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Dream Theater - Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.36 | 139 ratings

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5 stars As a long time Dream Theater fan, there's a certain level of performance I've come to expect from Dream Theater when it comes to live shows, and while they certainly reach this level on Breaking the Fourth Wall, I think I have to start out by saying that this is absolutely the best vocal performance I've EVER heard from James Labrie. (Get ready for a rare Labrie love fest from me)

I became a Dream Theater fan in 2003. I was teaching private guitar lessons after school to make gas money for my car and one of my students handed me Awake and Train of Thought and told me that I was going to like them... I did. Since then, I've seen Dream Theater nearly every time they've come through the southeast U.S. and even went up to New York for the filming of their 20th anniversary Score DVD. I've stuck with DT through the good and the bad, but this is, IMO, their best live performance to date, and the only reason it's not perfect is because Mike Portnoy isn't featured...

Anyway, the first half of the show focuses on Dream Theater's last three albums: Black Clouds, Dramatic Turn of Events, and the self-titled album (And, randomly, Trial of Tears). While I could've done without The Shattered Fortress (Nightmare to Remember would've been better!), the song selection from these albums was fantastic, highlighting some of their best songs of this modern era of DT without repeating too many songs from Live at Luna Park, which seems like it just came out (it did). If you haven't given DT's newer stuff much of a chance, this is a very good chance to watch, listen, and determine whether or not you can truly get into it. The musicianship on the first half is amazing and James Labrie seems pretty much perfect.

Oh, speaking of Labrie, my friends and I were taking a drink whenever James Labrie did something particularly amazing because we could tell very early on in the set that he was sounding stronger than ever... By the end of the first half of the set we were fairly inebriated. What would happen next, none of us were prepared for...

The second half of the set focuses on two albums: Awake and Scenes From a Memory, two of DT's most monumental and critically acclaimed albums. The first two songs, The Mirror/Lie destroyed the night for my friends and I. What I mean by that is, Labrie sounded so ridiculously better than any time I've ever heard him perform these songs, even on the studio albums, that we wound up taking several rounds of triple shots to affirm his awesomeness during these two songs.

Needless to say, we didn't finish the DVD that night, but when we did, we enjoyed the rest of a great set of DT classics. If you've been waiting for years to hear Labrie nail vocals on your favorite Awake and Scenes songs, your wait is over; Labrie sounds better than ever. It's not just the fact that he's hitting the notes, or that he's doing it with clarity, or that he's doing it with confidence... He's doing all of those things, but he's got an attitude on stage, too. Labrie seems every bit as aware as I was of how great he sounded on stage. I've never seen Labrie own the stage like he does in this DVD, and I've seen DT more than ten times live now.

So, I've spent most of this review praising Labrie... You should know that Petrucci sounds great like normal, though his tone on some of the older songs seems out of place. Myung needed to be louder, but he does what he always does and plays a solid show. Rudess seems to fit in better with the newer music from the last three albums than he does with DT's older stuff, so he really shines in the first half of the set. He still does fine in the second half, but doesn't sound quite as good. Mangini is a wonderfully talented drummer and does as good a job as anyone could hope to do filling Mike Portnoy's shoes. Like Rudess, he sounds better on the recent songs, probably because when he plays the classics I'm comparing what he does to what Portnoy did and my brain can't accept anything differently.

All in all, this is, IMO, the best live DVD Dream Theater has ever put out. If you lost faith in James Labrie, this will restore it. If you never liked him to begin with, you probably will after watching this. And of course I say DVD throughout this review, but I purchased the Bluray. The quality is great, but I'm not well-versed enough in the nerdom of audio/video quality to give any relevant comments.

If you like DT, get this DVD. If you live good music, get this DVD. If you like redemption stories (Labrie, who has been bashed for quite a while), get this DVD.

Get this DVD.

TheMasterMofo | 5/5 |


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