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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.34 | 411 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So after Dream Theater's somewhat underwhelming effort Falling Into Infinity, they did the subsequent tour which would have them playing all over the world and in a variety of festivals and other unique types of occasions. This live album, taped in Paris on what would be the last show of the tour (and Derek Sherinian's last show with Dream Theater). This album would also show Dream Theater at their most fun with little bits of cover songs coming into play during select pieces (and I'll get to those when the time comes around). Now the set played here is a nice balance of the newer Falling Into Infinity material and some old classics, add in a couple of individual member solos and you have yourself in a brief word this live album.

The first disc opens with the first two sections of A Change of Seasons before going into Puppies on Acid (which is the main riff to the song The Mirror before the vocals come in). The first song that gets a real change is Take the Time, which is played note for note perfect until the end when they tag on the solo section to Lynyrd Skynyrd'sFree Bird and concludes with the riff to Led Zeppelin's drum epic Moby Dick. From these bits you can hear a band having a blast up on stage even if tensions were high (as Portnoy was really frustrated with what was going on and he almost quit the group). Derek Sherinian's Piano solo is actually just an introduction to Lines in the Sand, as he plays the main theme to the song on the grand piano before moving onto the synthesizers. Lines in the Sand is spectacular on this album, with some great performances from everyone, including LaBrie (who is hit and miss on this album). In the middle of the Ytse Jam Portnoy gets a drum solo, which isn't really that engaging or exciting, but it shows Mike's skills pretty nicely to say the least.

The second disc opens with a great rendition of Trial of Tears and then the set turns to an acoustic section that has Hollow Years and Take Away My Pain (the latter of which is one of the only two songs that Myung plays stick on). The acoustic songs are played nicely, although the mix here is a little bit underwhelming. Of the second disc, other things worth mentioning are Peruvian Skies, which has sections of Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar in the beginning and sections of Metallica's Enter Sandman towards the end (it's amazing how well both of those songs fit into the piece itself). It segues into John Petrucci's guitar solo, which has him playing everything from The Flight of the Bumblebee to Paradigm Shift (with Portnoy on drums, respectively) before going into a rousing version of Pull Me Under. The finale to the album is a three part medley that combines Metropolis Part 1 with Learning to Live and The Crimson Sunset section of A Change of Seasons. In all, Dream Theater were never a medley type group (and you can hear John Petrucci's sentiments on medleys in general in the commentary for the Once In a Livetime dvd, which is actually hilarious), but this isn't bad at all and is actually quite nice.

In the end, I think Dream Theater's Once in a Livetime is an excellent live album (as is the case with most Dream Theater live albums) that combines many different elements of the group's eclectic style and gives it a spin for the better. Their next live album, though, would ultimately be one of my absolute favorite live albums ever so that one, Live Scenes from New York, would be the best Dream Theater live album to begin with. This one, though, you shouldn't disappointed with. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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