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Dream Theater- Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Rhino // Unrated // August 29, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted August 25, 2006 | E-mail the Author
An interesting eclectic heavy metal band, Dream Theater has attained a considerable cult status due in large part to the precise, proficient guitar work of John Petrucci. Originally named Majesty and changing it's name in 1987, this Long Island based group has seen many, many lineup changes over the course of 20 years. What has been a constant is their smart, sharp-edged music, and a renown for putting on incredible live performances. They've released several live albums throughout the course of their history-"Live At The Marquee", a London show, and "Live In Tokyo" among them yet they are still one of the metal genres' most bootlegged bands.

With Chris Collins as lead vocalist, the band released a demo album in 1986 that managed to sell 1,000 copies in six months. When Collins left the band they went through a long period with no voice until settling on Charlie Dominici as a new lead singer. Signing with Mechanic Records in 1987, the band was relegated to playing small clubs and the bar circuit due to poor management caused by label delays and severed their ties with Mechanic as a result,and fired Dominici during this time as well; in fact the band looked for a replacement singer for years afterwards, a search that ended in 1991 when a demo tape from James LaBrie arrived. After a New York audition, LaBrie was asked to join the band. Dream Theater then signed with Atco Atlantic and released their second record, "Images and Words" in 1992. The track "Pull Me Under" became a hit video on MTV, gaining the band some renown before their 1994 release, "Awake". Before mixing the album another personnel change came with the hiring of Derek Sherinian.

Following a mini tour, Fix for '96, the band worked on various outside projects, the most notable probably being Sherinian and bassist John Myung's collaboration with fellow metal rocker Ty Tabor (of the band King's X ) in the band Platypus. DT released "Scenes From A memory" in 1999 and "Live Scenes From New York" in 2001, which suffered from a bit of unintentional ironic controversy due to September 11 by sporting a cover depicting the city of New York in flames beforehand. The band continued releasing progressive metal in 2002 with the release of "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", followed by a more stripped down sound with "Train Of Thought" in 2003.

In 2005 Dream Theater released album number eight, "Octavarium". Produced by longtime members Petrucci and Mike Portnoy and the last album to ever be recorded at New York's Hit Factory before closing its doors in March of that year, DT seems to have recorded this one with an eye toward both pleasing its diehard core of fans by sculpting songs like the title track, a 24 minute epic along the lines of the long, intricate material they've become renowned for- as well as a few concise, radio friendly five minute songs, "I Walk Beside You" and "The Answer Lies Within". This DVD features the grand finale concert of the 20th Anniversary Tour, recorded live at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006. Disc One is the entire concert, and Disc 2 includes bonus material.

Listed here is the set list of the concert-

The Root Of All Evil [Set 1]
I Walk Beside You [Set 1]
Another Won [Set 1]
Afterlife [Set 1]
Under A Glass Moon [Set 1]
Innocence Faded [Set 1]
Raise The Knife [Set 1]
The Spirit Carries On [Set 1]
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence: [Set 2]
I. Overture [Set 2]
II. About To Crash [Set 2]
III. War Inside My Head [Set 2]
IV. The Test That Stumped Them All [Set 2]
V. Goodnight Kiss [Set 2]
VI. Solitary Shell [Set 2]
VII. About To Crash (Reprise) [Set 2]
VIII. Losing Time/Grand Finale Vacant [Set 2]
The Answer Lies Within [Set 2]
Sacrificed Sons [Set 2]
Octavarium: [Set 2]
Intro [Set 2]
I. Someone Like Him [Set 2]
II. Medicate Me [Set 2]
III. Full Circle [Set 2]
IV. Intervals [Set 2]
V. Razor's Edge [Set 2]
Encore: Metropolis [Set 2]

From the outset one is given the impression they are about to witness a grand, larger than life spectacle rather than a simple concert; indeed, the locale itself- the illustrious Radio City Music Hall- forebodes splendor itself. Accompanied by an orchestra for some 90 minutes of the show, the present band lineup is James LaBrie on vocals; the trio of original members-John Petrucci on guitars, John Myung on bass, Mike Portnoy behind the drums; and Jordan Rudess on keyboards; with the exception of Rudess, this lineup has been together for quite some time now. Regardless of their years in the game, this is one blistering, ballsy unit on the stage; Petrucci is a guitarist who seems unafraid to absolutely tear it up when it comes to playing lead. Myung seems equally fine on bass, and Portnoy is blistering behind his drum kit. Dream Theater is one of those bands I've heard mentioned on several occasions in the last few years, but had never listened to before watching this DVD. To be sure, their blend of rock is progressive heavy metal, reminding someone uninitiated as I am to their particular sound of bands along the lines of Rush and Queensryche with their long, majestic pieces. Being a neophyte to their material, much of it sounds similar in nature, but stands out enough to distinguish themselves as a band with a signature sound of their own.

The DVD-

A 2 disc set, the first disc is devoted to the concert itself and disc two is given to the extras. As I only received a screener copy, I can't comment on the packaging.


The aspect ratio is listed as being 1.77:1 widescreen. Picture quality here is very good; colors are clean and well rendered and the sharpness is excellent.


The audio tracks presented here are Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM stereo. Quite simply, the sound is stellar; I had my doubts when seeing there was no DTS track offered, but the DD 5.1 track offered here truly shines; crisp, clean with lots of power and more spaciousness than I am accustomed to hearing in a DD 5.1 track. The stereo track is also fine.


20th Anniversary Documentary "The Score So Far..."-Clocking in at over an hour this is an interesting look at the history of Dream Theater from their beginnings at the Berklee School Of Music right up to the present, with interview footage of present and former band members. Definitely something for Dream Theater fans to check out.

Octivarium Animation- The animation clip played during the performance of the song Octivarium.

Also included on disc two are three live bonus tracks from other shows-
Another Day (Tokyo show, 1993)
The Great Debate (Bucharest, Romania- 2002)
Honor Thy Father (Chicago- 2005)

Final Thoughts-

This is obviously a set aimed at satisfying Dream Theater fans and should be a release many other artists take a hard look at when bringing out their own DVD material. You get a wonderfully filmed show with an excellent audio track as well as a second disc containing a fine documentary on the band's history, as well as additional concert footage from other shows. As I understand it DT is renowned for showing up to give the fans their moneys worth each time they step onstage. On this particular night they certainly brought delivered the goods, and did so in the case of bringing their show to DVD. Recommended.
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