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Dream Theater - Live At Budokan CD (album) cover

LIVE AT BUDOKAN

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.23 | 358 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

matti.alakulju
4 stars First of all, I'd like to give this 5 stars, because this is an incredibly good live album. The musicianship is top notch, the recording quality is the best you can get. And Dream Theater is the best band there is for this sort of stuff, and one of my favourite bands. Now don't get me wrong, because I'm gonna use the rest of this review on complaints!

You see, I was waiting for so much better this time. It seems that DT have a major problem in their hands and it's called "How Do You Live On When You Have Created An Unbeatable Masterpiece And Thereby Foreshadowed Your Career Forever?" And I do mean Scenes From A Memory. Of course I must give credit to these guys, because they didn't try to repeat that masterpiece. They chose some direction, and it was this more metallic, kick ass attitude, best represented on Train Of Thought.

But the question remains: Can they do a live album that will be regarded as the best of the genre, like they did in the studio with SFAM? Live Scenes From New York was a fantastic album, because it repeated all the SFAM material, and in many cases it was even better than the studio version. But the album was sort of divided between SFAM and the rest, and the rest of it was so much weaker. The next live album should find the perfect balance between SFAM material, new kick ass songs, and older classics.

It all starts good, the first two songs from ToT certainly wake you up, these guys are going to show you some chops! Beyond This Life is the highlight of this set, this is the way the SFAM material must be delivered: incredible extended guitar/keys/drums jam thing, with lots of Zappa influence. Unfortunately it's too early for the highlight, what about the rest of the night? Hollow Years is one of those U2-ish pre-Rudess songs that I personally don't like, but Petrucci takes the task and lifts this up with his hot solo. The following two short songs from Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence are OK.

Disc two starts with Endless Sacrifice, some more metal prog from ToT, and this really has the chances to become a new DT sing-along classic, a great tune! Instrumedley is the highlight of disc two, and oh boy it is unbelievable. There is no other band who could ever learn to play this stuff! But I disagree with a reviewer above, the snippets from different songs are not particularly well connected. There are a couple of clear endings, and then they continue with another one. But I'm not saying that it's the wrong way to do it, after all, when you start Paradigm Shift or Ytse Jam, it's gotta be recognizable! But when the guys are playing The Dance Of Eternity close to the end of this medley, there is some problem with balance or sound levels on my disc, has any body noticed this?

Then some more U2-ish songs, and now the momentum starts to fall significantly. The beginning of Trial of Tears is so terribly Floydish that it's even irritating. Lots of people have complained about Floydish influences on SFAM, but ther I was not bothered, because the material was so heavenly good. It could have been played with Status Quo influences and still become a masterpiece! But here I'm starting to fall asleep. Jordan plays a hell of a keyboard solo, but the momentum is gone. Only A Matter Of Time sounds terribly dated and out of place. If they really wanted to revive such an old song, why didn't they try A Vision? It would have been interesting to hear now.

Disc three has three short songs from 6DOIT, and they are all good. Labrie is so much better singer now than on Once In A Lifetime, for example, that it's not even funny. He can really squeeze some extra emotion out of the slower tunes here. But then again, they can never top the emotion created on the LSFNY version of The Spirit Carries On, with the gospel choir and everything. Actually you must feel sorry for the singer: how can he ever prove himself among these insane instrumentalists. After all, he's only got his throat to work with! Now comes the big mistake: Stream Of Consciousness is simply a boring song. I can't understand why it was included in ToT, which was supposed to kick ass every second of it! And now it gets repeated and it's not getting better! These guys playing a boring vamp over and over again, and doing nothing on top of it.

Then we have Pull Me Under and it's the great sing-along song just the way it's gotta be. But here it comes out of the blue after a ballad, and you haven't got that sing- along feeling going yet. This song should be preceded by something more elevating, like Take The Time or Learning To Live, or some nice surprise of a cover tune to raise the heat. After all, these guys can play anything, so why don't they play some real tricky Zappa instrumental, Redunzl, for example? Or Starless, or Heart Of The Sunrise. Or The Dance Of Eternity, if you don't want a cover.

The concert ends with In The Name Of God which is a good song, but lacks the special feeling of the grand finale. Here we should have Finally Free, with Mike going insane during the coda, now that I would call a proper way to end the show!

I'm sure you have got my point by now. The concert is good, the playing is terrific, but the set list leaves a lot to be desired. It's clear that there can't be too much SFAM material, because that would be regarded as repetition and therefore boring (which definitely can NOT be said about Beyond This Life!) Maybe it would make sense to release a double live CD? After all, it's hard to kick ass for three hours! A couple of covers could have saved the set. The time gap between Instrumedley and Pull Me Under is way too long. Anyway, it's very interesting to see where the guys are heading next. The perfect live album is still missing.

| 4/5 |

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