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Dream Theater Live at Budokan album cover
4.31 | 428 ratings | 28 reviews | 60% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (172:26)
1. Intro (0:52)
2. As I Am (7:41)
3. This Dying Soul (12:12)
4. Beyond This Life (19:33)
5. Hollow Years (9:19)
6. War Inside My Head (2:30)
7. The Test That Stumped Them All (4:52)
8. Endless Sacrifice (11:19)
9. Instrumedley (12:09)
10. Trial of Tears (13:58)
11. New Millennium (7:58)
12. Keyboard Solo (3:58)
13. Only a Matter of Time (7:25)
14. Goodnight Kiss (6:13)
15. Solitary Shell (5:51)
16. Stream of Consciousness (10:54)
17. Disappear (5:54)
18. Pull Me Under (9:00)
19. In the Name of God (17:35)
20. End Credits (3:13)

Disc 2 (72:58)
1. Riding the Train of Thought - Japanese Tour Documentary (29:49)
2. John Petrucci Guitar World (6:27)
3. Jordan Rudess Keyboard World (6:44)
4. Mike Portnoy Drum Solo (12:10)
5. The Dream Theater Chronicles - 2004 Tour Opening Video (5:44)
6. Instrumedley multi-angle (12:04)

Total Time 245:24

Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Petrucci / guitar
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- John Myung / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums & percussion

Releases information

2DVD Atlantic #: R2 970366 (2004)

Trivia: This album has been awarded with the platinum certificate by the RIAA in January 26, 2005.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan ratings distribution

(428 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(60%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (5%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frenchie
5 stars I finally found a copy of this in the UK! they hardly sell anything by Dream Theater over here. This DVD is pretty much flawless. Incredible concert, amazing special features. I also have "Live Scenes from New York" on DVD and it's hard to decide which is better. Both are just too good!

Even those "Train of Thought" nay sayers will probably think this is amazing. It has songs from every album, especially the "Instrumedley", which has "Overture 1928", "Erotomania", part of "A Change of Seasons", "Metropolis" and even includes "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind" from Liquid Tension Experiment.

The concert is brilliantly directed, with multi angles. I especially liked the way it concentrated on each persons instrument when it was their time to do a solo. Each member of the band played amazingly. They all manage to keep up the energy and fantastic playing for 242 minutes.

"Beyond This Life" is one of the best tracks on this DVD, lasting an extra long 19 minutes, it has a drum and keyboard battle in the middle. There is even film footage of Frank Zappa in the background for some reason. "As I Am" and "In the Name of God" are truely incredible, opening and closing the concert. The inclusion of "Pull Me Under" goes down well with the Japanese crowd. The version of "New Millenium" is much better on here. During the heavy songs, Labrie is pure evil on the camera, with close ups of him looking like the spawn of Satan.

Jordan Rudess' keyboard solo is extra special to watch. He even talks you through how he programmed his keyboards on disc 2 which i thought was very interesting. John Petrrucci also talks about his guitars and pedal set up.

The movements from the 42 minute suite, "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" are probably easier to digest and get a better spotlight here because they are played individually at various parts of the concert rather than in one big suite. It also great to see Labrie tackling "Only a Matter of Time" from the very first album as i much prefer his vocals to Charlie Dominici's.

The tour documentary on disc 2 is amazing, showing off what the boys do best and you get to grips with their serious sides, their musical knowledge and their sense of humour. There is also an amazing drum solo from a previous concert in Osaka where Mike invites members of the audience to have a drum off with him.

This DVD offers so much and lasts ages with plenty of replay appeal. It is breathtaking all the way through and the band play to their best abilities. I highly recommend this DVD (if you can find it in the shops).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've got the audio CD version right after its release because I had it as a gift from my friend, Krisna, who live in Switzerland and had a holiday in Indonesia during Ramadhan period couple month ago. Thanks a lot Mas Krisna! Then I got the DVD on "loan" basis from my prog mate, David, during his Christmas holiday. Thanks, David - I have already seen it three times and I enjoy it very much! ---++---

Well, What can I say about this DVD? First of all, I like live albums (CD) and secondly I love Dream Theater and the kind of progressive music with power and energy (I was previously more into symphonic and neo prog vein until I heard Dream Theater's "Awake" that blew my mind at first listen - sometime in mid or late 90s). So you know why I give it a full five stars rating. Sorry for being too subjective and probably na´ve about it. But this band (forget about music boundary or the discussion about "Is it prog? Or not?" - because the fact this band is featured in this site has proven that some people consider this band "is" prog. Full stop.) is great! Let's consider this as a rock show (without "progressive" word) and focus on how the music is performed by the league of five gentlemen here: John Myung (bass), John Petrucci (guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums), Jordan Rudess (keyboard) and James LaBrie (vox).

It's a great show, indeed. If you are not a prog met fan, I think you still can enjoy this DVD as this is a wonderful live act and it's enjoyable. The band played their best repertoires including those from their latest album "Train of Thoughts". The package contains 2 discs with disc 1 features the whole live set in Budokan while disc 2 features the documentary of the band's Japan's tour. Eighteen wonderful tunes were performed by the band magnificently.

I'm not gonna review on track by track basis as it's a very long show. Overall, the music is performed by the band with a right balance in terms of set list from high power style and it flows with some breaks with slower tempo and it turns back to a faster one, and so on. It's a good mix that provides a variety of emotions. James LaBrie performance is at his best in this live show as I barely observe any mistake or falsetto voice throughout the show. You might compare this with his previous performance under "Once in A Livetime" live set CD where he made some voice flaws. Jordan Rudess? Oh man . I like his style of punching the small box "Kurzweil" that produces unbelievable sounds. With the design of his keyboard stand that can turn 360 degrees - it has made a nice watching pleasure for us as an audience. He plays in relax style with a small digital screen on top of his small box. John Myung is as usual - the quietest and shy guy but has always amazed me with his superb six string bass guitar work. Mike Portnoy plays his drums and percussion with a very energetic style - sometimes he stands up and moves around two drum sets on stage. It makes a fascinating look in a rock show! John Petrucci demonstrates his much mature and technically skillful guitar work. Unfortunately he has a hair cut so he does not seem like "rocking" with this hair style. But, his guitar playing is top notch!

In "Beyond This Life" there is an improvisation part commenced with Myung's dynamic bass line followed with Petrucci's guitar solo augmented with drums / percussion works by Portnoy and keyboard. Petrucci demonstrates his various styles with interesting time signatures; sometimes in staccato and fast paced style. The tempo then moves faster at the end of Petrucci's solo that remarks the beginning of Rudess keyboard solo accompanied with drum solo. This improvisation part is really great. I sometime get this track repeated for the sake of this improvisation part.

"Instrumeddley" - as the name implies consists of excerpts from their album. Spanning from "Scenes From A Memory " - "Awake" - "Images and Words" - "Change of a Season" - some neo classical music in fast tempo - "When Day and Dream unite" - and a project Liquid Tension Experiment ("Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind") - "Falling Into Infinity". This long piece has provided enough break for LaBrie.

Despite a wonderful live show featured in disc 1, I also enjoy the documentary section in disc 2. The most memorable part is when Petrucci plays his electric guitar "unplugged" with Jordan Rudess plays his fingers like he plays a real keyboard to accompany Petrucci's guitar. What a wonderful shot this one is! Also, I enjoy when Mike Portnoy describes what he means as "progressive rock" genre. Well, we know it, this genre is the most difficult one to define. There are so many differing views about what "prog" is all about. But, I like the way how Portnoy defines it - of course based on his opinion that may be subjective. That's the beauty of having progressive mind: we tolerate others' opinion.

On audience of the show, I don't think this is the best audience for rock show. I have seen RUSH in Rio's audience or ANGRA's Rebirth live audience or IRON MAIDEN's Rock in Rio audience are much much better and dynamic than the audience of Budokan.. Yes, they do headbanging but most of them have a clean haircut - so it's not interesting to watch, actually. And I think this DVD's director is smart for not shooting much on the audience part. On audio and picture quality - top notch!

Highly recommended! Keep on Progging! GW, Indonesia.

Review by erik neuteboom
2 stars In the past I had heard Dream Theater a few times but I concluded that they sounded impressive but it was not my taste. Due to the floods of DT reviews these days I decided to give them a new change. So I went to a friend and asked him to show me this DVD. Again I was impressed, these musicians are so talented, at the level of a technical squad like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes of ELP. But the music of DT evokes scenes of a circus: a man puts his head in the mouth of a lion, ladies are jumping through burning rings and high above acrobats are walking on a rope without a net under them. It's thrilling, ecxiting and breathtaking but when I've seen these tricks a few times it starts to become boring and I want to say 'goodbey'' to the circus! This is a metaphor for the music of DT: breathtaking scale-acrobatics, magnificent interplay, splendid keyboard-sounds and lots of great shifting moods but after a while I need a break, then I come to the conclusion that I respect their music, their fans and their hugh influence on progressive music but I prefer prog with more emotion, more variety in instruments and more warm tension between mellow and bombastic parts. A matter of taste!
Review by Vanwarp
4 stars Finally, a Dream Theater DVD with excellent production and sound values! Live At Budokan was recorded on April 26, 2004, at the famous Budokan theater in Tokyo, Japan. The DVD includes two discs, the first being the bands' live performance and the second disc includes about one hour of bonus material. Not bad, not bad at all. So, lets have a look at what these video recordings feature exactly.

Disc One: 2h48m

The show opens with but a few small flashing lights at the front of the stage, some keyboard music is building up, the album cover for Train of Thought appears on three very large video screens, John Myung starts playing the bass harmonics of "As I Am" and the rest of the band soon follows with what was in my view, one of the best performances of the night.

Sure, there are many very cool moments during the show and almost every song has it's moments so to speak, but what impressed me and what will impress you may be two different things altogether. OK, I'll share a few of my highlights with you:

Take the last couple of minutes of "This Dying Soul", this was an extended version of course but these guys are so freakin' tight, not of this world I tell you. And at the 36 minute mark when Jordan Ruddess (keyboards) and Mark Portney (drums) share the spotlight together, just an awesome moment during the bands rendition of "Beyond This Life." A more acoustic version of "Hollow Years" arrived just in time and was a welcome change of pace, just an excellent performance! Five songs into the show and we're already at the 57 minute mark. That's progressive music for you.

Another highlight for me was the "Instrumedley" which included passages from all of their instrumentals including bits from "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind" by Liquid Tension Experiment.

The camera work for the show was bang on. Many of the shots accentuated the performances of all the individual band members, as it should be when one views the unbelievable virtuosity and technical proficiency of the band as a whole.

One of the minor complaints I have is with James Labrie's vocal performance. Although he is in fine form, the subtitles are necessary if you want to make out everything he's singing about. To the untrained ear (and mine as well), it sounds like Labrie is harmonizing many of his parts. With the subtitles, everything just appears to make more sense. You'll have to try it with and without for yourself to see what I mean.

Another thing you'll notice with Dream Theater is that they always end their songs very energetically. And that's not a bad thing. It only makes one realize how big these guys could be if they played popular music and conformed to the demands of the mainstream masses. Thank God for individuality!

Another thing you'll notice is that Dream Theater play flawlessly and what you hear on their albums is basically what you hear when they play live with a few exceptions such as the more acoustic flavored "Hollow Years" and some extended moments included here and there on several of the tracks.

Because Petrucci, Ruddess and Portney all have segments in the bonus material, I thought I would talk about John Myung a little bit here. John - bass player extraordinaire - mostly plays a Yamaha 6 string bass (TRB?) and occasionally with a 12 string Chapman Stick Touchboard. This guy is so amazing, so calm, so cool during the entire show...awesome performance John. Just thought I'd let everybody know...

With disc one you can choose to play the entire show or select songs one at a time. You can also choose to play it in stereo mode or in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. For those so equipped, the choice is obvious... :)

Disc 2:

The bonus material on disc two is worth the price of the DVD alone. It is divided in 6 separate sections that I will gladly take you through one at a time.

1. "Riding The Train of Thought" - Japanese Tour Documentary - Length: 30m

The documentary takes you along their 3 city tour of Japan between April 22nd and the 26th, 2004. They played one show in Nagoya, two in Osaka and the one they recorded their live show at in Tokyo.

Some of the information we get to see is quite revealing such as the pre-show warm-up rituals that each member goes through are really great. You get to see Ruddess playing silently on a keyboard, Portney warming up by drumming away on a padded chair, Petrucci playing guitar with a small miniature practice amp helping Labrie figure things out one hour before the show...priceless!

One of the interesting points Portney makes is that the band tries hard not to repeat itself while also trying to remain faithful to the Dream Theater sound. Also, I think Japan holds a special place for Dream Theater as this was one of the first markets that embraced them with open arms.

It was also nice to see that drum extraordinaire Mark Portney was human after all, even though his playing is really not of this world, as he suffers from tendonitis after each show.

Interesting footage of a wide variety of fans are included for those interested in stuff like that. Overall, a very interesting documentary.

2. John Petrucci - Guitar World

One of the first things you learn is that since they use earphones and have no use for floor monitors anymore, he had these metal foot stands made up so he could sit his guitar up on his leg which helps him keep proper technique (classical guitar position) while he goes through more difficult parts in his music and solos.

The other interesting thing you learn is that he uses this massive floorboard - SKRYDSTRUP RGD / SG-1 System Controller - designed by a builder from Denmark. The floorboard allows him to pre-program every song. Everything is documented and backed up on his personal computer as well.

Petrucci uses two Road Kings to power his Mesa Boogie 4x12 cabinets for his Lead and Rhythm sounds. He also uses 2x12 Mesa Boogie Cabinets for his clean sounds but did not reveal what exactly he's using to power those speakers, referring to it as "this rig here" but failing to show it on camera. He travels with 15 guitars but only appears to use 3 or 4 during a show. For those who don't know this information, he plays Ernie Ball Music Man 6 string and 7 string signature guitars.

3. Jordan Ruddess - Keyboard World

Ruddess plays one keyboard while on tour. He uses a Kurzweil K2600 that is mounted up on a stand that spins around. He does use a synthesizer that is hooked up to his Kurzweil and therefor he can access it with his primary keyboard. Very cool.

He has a few things of his own like a personal volume knob to control the sound in his earphones and a Master Volume control for his Kurzweil keyboard. He uses a wah peddle on occasion and everything - all of his sounds - are controlled with one single peddle. And because of the complex keyboard world that he lives in he also uses a music pad "for those little reminders." This is all so very cool.

4. Mike Portney - Drum Solo

Because they didn't think they would have the time to include his drum solo during the live recorded show at Budokan, they recorded his solo on April 23rd in Osaka, Japan.

During his 12 minute enthusiastic performance, Portney selects a couple of fans from the audience to come up and play along with him. This genuine appreciation for the fans is in part what makes him so special, you gotta love this guy.

5. The Dream Theater Chronicles - 2004 Tour Opening Video

This little segment includes live and video footage that dates back to 1985. Nice little added feature here for those not fortunate enough to have seen the live show.

6. Instrumedley - Multiangle Bonus

The "Instrumedley" is perhaps the highlight of the Live at Budokan show. So including a multiangle of the bands performance is a very nice treat indeed. You get a drum angle, keyboard angle, guitar angle, stage left angle and normal view.

Concluding Remarks:

This DVD package is a must for those who want to view the performances of four of the most accomplished virtuosos in the business today. Get it so you can see those precious little moments that one can only experience during or at band rehearsals. If you're a DT fan get it for the live show, and if not, get it for the bonus material. Flawless performances from beginning to end.

Review by Yanns
4 stars Basically my favorite live DVD, ever.

The editing and production of this live concert DVD is just about better than any other, ever, anywhere. It is, quite simply, mind-blowing. For every solo, there are pristine camera shots on the player and his instrument. And, between all that, the shifts and the focuses are all done smoothly and truly unbelievably.

Of course, this is all not to mention the band and the playing itself. Just to let you all know, for every band I've ever heard, I have always preferred the studio stuff to the live stuff. That doesn't change for Dream Theater. Yet, it's pretty cool to see one of your favorite bands playing some of your favorite songs onstage (especially at the Budokan, I mean, come on), with all the energy you could imagine. And it just amazes me that they still play, for the most part, as tight as they do on the studio albums, with all the virtuosity.

And now, all of THIS is not to mention Disc Two. Now this is some cool stuff. The main attraction here is the Japanese Tour Documentary. Riding the Train of Though, as it's called, shows Dream Theater playing the 4 shows they performed in Japan, 2004, the last one being the one at the Budokan. Really, really, really cool. Seeing the members of the band acting like human beings is a pretty awesome experience, as opposed to their image of crazy instrumentalists.

There is also, on Disc Two, the Drum Solo from one of the Japan shows, a little tour of Petrucci's Guitar World, and the same for Rudess's Keyboard World, all three of which are truly enjoyable. Unique idea for a drum solo, too. The other two features are a alternate-angled view of the Instrumedley (also enjoyable, given the song) and a video documenting Dream Theater from their start in 1986 until then in 2004. Now that's an interesting view, seeing Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, and John Myung, 20 years younger.

The ONLY thing holding me back from giving this DVD 5 stars is some careful consideration: thinking about the albums I consider to be 5 stars, I just can't put it in the same league as albums like Wish You Were Here, Thick As A Brick, and this band's own Metropolis Part 2. But, my recommendation is, if you enjoy music, you buy this DVD. 4 (but kinda should be 5)/5 stars.

Review by imoeng
5 stars Dream Theater Live At Budokan

For me, it's the best DVD from Dream Theater, so far. There are two DVDs in a package, which in the first DVD, you will see the best concert ever and in the second DVD is the bonus material: behind the concert, rig review, etc. You will probably enjoy this DVD so much, even though you are not a progressive fans, because all of my friends, who are not very much into progressive, love this DVD! And since then I started to feed them with other Dream Theater CDs.

Dream Theater has come to Japan since 1992, and always presents great concerts (I always read the reviews of the concerts!). Anyway, in 2004, they were invited to make a concert in a "legendary venue", the Budokan.

The first DVD consists of 18 tracks. As I Am and This Dying Soul are the first two tracks which add the energy of the concert. The next song is Beyond This Life, which in this song, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy, once again, improvised the song, from great to best, very progressive. After this amazing metal song, Hollow Years was played, and WHOA!!! Once again, John Petrucci improvised the solo, which is very great and beautiful. For me, nothing compares to this improvised solo, he is just truly a real virtuoso. Next is two songs from 6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, which are War Inside My Head and The Test That Stumped Them All, followed by Endless Sacrifice from Train Of Thought. Now here it is, an amazing medley, Instrumedley, which is more like a history of Dream Theater journey by playing all instrumental section of each single album. Scenes From A Memory - Awake - Images and Words - Change of a Season - When Day and Dream unite - Liquid Tension Experiment (although John Myung was not in it!) and Falling Into Infinity. Until now, I keep wondering where they got enough stamina to play this medley. Other to notice is the Keyboard Solo by Jordan Rudess, which played amazing keyboard effects with his ultimate skill of playing keyboard. The concert was ended with Pull Me Under and In The Name Of God.

In the second DVD, we get the sneak peak of the concert, through Riding The Train Of Thought. Now I cannot explain this part because it is really a "behind the concert" concept. Another thing which is great is The Dream Theater Chronicles, which shows their journey from the Majesty time in 1985 until now. Too bad, John Myung didn't make his "bass world" that could explain more about him and his bass world : ). On the other hand, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess made their own worlds so we can "understand" or at least get to know how they can get their amazing sounds.

Five Giant Star, for the whole concert and for the songs in it. Now for those of you who haven't bought this album, I strongly recommend to buy it, as soon as possible. Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Review by sleeper
5 stars I've had the triple CD for several years now so when I bought the Live At Budokan DVD I knew what I was getting. We all know that this band is a technical tour de force but listening to it is one thing and seeing them perform it is quite another. This very much blew my mind.

The first thing that you notice on starting this DVD is the scale of the venue, The Budokan is massive, I didn't know prog bands could fill such stadiums anymore but DT has succeeded. But enough of the venue, what of the show, and boy do these guys know haw to put on a show. Anyone that has read my review of the CD Live At Budokan will know that I loved it, and the performance translates to the DVD very well. What this adds is (obviously) the visuals, with lighting used well to illustrate the mood and feeling of the songs and the big screens behind the band are used extremely well to either show some of the music videos that the band have made in the past (like the one for Pull Me Under) or to show a landscape, montage of images and videos and other CGI images to complement the songs with the lighting.

Its also worth noting that, though there are still some songs that I don't like (most notably This Dying Soul), being able to see what the band is doing helps me to find a new level of admiration for some parts of songs. The two songs that benefit from this most are Beyond This Life and the Keyboard solo. You just appreciate what's happening more when you can see it, and you can also see just how much the band is getting into this performance, something that is very important to making a good performance.

This is a stunning show were the band go all out to prove just how good they are at what they do, and you can see that they are thoroughly enjoying it as well, a 5 star DVD.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The dvd counterpart for Live at Budokan is a wonderful live set that totally beats Metropolis 2000 in terms of audio and video presentation, as well as bonus features. The only thing that it doesn't beat Metropolis 2000 in is set list, which is because they don't play Learning to Live, A Mind Beside Itself, or A Change of Seasons here. But what's played here (as I said in my Budokan review) is played perfectly and doesn't detract, but in most cases improves on the original version in sonic quality, but as I said in my Budokan review, there isn't much innovation or much added on to the songs, except a select few. The sound quality on this dvd is nice, with a wide array of audio options to choose from, and the video is crisp and of a high-quality, it's a lot better in terms of video quality than Metropolis 2000, felt amateurish.

The first disc is comprised of the entire Budokan concert, which clocks in at nearly three hours. It opens with an extended introduction showing the vastness of the audience and that the hall was almost filled to capacity that night. You'll notice during crowd shots that not much moshing or headbanging goes on, they really pay attention to the musicians and the songs that are being played rather than the surrounding audience environment. The entire performance plays out exactly as I wrote in my review of the cd, only this time you get to see the musicans performing. There's a nice balance of shots for each musician. You get a nice perspective from Portnoy's view and his large drumset, you get nice shots of Petrucci shredding up and down the fretboard, Myung's shots are the most few and far between, but the shots of him presented show him at his best... which essentially is moving his hair back from his face and looking pretty much at the floor. The only error noticeable in the first disc is that in the middle of Trial of Tears there is a brief pause from the disc (maybe it's my version but I've read about it happening to others as well). In the end, this disc is a great show and it really is one of the best produced progressive metal dvds, or even music dvds in general, ever made.

The second disc is comprised of bonus materials, ranging from a thirty minute documentary about the Japanese tour, to Mike Portnoy's drum solo, to a multi-angle version of the Instrumedley (in which you could watch any member of the band play the entire song with the camera focused on them the entire time). Also included are two mini features of John Petrucci's guitar set up, in which he shows us what he uses and how he uses them. Jordan Rudess also has a little video of his set up and how he can play entire songs that utilize many different sounds on just one keyboard. The drum solo from Mike Portnoy is rather cool, in which he invites two audience members to play on his massive kit (as well as a tom he walks onto a catwalk with). It brings another level to the audience participation concept.

In the end, the Live at Budokan dvd is a great set that you will watch over and over again. My only true gripe is that there is no commentary track to it, because I love the Dream Theater commentaries, they are insightful, and genuinely funny to listen to. 4.5/5.

Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars An average DVD highlighting what Dream Theater does best, run away with the notes. The "instrumedley" is proof of this more or less. The DVD is recorded very well, and the concert is well organized, with a good mixture of songs from their albums.

However, this almost serves better as an instructional DVD than a concert DVD, with the camera works constantly zoomed in on the fretboards. I would have hoped we had more in the "Behind the Scenes" footage, which really isn't behind much. Score would be the DVD to get by casual listeners and fans of the band alike.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars An exceptionally produced live concert ruined by the fact that it features the "Train of Thought" tour, this DVD would be great if the band didn't invest time playing almost the entire album.

Moreover, the Japanese crowd is seriously lifeless, with only a few dedicated metal-heads displaying any enthusiasm (many are wearing suits). Even worse-- and it pains me to say it-- are the sloppy vocals from James; towards the end of the concert he slurs most of the syllables in most of the songs and is almost unintelligible.

The real highlight comes from the instrumentalist's "Instrumentally", which is an outstanding example of the band's virtuosity. Additionally, there are some fun documentaries showing the band talk about touring life.

However, "Live at Budokan" is easily a lesser live album, and fans really only need the more recent, higher quality "Score" to get a better idea of the band's talents.

Setlist 2 Instrumental Performances 3 Stage Energy 2 Live Experience 2

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars I can't get enough of DT's DVDs. They are just so great! You get to see the masters at work, close up and everything. Every show is a new experience, an admirable aspect of the group among many. Live at Budokan features a cool jam in "Beyond This Life" and a medley of instrumental passages called "Instrumedley," which is quite fun. You also get a bunch of other great songs. The production is great; you get great angles and sound. The bonus material has some interesting footage, but obviosuly the main feature of this DVD is what you're paying for and what you'll be watching. It's great to throw on for yourself or for friends. A must have!
Review by ProgBagel
5 stars Dream Theater - Live at Budokan 5 stars

This is my favorite DVD of all time. You are in for a nearly 3 hour live set in the period where the music and technicality was most demanding of Dream Theater's history. This was an absolutely flawless performance from these four virtuosos and singer. There are a total of 18 songs played; this is prog we are talking about too! Dream Theater also decided to explore a bit and add an extra 8 minutes to 'Beyond this Life' and create the glorious 'Instrumedley'. The sound and picture quality are some of the best I've seen from live DVDs.

Most of 'Train of Thought' is played on this DVD except for 'Honor Thy Father' and 'Vacant', which are the odd ones out on the album anyway. Finally, there are the best tracks from 'Falling Into Infinty' on this set, such as the great ballad featuring an amazing guitar solo on 'Hollow Years', the experimental 'New Millenium' and one of my all-time favorites 'Trial of Tears'. From 'Six Degrees' we get some of more praised tracks from the suite which are 'War Inside my Head', 'The Test that Stumped them All', 'Goodnight Kiss' and 'Solitary Shell'. If you are missing some of your favorite tracks, you can probably find you favorite section of it on the 10-minute 'Instrumedley' song. Wow, what an amazing track list! Other songs include 'Only a Matter of Time' from the debut, 'Disappear' from 'Six Degrees' and the most well known song, 'Pull me Under'. Every song was preformed with no mistakes and LaBrie has some good and bad moments which is nothing out of the ordinary.

It took me a while to watch the second disc.I didn't care for it because I would rather spend 3 hours watching the awesome concert again. It gives some typical footage of the album 'Train of Thought' when it was in the works. Plus some of John Petrucci's Guitar World tape, Jordan Rudess's Keyboard World tape and a hilarious drum solo by Mike Portnoy, where he takes members from the audience to play with favorite. There is also a tour video and Multi-angle version of 'Instrumedley', which is also pretty interesting.

I can recommend this to anyone that does or doesn't have a Dream Theater album to see what the band is all about. Technical wizardry at work here is with no flaws. I can't imagine what the people in the audience were going through while watching this perfect performance.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the first DVDs I saw of Dream Theater before the onslaught of DVDs that have come since. This is an early performance and of considerable interest as a result. These were the glory days of Dream Theater ramming prog down the throats of the hungry Budokan fans. It is an incredible performance best seen than heard though the audio experience offers much as a type of Dream Theater concoction of the best of the earlier years. The CD is good listening but the visual persentation is incredible.

There are a few odd surprises scattered in the mammoth set list but the classics are here and played to perfection. Beyond This Life is a huge epic clocking 19:37, and with some dynamic lead guitar from Petrucci. The Test That Stumped Them All is always a killer track live and sounds fresh and powerful with huge bass runs of Myung and Portnoy's slamming percussion.

Endless Sacrifice is an 11 minute gruelling journey into prog excess with a wild keyboard section from Rudess. The Instrumedley to follow features some awesome musicianship. LaBrie is in fine form on soaring vocals, and shines on such compositions as the 14 minute Trial Of Tears and New Millennium. It is always a pleasure to experience a Jordan Rudess keyboard solo and it is as inventive here as ever. There are some amazing songs such as Solitary Shell, Stream Of Consciousness and quintessential Pull Me Under. The set closes with epic 16 minute In The Name Of God. So overall this is a great set with power metal and tons of instrumental breaks. It is progressive and packed to the gills with mind bending virtuoso solos and material from some of their best albums. It was the "Train of Thought" tour so there is plenty from that album as well as "Six Degrees" and "Images and Words" among others.

The special features are wonderful featuring 'Riding The Train Of Thought" a Japanese Tour Documentary of about half an hour, and John Petrucci Guitar World segment, Jordan Rudess Keyboard World, and a Mike Portnoy Drum Solo clocking 12 minutes. The Dream Theater Chronicles - 2004 Tour Opening Video is okay showing the video the crowd saw in the opening, and Instrumedley with multi-angles is lots of fun. Overall it is a fantastic DVD concert, and all Dream Theater fans must have it.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I usually don't like live ones, but when I manage to be atracted to one, it develops into a connection. I think that the "Live at Budokan" captures the intensity and creativity of the band at its peak. After Metropolis2, SDoIT and ToT, Dream Theater practically set out its limits within which the ... (read more)

Report this review (#523947) | Posted by aSimionescu | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It has quite a few good spots. The Instrumedley is incredible and the overall musicianship is great. I'm not usually a critic of LaBrie, but on this one, his lyrics just seem really irritating. "Pull Me Under" is only enjoyable when I can find the right EQ setting for Myung and Portnoy to d ... (read more)

Report this review (#115365) | Posted by kickflipthecat | Friday, March 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This DVD was a complete rollercoaster ride for me. I'm not the world's biggest DT fan, but I do love a couple albums (namely I&W, Scenes, Disc 2 or Six degrees and Octavarium) So i wasn't overly excited for this live show. The first half of teh show was excellent, they rocked out and were pl ... (read more)

Report this review (#108419) | Posted by proghairfunk | Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's a good DVD, yes, one of my favorite DT ones of all. I love it and have watched it several times. The crew plays with superior motive. James LaBrie's vocals are a little off but he is getting A LOT better, and Budokan shows it too. Sure everyone says is vocals live suck, but I'd have to say ... (read more)

Report this review (#93266) | Posted by Xeroth | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now THIS is the way to make a concert DVD! After the good but slightly dissapointing live DVD of 'Scenes From A Memory,' i was itching for more live Dream Theater, Budokan fits that bill quite nicely, and boy is the show a doozy! Since there is no story to be told on this DVD, the viewer is sp ... (read more)

Report this review (#83076) | Posted by Deadwing12 | Friday, July 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is probably Dream Theater's best live DVD. The show starts out with As I am from Thain of Thought, which is a good and heavy opener for the DVD. It then goes into this dying soul with mind-boggling heavy instrumental sections and cool lighting effects. In Beyond this Life there is an interes ... (read more)

Report this review (#76169) | Posted by MajesterX | Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you're a Dream Theater fan, you should already own this. It simply is superb. The first disc is a full near-three hour set, so you get to see a wide range of their songs played to perfection. Be warned, it focuses more on their more recent material, which is me is neither a good or bad thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#70051) | Posted by Degolas | Monday, February 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This review will be very short and poor, because 1) there is'nt so much to tell about this DVD what hasn't been already told, and 2) I'm not that good at english. Ok, first of all, this dvd is kick-ass stuff. It's setlist is nothing more than perfect, and the only song that I would want to trad ... (read more)

Report this review (#66853) | Posted by aksu | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is going to be a short and so sweet review, this is simply the best music dvd ive ever seen, everything about it is just so good, everyone knows how good the musicians are and to see them play for about 3 hours is like heaven, James has been critized before when it comes to a live vocal but ... (read more)

Report this review (#66851) | Posted by | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is probably the best Live recording Dream Theater have ever done. Apart from the incredible sound and picture quality of the DVD, the guys are absolutely awesome in this. As I Am starts off the concert with a bang and it only gets better from there. Highlights are definately the Jam sessi ... (read more)

Report this review (#60746) | Posted by | Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This DVD & CD are both amazing. the best live performance i have ever seen ever... the songs the play are so bloody hard and they are so tight...the only obvious flaw is when JP misses his feedback spot at the start of "As I Am". The amazing solos he shreds are perfect he even his a little dem ... (read more)

Report this review (#38437) | Posted by | Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A few alterations in the set list and this DVD may have deserved 5 stars. I would have rather seen more selections from "Six degrees..", "Awake", and "Images..", and fewer from "Falling Into Infinity". There are also a few weak deliveries that Keep this DVD from attaining that 5th star, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#33139) | Posted by Siddartha | Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perfect! Two thumbs up! Excellent! A must have collection for any Dream Theater fans! Disc 1: Their performances are top notch! Especially in "Instrumedley". Wow! How the hell can they do it? The direction and editing are great! Far better than "Metropolis 2000 - Scenes from New York" DVD. Dis ... (read more)

Report this review (#33133) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For the fans this DVD solves many doubts about like they can put in scene the tremendous album Train of Trhough, is very heavy, as always innovator playing different trucks. "As I am" it is the great departure and they don't stop, "This Dying Soul" it is a great topic...and they can play ... (read more)

Report this review (#33131) | Posted by | Monday, December 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic! I've been a Dream Theater fan for quite some time now, and I've seen countless video bootlegs of their performances, and I've always thought - "Wow! That's just amazing". When watching the 'Live Scenes From New York' DVD, I was amazed at how spot-on everything was, and how James L ... (read more)

Report this review (#33129) | Posted by karansaraf | Friday, October 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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