant voice, Dream Theater's performance is astounding. But there is just one, single thing that irks me the most - I listened to Live Scenes From New York before watching this. Live Scenes has three times the live material and cuts out the frankly poor visual performance; this DVD will always be in Live Scene's shadow, and I promised myself I wouldn't give this any higher than a 3. But then I saw something amazing - Jordan Rudess with hair.
Overall - 3.5, an amazing performance hindered by poor video editing. I'd rather just listen to Live Scenes From New York.