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John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess - An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess CD (album) cover


John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Before everyone makes their generalizations I want to make it clear that the title to this album is very misleading. This album is a live performance of only John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (as everyone knows, of Dream Theater) on June 10, 2000 at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in New York. All the songs are written by Petrucci and Rudess and vary through a very large amount of styles. This album is not a shred fest where they are both creating pointless solo's just to show off how talented they are. These songs are very well composed and not the styles you would think of when seeing these names. There is a large impression of a classical style mixed with jazz, Latin, acoustic, and soft rock, and many other genres. This album does not represent Dream Theater's style at all and if you are buying this expecting great dream theater instrumentals than you will be disappointed.

My favorite track on the album is the opener "Furia Taurina." This song has a strong Latin and classical influence. It starts off with wonderful chords played very emotionally by Petrucci. If you can honestly listen to this song and say that Petrucci does not get the latin feel and emotion almost perfectly, I don't know what your hearing. There are some parts that are very fast, but they fit well with the song and feel. There are many various time changes and the sound changes from very slow softer parts, to the faster, much more intense ones are done perfectly. Petrucci's heavy hits on the guitar are very emotional and powerful. Rudess sounds incredible on the piano here. A lot of times I feel that his synth and keyboard parts tend to get in the way and can be a little too much. I can't say that for him playing the piano. He plays it beautifully and this song displays it very well.

The next song "Truth" starts off as a very slow and emotional ballad. Rudess does some very impressive runs on the piano and the feel for the song is underway. Petrucci comes in the middle of the song with the electric guitar (the majority of the song is acoustic) and delivers a wonderful solo. The solo is almost flawless (except for one part where there is an excessive amount of notes, but it is not that significant since it is only about 2 seconds.) Towards the end of the song the crowd starts clapping with the beat of the song and it flows well with the emotion at the time. Petrucci follows that section with another great electric guitar solo to conclude the song (though I wish it had ended on the large bend by Petrucci instead of the barrage of notes.)

"Fife and Drum" is an upbeat song with a light feel to it. It's hard to explain the style of this song because it changes a lot throughout. Another stand out track that is one of my favorites is "Hang 11." The melody to the song is incredible and very catchy while showcasing both members. "Bite of the Mosquito" is worth a mention since it is a 1:53 song where Rudess plays extremely fast and Petrucci just solos as fast as he can. Petrucci is just letting everyone know that he doesn't care who criticizes him for playing fast and he will continue to play the way he feels. Its ironic that this song was added because he doesn't play "so fast just to play fast" on this album (except for a few small parts.)

I would stay and break down every song but I really feel that you should listen to the show/album. It really is remarkable and nothing like you would expect. Hopefully we will get an mp3 in here so you can get a taste of what it is like. I would say that this is the most emotional guitar playing that I've heard from Petrucci on a lot of the tracks. I also like Rudess a lot better when he is on the piano. The amount of styles displayed changes throughout and never leaves you bored. You can dislike Petrucci and Rudess' playing all you want, but you shouldn't do so without giving this an honorable listen. This is not the same shred fest that we are used to from these guys.

-FragileDT (The reason for the 4 stars is because this is not really "progressive" music, though it is an excellent addition to any progressive collection. There are too many styles combined to just title it one of them.)

Report this review (#43022)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars those two dream theater members did great job really....something between classical,rock and jazz but GREAT...Furia Taurina ,Truth,In The Moment and Rena Song(Rena is name of Petrucci's wife and she's guitarist too) are awesome and masterpeices but other songs are great too.

state of grace came fom LTE 1 with some changes in playing on guitar. they did great job again like always.

DT fan from Tehran

Report this review (#43238)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Glad to see this album is featured here in this site. I got this album from the first release by Soundman Music (2000) with different track sequence and the number of tracks in my CD is showing 9 instead of 10. "State of Grace" and "Hang 11" are not in my CD track list, however my CD has "Hurglass" that is not available in the 2004 release. Both versions of CDs were recorded from their performance at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, NY on June 10th,2000.

The first time I got the CD I thought that these two gentlemen would play Dream Theater like music but performed unplugged, or sort of that. But when I spun the CD with "From Within" as the opening track, it was totally different kind of music than Dream Theater and it's so far away from being progressive metal. This opening track is flowing wonderfully and gives me peace of mind listening to the combination of keyboard and guitar work. The second track in my CD list sees "Furia Taurina" which has become my favorite track. I know why I like this track: it's basically due to my astonishment seeing Petrucci plays like Al Di Meola (I'm refering to the trio live performance album of Al Di Meola-John Mclaughlin-Paco De Lucia) with his acoustic guitar while Rudess gives improvised rhythm section with his grand piano / keyboard. But when piano solo of Rudess takes a chance, Petrucci gives his powerful rhythm using the acoustic guitar. Oh man .. it's really a fabulous music!

In "Black Ice" Petrucci gives his vintage with Dream Theater through electric guitar riffs while Rudess performs his piano solo. Wow! can you imagine Dream Theater music meets jazzy piano? Try this man! Really greeaaaatttt .!!! What makes so interesting is that this riffs-based music is performed without drum. "In The Moment" also features electric guitar riffs and solo while Rudess gives his long sustain keyboard work during the guitar solo. When piano takes part, the electric guitar provides background work with improvised electric guitar solo. There is also heavy influence of classical music.

I recommend this album to be in your music collection. John and Jordan have given their best compositions and performance through this album which is very enjoyable and rewarding. You should not miss this one. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#43389)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
King of Loss
4 stars Hello there, this is John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess' live 76 minute session plus a bonus track (The extremely fast and technical Bite of the Mosquito).

This live album starts off with the track Furina Taurina, an excellent starting song with of course acoustic and piano strokes. Jordan Rudess throughout this live album plays pianos and NOT ONCE, (I'm serious), Not Once does a keyboard or a synth solo. His piano playing on this live album especially on Fife and Drum, Furina Taurina are extremely tasteful and filled with great feeling. I would rate his playing on this album 5 stars alone and much better than what he does with his main band, Dream Theater and on his rather mediocre solo albums. A great live performance by the other-wise brilliant keyboardist/pianist/synth player.

However, John Petrucci is another story. John Petrucci on this album has two sides, one is the nice, brilliant Al-DiMeola like acoustic brilliance on a song like Furina Taurina or a song like Fife and Drum (My favorite song on this disc between) and the guitar virtuoso/shred/shredfest man or whatever you can call it. Some of his solo guitar on this album is relatively nice like the beautifully-made The Rena song, but however, he loses points on songs where he seems like he is going off into another dimension. Don't get me wrong, I really like John Petrucci's guitaring style, but I feel like this type of instrumentation will put off many especially the fast and furious shredding bonus track. So afterwards, I would give this rather great album 4 stars instead of 5 stars, due to JP's guitar playing on this album. Not that it is bad, but it is not for everyone.

Report this review (#57707)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars An Evening With. completely shattered whatever single-minded opinions I had about Petrucci and Rudess from their work with Dream Theater. It is the perfect melding of world music and classical shred, and proves that when not held in the confines of Dream Theater, these two virtuosos can unleash all of their ambition to the fullest extent.

The music on An Evening With. can jump between gentle acoustic picking and light piano flourishes to the immense guitar solos we come to expect from Petrucci over bombastic and epic grand piano chords from Rudess. Although this album showcases both musicians' talents in an effective way, I especially love to listen to Rudess's piano work. It is my opinion that he doesn't get much room to shine in Dream Theater, usually held to grandiose synthesized chords underlying other members' solos. But this is certainly not true on An Evening With. Rudess has his fair share of piano spotlights, which often times are faster and more amazing that the shred that we're accustomed to hearing from Petrucci. But overall, both Petrucci and Rudess play excellently, and the fact that they've written all of the songs themselves makes it all that much more impressive.

Some highlights from An Evening With. are the challenging and time signature- shifting "Furia Taurina," and the upbeat and joyous "Fife and Drum." "Hang 11" with its soft, echoed, acoustic intro and jazzy piano center, excellently showcases Rudess's sense of melody. "From Within" is a beautiful harp-driven song, though I'm not sure if it is a certain effect that Petrucci is using or is indeed someone playing a harp. If it is, I would very much like to know who it is if someone knows. "In the Moment" showcases Petrucci's shred abilities better than any instance in Dream Theater. "Black Ice" may be my favorite song. Its driving rhythm and excellent solo make it a superb track to represent the album, and I'm glad that it is currently a streaming MP3 on Prog Archives. But just in case you did not get your fill of shred from the rest of the album, a studio version of "Bite of the Mosquito" is provided. It's basically a high-tempo opportunity for Petrucci to shred over supporting chords from Rudess that give the solo a sense of direction. In addition to all of the new tracks, we're treated to an excellent run-through of "State of Grace" off the first Liquid Tension Experiment album.

In truth, I can't find any fault in An Evening With., although if you're a big metal fan with hopes of hard-rocking and mind-boggling shred-fests, you'd better not reach for it. If you are a fan of acoustic guitars, classical music and a bit of shred and world music, then An Evening With. is the album for you.

Report this review (#60707)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my all-time favorite record. This is a recording of a live performance of John Petrucci (Dream Theater, LTE) on electric and acoustic guitars and Jordan Rudess (Also from DT and LTE) on, almost exclusively, piano and in "From Within" on harp.

About the music, it covers a wide range of styles, from spanish-flamenco ("Furia Taurina"), melodical ("State Of Grace"), jazz-rockish ("Black Ice"), astonishing virtuosismo ("Bite Of The Mosquito") and emotional ("From Within", "In The Moment" in this song I actually felt a hint of Andrew Latimer's emotional playing. Every song is very well structured and crafted with improvised parts, but never getting to be pointless jams.

The only weak point that this album has, for me, is the fact that John Petrucci doesn't play an actual acoustic guitar. He plays his electric guitar with an acoustic effect. Even so, this isn't bad enough to take a star away. Another thing that one should know about this album, is that it went to the studio before being released. I found this out when a friend of mine showed me the actual recording of the show. They changed the order of the songs and removed parts where the crowd was clapping (they were clapping out of tempo!). Maybe they did a couple of overdubs as well.

Anyway, this a masterpiece by a couple of inspired virtuosos. Every prog fan can enjoy this as it covers so much ground.

Prog desde Guate!

Edit (July 7, 2009): gone are some typos. I stand by the rating, but this isn't my favorite album anymore. It surely is in my top 10, but not my favorite.

Report this review (#79176)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album absolutely dominates any other live album I've listened to. Most of this album was written before the show, but there are a few parts in every song that are complete improv, and it's almost impossible to discern them from the studio parts. There are no extended solos, no overly technical sections, no hardcore metal riffs. Just an hour of the most beautiful music I've ever heard. This album alone has convinced me that Rudess is clearly one of (if not THE) best piano players of all time, and makes an extremely convincing argument for Petrucci to be placed among some of the guitar gods.

Something I cannot stress enough about this album is the fact that it seemlessly transitions between multiple styles without a single weak link. Although both players are certainly capable of playing fast (as displayed in Furia Taurina and Bite of the Mosquito), there are times when they slow down to create beautiful rhythms. Not only are these transitions between speeds wonderful, but the transition between acoustic/electric guitars are smooth and wonderfully written. When I heard Petrucci switch from Acoustic to Electric after Furia Taurina I thought to myself, "Oh god, here we go..." yet he pulls it off without any display of virtuoso tendencies or machoman solos. Rudess is on a piano for the entire album, and I've always been more of a fan of his piano work (Biaxident and Liquid Dreams) than his keyboard work, and this masterpiece shows why. For a player like Rudess, who seems to excel at playing the keyboard as though it's a guitar, the piano should feel almost limiting to the listener's ears, yet Rudess pulls it off flawlessly.

Note: this is one of maybe 5 or 6 albums I'd give 6 stars to if I could; not only is it necessary to own in a collection of prog rock, it's an album that I think everyone should be chained to a desk and be forced to listen to at some point in their life.

"Furia Taurina," "Black Ice," "Fife and Drum," and "State of Grace" are my favorite tracks on the album. Bite of the Mosquito is lol-worthy because it comes from nowhere; an album full of live, beautiful work concluded by a song where JP and JR play about 30,000 notes in 1:53 and create a horrifyingly fast yet contagious sound. Hilarious!

Beautiful work, bravo gentlemen!

Report this review (#102229)
Posted Saturday, December 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars On many occasions, John Petrucci disgusted me in Dream Theater, and quite often would dismiss his notable talent in the context that DT's music provided. Now I understand that putting Petrucci's licks over a different musical enviroment might had changed my perception of his playing. Never had, however, doubts that Rudess was a very special instrumentalist (as I could had heard from his work with LTE). This is not exactly a prog- metal album in a strict sense (though more than once you'll hear some metal trademarks); more it is a decent night-club jazz-metal music with overdriven guitar and good amount of electro-acoustic guitar; accompanied by mostly acoustic piano, perfectly executed by virtuoso Jordan Rudess. The songs often take from folk, spanish folk to bossa nova; at other sets, they rework on pieces from their Liquid Tension/Dream Theater sessions, without giving much clearance but sometimes cliched in the middle of the songs. What surprises me about Petrucci in this album is his ability with his guitar harmonics, and how he could give the latin feel when he plays the background guitar (specially on Hang 11); of course there's no surprise when I listen to his shreds, sometimes very "Di Meola" sounding (like Furia Taurina, which reminds me of "Mediterrean Dance-Rio Ancho" by Di Meola-Paco De Lucia) and sometimes just applying his usual metal licks. Jordan Rudess, apart from playing fast, provides the music not only with classical style, but also proves himself to be an amazing jazz pianist as well; "From Within" is an angelical solo spot where Rudess uses a synthetized harp-like sound on the keyboards, also exposing himself as a virtuoso classical pianist.

"Hang 11" and "Furia Taurina" are my favourites from this album; but I won't dismiss the rest because they do justice to this purchase as well, with it's certain lows and highs. 4 stars

Report this review (#103693)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An Evening with… is a live album by Dream Theater duo John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess. This album is different from other Dream Theater member’s side projects like O.S.I, or La Brie’s solo carrier, although there is a track here that taken from Liquid Tension Experiment (this project has both Petrucci and Rudess). All tracks in this album are fully instrumental. Petrucci plays both acoustic and electric guitar, while Rudess plays only piano (yes, absolutely no keyboard) here. This album also varies in styles, where there are some jazz, soft-rock, and some others.

The opening track, “Furia Taurina”, sounds like a combination of Latin, classic, and jazz. Petrucci’s guitar and Rudess piano form a great melody here. You can feel some emotion here when they play some parts faster and then goes softer. This is a great opening track.

The second song, “Truth” is a softer track. This track is like a classic-ballad song and has some great solos, especially in the middle part of the song. Near the end the crowds clapping together as the duo play together and then Petrucci brings another solo. This track is one of my favorites and truly a very nice song.

Next is “Fife and Drum”, in this track Rudess piano is more dominant, and this songs has various styles that mixed up together very nicely.

“State of Grace” is a song from Liquid Tension Experiments. Unlike the previous track, this track is shorter, but it stills nevertheless a very nice track. There isn’t much differences in here with the LTE version, but this song is somewhat tranquilizing and the melody is very pleasant to heard.

“Hang 11” is another long and beautiful track. Like its title, this track runs for 11 minutes. The song has a catchy melody, and the solos here are great as the whole track is. Another great performance was put up by the duo and their characters are showed here.

Then, we up to “From Within”, and this is track is also a shorter one than the others. This track has a soft, nice and peaceful melody.

“The Rena Song” is another favorite track of mine. The melody is beautiful, especially in the middle part of the song. The song itself is well-arranged and the duo put up a great performance in this soft track.

Next is “In the Moment”. This track opens with a guitar solo from Petrucci, and then Rudess followed up through the middle part of the song. Petrucci is more dominant here, but that doesn’t make the track sounds like his other solo songs.

“Black Ice” has a faster tempo in the beginning than other tracks, and then becomes slower near the middle part of it. At near the end the duo plays a bit technically, especially with the solo and the tempo then goes faster again toward the end. The composition in this track is great, as well as the performance.

“Bite of the Mosquito” is the last and the shortest track, and actually quite a fun one, where the duo plays with a fast tempo and a bit technical.

Overall, all tracks in this album are well composed. The performance is great, and there aren’t much of DT elements here. This isn't just a show-off album, but a great masterpiece from both John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess. Even if you’re not a DT fan, it’s really worth a try, and who knows if you would like it in the end.

Report this review (#108648)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Progressive, as in progressively out of control: First the good. Jordan Rudess melodic and restrained. His piano is the only thing that provides continuity here. John Petrucci shows that he's worked hard to get where he is. The show was, in principle, a good idea. A chance to showcase fresh, unusual talent, different from Dream Theater. Now (politely) the not so good, this idea never materialized. It is disappointing to hear the result of how JP interpreted and absorbed the likes of self-named influences like Allan Holdsworth & Al DiMeola guitar music. Just taking one of many potential examples: Bite of the Mosquito reminds one of The Flight of the Bumble Bee, and sounds uncomfortably like circus music. There are interesting musical themes in Black Ice, and elsewhere,...but they never get off the ground. Hang 11 sounds like it is based on an all-too-well known theme in Take Five - Dave Brubeck.

JP leaves a long-time guitar player like myself with a rather uneasy feeling about the product. Not to belittle, but offer comparisons that embody an earnest attempt to appraise: Masters of speed like J.McLaughlin, the two Als - above - etc. make JP seem to lack being brought up musically with more strict guidance. The bottom line is that this music will please few people who cut their musical teeth on Yes, Peter Gabriel, ELP, UK, King Crimson, Brian Eno.....some of which are still active and pushing the limits. JP is not a guitar savant and is does not show that he knows how to control and mold those musical emotions, so far. There is an analogy that is impossible to ignore: So many people are raised on a limited number of persons cooking - not all gourmet cuisine (Metallica & Queensryche, as well as some that are of a highly contrasted side of the profession), however, left to their own wits to interpret their experiences and cook in their own style you wind up with the subject working with fine ingredients but showing an unbalanced knowledge of what goes with what and how to prepare it with mastery. Where are the artistic directors and what are they thinking when these projects are produced? In defense of the All-Mighty Buck, Petrucci & Rudess have an audience! Sigh!

Report this review (#110614)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars First off, I'm a huge fan of instrumental music, but I'm not too fond of live music (at least when I'm not there in person). That being said, this is just a superb album for me. I think it will be for you too, if you are prepared for what to expect. In essence, this is two extraordinarily talented musicians who demonstrate excellent interplay. We all knew about Rudess' and Petrucci's dexterity from Dream Theater, but here they show a delicateness and flair that I don't hear in DT albums.

I won't go into each track, but suffice it to say that they all are quite excellent, though if you aren't into a guitar/piano duet, then they may seem incredibly similar to each other. I can't say enough about how Petrucci and Rudess are excellent musicians, and here they manage to show their virtuosity without jamming into your face, as in some DT albums. Petrucci moves effortlessly between guitar sustains and flamenco/shred style, and Rudess shows that he is an amazing pianist: just because you have the capability to play a synth lead (as in DT), you don't have to beat it to death. Keys are best as background most of the time, coming to the front for the occasional killer melody or refrain, as expertly demonstrated here.

Again, I'm not usually into live albums, as I think they usually represent a way for bands to make easy money; however, I'm thrilled to have a glimpse as to what Petrucci and Rudess attempted here. If you get irritated by the excesses of Dream Theater, but also wish to hear these two musicians cut loose (without fear of being drowned out by Portnoy or Labrie), then this is the album for you!

Report this review (#142166)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an amzing live album!

The story goes that this was done as a small recording, with Petrucci and Rudess wishing to address their alter egos and write in a variety of styles. The majority of the songs on here are largely improvised on, but why not! They are masters of improvisation. Rudess has had great experience on his Rod Morgenstein projects and is known to be able to create amazing things when he does improvise...and it shows! John Petrucci is just naturally a guitarist who exceeds almost anyone. Steve Vai heard the recordings and said it was ingenious work and released it on his Favoured Nations label.

One of my favourite live albums of all time. It is brilliance through with so much consistency. Petrucci and Rudess show that they aren't just progmetal masters like many would know them for, but have a large appreciation for so many styles. Jordan comes naturally from a progrock and classical background. Petrucci can just play anything he wants. These two are both some of the greatest in the world at thie instruments, and here they both show their compositional and technical sides beautiful. Every track is incredible. From Rudess's piano solo on Fife and Drum (which takes you to a beautiful place) and John Petrucci's emotion in In the Moment, this album proves to be a masterpiece.

Report this review (#148246)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off, just because this is Dream Theater related, please don't go into it automatically hating it because you hate Dream Theater, also don't automatically love it because you love Dream Theater. This is much different from a Dream Theater album. First off, it's a live album from a one off show featuring guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess of the aforementioned Dream Theater. This contains none of the metal elements of said band, and is an interesting cross between jazz, latin, and classical music. Each member gets to show off his unique influences and style,although Rudess is quite a bit more restrained in his playing style here, instead letting Petrucci do most of the soloing while he provides piano and synths in the background. However, he does have a few exceptional solos. This album covers many different moods, from the slow and beautiful State of Grace, originally from the Liquid Tension Experiment album and Rena Song to extremely intense songs like the studio recording Bite of the Mosquito, which sounds a bit like Rimsky-Korsokov's Flight of the Bumblebee, which is why the names of the songs are probably similar. I'd recommend this for anyone open minded and into instrumental music. Again, don't compare it to Dream Theater and you should be all set.
Report this review (#158393)
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess - 'An Evening with.' 4 stars

Anybody that listens to prog undeniably knows who these two musicians are and the band they are famous for. Dream Theater is one of the biggest love it or hate it bands around. Personally I like them quite a bit, but I respect other people's opinion about them. Some find that they lack true musicianship and songwriting abilities, which is plausible. Others would include having feeling implemented into the music and the disability to change sound. These arguments are again, plausible. With this album, it is safe to say true musicianship is projected from these two musicians. This is a live recording of John Petrucci on electric and acoustic guitar along with Jordan Rudess on the acoustic grand piano.

There are some nice reasons to own this impressive album.

First, this cd has nothing to do with Dream Theater's music in any sense. There are very few, if at all, showcases of metal. Most of the influence is taken from the Classical, Latin and Jazz realm. The material for the show was written in a very short period, leaving it open to improve, which was executed beautifully. John Petrucci had the only flaw on this show, which wasn't that big of a deal anyway. He was obviously 10 times more controlled then on his band's studio albums but there was still a few spots where he started to get a little over the top, but again, he maintained control mostly. His acoustic guitar consisted of some nice work influenced by the likes of Al Di Meola with the flamenco technique, which he has come to be a master of over the years. The classical influence was showed mostly when he played some chords and arpeggios, mostly when Jordan was at the forefront. While on topic, Jordan Rudess made this cd what it is. His performance was one of the best a listener can ask for. He was extremely controlled, partly because there were no synths or effects of the type. Everything Jordan did was on the acoustic grand piano, which was played flawlessly. Most of the music Jordan played was in a classical vein.

Secondly, I thought the improvisation was a nice touch to this album. Being able to improvise in front of a live audience is another thing in itself. The improv was great; every one that John and Jordan did was certainly fulfilling and done in a coherent matter, while still showing technical proficiency. John certainly can prove the people that criticize the fact that he cannot put emotion into his playing with the album. His guitar solos (except the few that he couldn't be zany with') all had some great bends and slides that made them tasteful and interesting.

Finally is just the overall sound of the album itself. The quality is excellent for a live album. This was not just a nice Classical/Jazz/Latin show by these two, they also kept the concert interesting by adding more to what they were limited to by adding some classic novice techniques like dynamic changes, tempo changes and crescendos. The limitations lied within the instruments, which is not a bad thing by any means. Remember that this was largely an acoustic concert, minus electric guitar, but that and the piano lacked any distortion or effects. Lastly, the guitar and piano complimented and worked together very well throughout this album.

So, why not? This is a great concert by these two gents. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#163126)
Posted Monday, March 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I may be exagerating by putting this as a masterpiece, so I won't... but this one really holds a sepcial place in my DT's side projects.

Simply keyboard and guitar, but what a mixture with these guys playing! This CD consist mostly of structured ideas serving as base for a lot of jams. This was my favorite one to listen to while doing some school work or playing Morrowind The Elder Scrolls when I passed the 100 hour mark and was quite too familiar with the in-game music (which I still appreciate and respect by the way, a great inspiration for me).

I really think it's an excellent addition to any Prog collection, though I would rather recommend it to some open-minded Dream Theater fan.

Report this review (#215549)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I always watched on Dream Theatre music as on secondary product, and their weakest point always been a lack of originality. But their pros (at least in my eyes) is their function as accessible prog-related music supplier to wide masses. Similar situation is with separate band musicians' solo works: being enough skilled and technical, they are never enough innovative or original.

This live semi-acoustic album contains original music ,played by two Dream Theatre members, and possibly is one of the best work, ever recorded by any of DT musician ( all together or solo).

Jordan Rudess plays acoustic piano and shows ability to play wide range of music with high level of ... musicality! No way classic or jazz, this music sounds at some steps higher level of musicality, than Jordan usually demonstrates when playing with DT. Petrucci's participation isn't so successful, but at least demonstrates his wish to play something more attractive, than stereotypic heavy metal. Part of the songs are played by him using unusual acoustic guitar. Not too much original, his acoustic sound is heavily influenced by acoustic works of Al Di Meola.

Compositions where he plays electric are less successful, whenever his guitar sound are always too metallic, never intelligent enough for Rudes' acoustic piano.

This album is interesting for DT funs with open years ( just to find the way to a bit wider world of progressive music), and for everyone who want to listen one of the most musical album from Dream Theatre team.

Around 3,5.

Report this review (#258622)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok. Looking forward to another review year and start with an album of two of the greatest musicians I know. And I know what I'm talking about because I saw them live at least 5 times by now with their band Dream Theater and never caught them on a poor or even lesser performance. Does this mean it's a guarentee for success with this live album ? Hmmm....

Well, I'll answer it right away: not quite I'm afraid. As was to be expected the musicianship is fabulous but where I was ready for some metal loaded material the boys decided for a different approach. Maybe they noticed they had a fancy audience or something but somehow they must have thought it was a better idea to play in an easy listening style I guess. And I'm being nice when I call this easy listening, this is almost cheesy at times with the audience clapping along ... Come on guys, what's this ?

Ok, it's ot the case for the entire album and the positive thing is: we've seen them in a different way with this live album and there is also some more energetic material to be consumed. But all in all it leaves me slightly disappointed and therefore can't give it the four stars I had in mind before giving it several listens. So three it is ...

Report this review (#258738)
Posted Friday, January 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In a way this LIVE album is not unexpected at all ,au contraire,it's en extension of what both musicians did on the sensationals LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT albums in a more electric and prog fusion way!!Definitelly,there is an alchemy between this 2 amazing musicians,they have an extra sensorial mutual preception from the musical point of view!It's a superbe album,made for pure pleasure for true art and I am really angry when I see that this album is severelly criticized by other PA reviewers!I don't understand why?It has everything what a good music lover is waiting for,it shows the tremendeous talents of Rudess on classical piano and- if it's still necessary-that Petrucci is a guitar master able to perform and play in a quite different style compared of what he usually does in DREAM THEATER!There are some unbelieveble arpeggios abd great legato tones from Petrucci in AL DI MEOLA style and this is really unexpected from a maestro that is skilled especially in electric guitar sounds in a more aggressive veine!There are plenty of electric guitar madness here too,but being only 2 instruments in this kind of music,the whole ensemble is more clear and pure,leaving a huge possibility for each artist to explore new ways of creativity.We are delighted here by some unbelieveble solos from both musicians,but the atmosphere of the album is quite calme and definitelly very progressive!Almost 80 minutes of pure musical enchantment and the joy of the listener to make an excellent audition of a true memorable album,a display of the heavenly talent that God gave to this 2 out of this world musicians!All the album is pleasant and very,very enjoyable.Personally I am surprised by the versatile piano accords of Mr Rudess,trully played by a master of this beautiful instrument!All songs are pretty long-beyond the 10 minutes timing each,but we don't have any second the feeling that this album is a competition between the 2 outstanding musicians,no way,it's a delightful musical meeting abd the product of some inspired artists for the passion for good musis-simply that!For me this album is a musical jewel and it must be in every serious collection of any prog music lover,not only of DREAM THEATER fans! 5 STARS and all our respect for something magical!
Report this review (#259913)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, this came out of nowhere.

I have to truly say, that it really breaks my heart to listen to this album, and realize what absolutely beautiful, deep and emotional music John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess are actually capable of making. Its amazing how much the quality level increases, when Portnoy is removed from the equation.

To listen to this album and then listen to Systemic Chaos or Black Clouds and silver linings, I seriously feel nauseous. This is the music Dream Theater could have been making. Ten years of sub par Dream Theater albums and we could have had music along the same quality of An Evening with JP and JR. There's no cheese metal lyrics about Dark Masters or Counts with vintage wine, no horrible growling, and no fake dark metal wannabe posing. Its genuinely beautiful music. This album inspires me and gives me chills. Every song is brilliantly composed and the album flows very well. I just wish I could have seen this performance in person.

Report this review (#301130)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best performances by two musicians who do not conform themselves in just one thing

Back in the early and all through the late 2000's, Dream Theater was the hottest band around. Many would question that statement regarding that most of their albums from that time period are not among their most brilliant works (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence excepted), but looking only to the band's studio output would be undermining all of their hard work, dedication and, most of all, pure and unadulterated talent and passion in playing music; you can see in any of their live recordings from that time the passion they have when playing, how they pour their souls into what they are doing, specially in the Live in Budokan and Score albums.

What does this all has to do with this album? Well, nevertheless all the band members were putting some of their most impressive efforts into Dream Theater's albums, that period in time was also fertile in successful side projects by all of the band members, either with other bands, such as Transatlantic, Jelly Jam and Liquid Tension Experiment, or with solo projects, much like did John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess in releasing solo material.

An Evening With John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess manages to merge both things that said era of Dream Theater had together: the side project and solo project. This live recording brings us an unique presentation by the band's guitarist and keyboardist, two of the band's main creative forces behind it all as well as two of the most gifted and talented musicians in current progressive rock.

This record, however, showcases them both in a place that we usually don't see: Petrucci stays (for the most part) outside of his heavy metal comfort zone of hurling countless notes at us and delivers an impressive, emotional and at times unexpected guitar lines that vary from jazz, classic guitar, blues and classic progressive rock, just to mention the most apparent styles he portrays in his guitar. Here, I believe, even the critics of his work at Dream Theater would agree that his performance is far from cold and heartless technical guitar lines he does at the famous progressive metal band.

As for Jordan Rudess, we do see a different side of him than we usually see at DT: the flamboyant, overly technical and multifaceted keyboard wizard. Nevertheless, for those who follow his solo work this kind of performance would not come to a surprise; the subtle and yet impressive ways he can twist and turn a single melody line into something incredibly good and unexpected without resorting to elaborate sounds or equipment can surprise even the most experienced of music listeners.

All songs from the live performance itself (excepting State of Grace, which was written in Liquid Tension Experiment) are original compositions for this presentation alone, or so I presume since I have never seen or heard they being played before or after, use extensive improvisation from both players for large parts of the performance, what give an even more impressive and fresh feel to each song. As mentioned before, the music's tone here is definitively not what one would expect from members of a progressive metal band; indeed the introspective and elated feel to the melodies played here accentuate the distance from their rather aggressive and powerful side, so often seen in Dream Theater. The extensive use of acoustic instruments (or, in Rudess's case, the sound of acoustic instruments like the piano or the harp) emphasize that tone, even though Petrucci does uses his electric guitar quite a lot (but not in a heavy metal manner or attitude, though) and Rudess sparsely uses synthesizers/synthetic sounds.

The only exception is the last song, Bite of the Mosquito, which is a studio version of the famous Rimsky-Korsakov song Flight of the Bumblebee. For me, it is only here to showcase the technical prowess of both instrumentalists, specially if you take into account how fast it is played, and serves to set a contrast from the rest of the album, all based on emotional and sensible playing by both Petrucci and Rudess; if that's the case, mission accomplished.

The moment captured in this album, almost an hour and a half of pure musical bliss, testifies the inventiveness and quality of both this musicians amazing compositional and playing abilities. Indeed, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess show to all that they definitively not bound to the realms of progressive metal that made them famous, as well as that they are incredibly skillful outside that field of music. For that, I believe that the most honest rating would be 5 stars.

Report this review (#860584)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars I find this album very difficult to rate, mainly because all of the songs are actually very enjoyable, there's no song at all I would rather skip while playing the album. On the other hand, there is no particular song I feel I would like put on just because of how much I love it, there are no particular highlights for me. If I'm going to listen to this album, then it must be the whole album, and only when I'm in the mood for it. If you are interested on this album because of it's Dream Theater connections, think it twice of try to listen to it first, for it has very little to do with said band's music, it doesn't have one bit of metal in it, though I would say it's definitley prog. Mainly soft music in a sense, but it's got a lot of chops, really great playing all around, with piano and acoustic guitar, or soft (but fast) electric guitar. Also, if you hate Dream Theater, you might want to give this one a try, surely most of the aspects that could make people dislike them are actually missing here. Definitley an album worth checking out.
Report this review (#1018745)
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Review Permalink

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