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Dream Theater - Distant Memories - Live in London CD (album) cover


Dream Theater

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3 stars Overall, this is a solid live album featuring the entirety of Dream Theaters 1999 classic "Scenes From a Memory," as well as an assortment of tracks from their 2019 release "Distance Over Time," finished off with a couple stragglers from their two last albums with Portnoy. The sound quality is really nice, balanced and punchy, there's some pitch correction on the vocals in spots, but it mostly sounds good enough to me for a guy whose pushing 60. I find the only times the vocals kind of irk me are when James Labrie improvises or deviates from the original melody or delivery which tends to lead to him over singing. Everyone else is 100% on the dot, and it's especially nice to hear some John Myung in the mix. I actually saw them on this tour and unfortunately, I found the concert mix to be way too loud and muddy to really enjoy. I was also much more of a casual Dream Theater fan at the time, so the first set didn't do it for me. So with that said it's nice to be able to appreciate this tour and setlist more with this live release. For the actual songs in the set, I think they chose most the best tracks from Distance Over Time with my favorites here being "Pale Blue Dot," and "Barstool Warrior." One of the bonus tracks "At Wits End," is another super solid cut, if I could chose one more song to throw into the set from Distance Over Time i'd probably chose S2N which is a favorite of mine. We also get an official live version of Nightmare to Remember finally, I enjoy this version a lot because it cuts out the goofy Mike Portnoy "growl" vocals found in the latter half of the song. Some of my favorite metal bands use harsh vocals, but Mike Portnoy uhhh..... doesn't got it. Mangini and Rudess really shine on this track adding some new and fresh flourishes on top of the already well established parts found on the studio version. The other non-Scenes or Distance Over Time cut is In The Presence of Enemies Part 1 off Systematic Chaos which is another track I'm a big fan of. James Labrie does a really fine job on this track as it seems to be a comfortable fit for his current range. Being a little picky, I would've liked to have seen maybe one more album cut from their discography make the setlist as this show only covers 4 out of their 14 studio albums. As for the second set, they play all of Scenes From a Memory and overall, it's just a solid and energetic performance of an album many of us here love. I find that Jordan Rudess incorporates some new sounds he's picked up over the years to really expand on some of his original parts. I see this as a nice change-up and alternative version of the album that I can see myself reaching for and coming back to. Overall, if you're a fan of both Dream Theater new and old, this album is certainly worth checking out. This likely isn't going to go down as one of their best live releases since they more or less stick to their guns and don't really stretch their legs too far outside of the studio versions. But it's good to finally hear some of these Distance Over Time songs live as well as Nightmare to Remember.

I'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, today I'll give it a strong 3 stars. Fans like myself will enjoy this release, check it out.

Report this review (#2480995)
Posted Sunday, November 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Distant Memories - Live in London' is Dream Theater's ninth live album, following up 'Breaking the Fourth Wall' from 2014. Recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, the album was released on November 27, 2020. The legendary progressive metal band has a double celebration going on - the release of their fourteenth studio record 'Distance Over Time' and the 20th anniversary of their beloved and absolutely iconic album 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory'.

This is another very solid addition to their broad and stellar catalogue, as the album portrays the band at a point in time where we could say that there is nothing left for them to prove. A regular studio output and a mind-blowing live act, Dream Theater rarely disappoint when it comes to live albums, and 'Distant Memories' is no exception.

This is the second time when 'Metropolis Pt. 2' appears played in its entirety on a Dream Theater live album, the other occasion being on their 2001 concert album. As one would expect, it is graceful, emotional, and masterful after all these years. The only difference, some would say, is in James' voice that has obviously changed throughout the years, yet he still sounds glorious and unpredictably passionate about his singing.

Apart from that, the band play half of the 'Distance Over Time' album, alongside 'A Nightmare to Remember', a true DT classic, and 'In the Presence of Enemies Pt. 1', another fairly recognizable metal track. Overall, this is a really good live album, enjoyable and excellently mixed, heavy and proggy - everything that one would expect from a legendary band.

Report this review (#2488081)
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Has it really been 20 years since DREAM THEATER released their mammoth work Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from A Memory? The 1999 concept album is an absolute masterpiece in many ways. In terms of storytelling as well as songwriting. When you talk about albums that you must listen to in today's progressive metal world, there is hardly a way around this record. The noteworthy thing is that the entire album is derived from the song "Metropolis - Part I The Miracle and The Sleeper", which is on the band's second album Images and Words. On the album 20th anniversary, the band insisted on performing the entire album again in full length, including newer pieces from their discography.

The setlist starts off with Untethered Ange, the first single from Distance Over Time. I really enjoyed the 16- minute "A Nightmare to Remember" from the 2009 work Black Clouds & Silver Linings, possibly the highlight of the album. The setlist also includes "In the Presence of Enemies" from Systematic Chaos. again. Speaking of highlights "Barstool Warrior" comes into its own in a live setting and receives an additional layer of epic through the concise solo play by keyboardist Jordan Rudess and guitarist John Petrucci. The sound of the concert also leaves little to be desired. Every instrument can be always heard clearly, and the drums sound full and round. The only issue I have is James LaBrie, his vocals could have used a little less reverberation and slightly more volume. It sounds as if you were listening to him sing from outside the concert hall.

The implementation of Metropolis Pt. II - has absolutely no criticism. The variations within the songs and the spontaneous small changes bring interesting splashes of color to these older tracks. Distant Memories Live in London is certainly not a revelation when it comes to live albums, but what is offered here is convincing across the board and has no defects. Cleanly produced and breathtakingly played.


Recommended Tracks: A Nightmare to Remember, Barstool Warrior, Through Her Eyes, Home.

Report this review (#2500923)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2021 | Review Permalink

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