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Dream Theater - Once in a Livetime CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.34 | 411 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Luckily it happened only once in their career.

Well, this is maybe the worst live album of Dream Theater and is perfectly justified. James Labrie gave his worst effort, showing his vocals problems, screaming and trashing all the melodies, he just had too much trouble to reach the high notes during that years. Besides, is evident as well that the band was really passing a bad time, Petrucci sounds uninspired (he had stated that he "wasn't in the f*ckin mood" that night) and unfortunately for Sherinian, in his only and last chance to show his live skills, just cannot save this show, he did a good performance, but the shadow of bad luck was still over their heads. So, about the album:

There's a lot of material covering almost 2 and half hours of show. This was the first time DT did this kind of shows that later on become trademark of the band. The selection of songs was focused on songs of Awake and Falling into Infinity and the epic Change of Seasons split through the whole show. There's a lot of medleys and instrumental extended versions (maybe to help Labrie to rest a little). When I said extended versions I mean, a huge amount of improvisation and jamming around, especially in CD 1. There's a jamming at the end of Take The Time, another in Scarred, a keyboard solo and in between the instrumental YTSEjam there's a drum solo for about 8 minutes. So, if you are not that into jamming and prog-metal instrumental "show off", you won't enjoy this CD.

There's brief reference to another bands, like Pink Floyd, Metallica, Liquid Tension and Platypus in between their instrumental madness as well.

The CD 2 is better with a short unplugged segment which helps to relax a little after the billion of notes attack from the first CD. The ambient of the whole album is very moody and dark. The soft material is really worth to listen, and the crowd was with them through the whole journey. French people are loud man.

All in all, the quality of sound is great, crystal clear but the lack of inspiration and the instrumental section were too plain. Happened that I really enjoy this album, 'cause it remember me my teenage days and I feel really good hearing it. But for new fans of people not used to the DT catalogue, I advise to start in whatever other material but this one. This is too much to take in one sitting. So, it worth for the great songs and classics in there like Scarred, Take The Time, Trial of Tears and Peruvian Skies. Three stars is fair.

*Addition*: the cover art of this album is maybe the most controversial. During that time, a lot of fans were really mad because the trademark logo and letter style of the band were not there. The band didn't have control over the art and it really sucks, been honest. For some, this was the sign of DT selling out and betraying their fan base. But in the other hand, the music was there as always, so, they survived this bad era and they are still here with us, more than a decade after.

jampa17 | 3/5 |


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