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Dream Theater - Live Scenes From New York CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.56 | 587 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In the pantheon of superb live albums, Dream Theater's Live Scenes from New York is among the top live albums I've heard in my mind. The setlist is superb, the musicianship is superb, the overall audio quality (which is very raw) is superb, the whole set totally exceeded my expectations when I bought it. Throughout the three discs of pure live excellence, one cannot help but feel amazed that a band can play like this live, as well as for a set this long (this one clocking in at near 4 hours). What you'll find here is the entire album Scenes from a Memory, with some live additions here and there, as well as a comprehensive and diverse set of songs from their previous albums (plus a Liquid Tension Experiment song thrown in the mix), and more often than not, the representations of the songs on this set totally exceed their studio counterparts in quality (rarely can a band do that, but in my opinion Dream Theater do that here).

The first disc and the first three songs of the second disc of this live set is the album Scenes from a Memory in its entirety. If you're expecting a note for note replication of this album, you'll be in for a surprise. There are many little added bits and live additions to this album, such as the John Petrucci solo (w/ Theresa Thompson giving wordless vocals along side him) that bridges Beyond This Life With Through Her Eyes, as well as little guitar additions to Beyond this Life, the extended outro to The Spirit Carries On (which was totally improvised), and the little live tag at the end of Finally Free that ends the live rendition of the album on a totally menacing note. The musicianship on this first disc is incredible and it's hard to imagine that they performed this album in its entirety for most of the tour itself.

The second set that occurs after Scenes finishes is the real meat of the performance. The opening rendition of Metropolis, Pt. 1 is only a taste of what is to come. I like this version more than the studio album save for the bass solo, which sounds too muddled and effect driven than the clean version of the studio counterpart. Other than that though, it's a perfect rendition of this Dream Theater staple. Other live highlights are The Mirror, which has a great extended Petrucci solo and is a lot meatier than the studio counterpart. Just Let Me Breathe is the only song on this set that is essentially the same as the studio song, there is no real addition or little fringe that seperates it from the bunch. For fun, they throw in a snippet of Liquid Tension Experiment's Acid Rain, it's a pretty cool rendition with some cool vocal during the drum break down.

Caught in a New Millenium is a brilliant combination of Caught in a Web and New Millenium (and you can hear Petrucci play some Paradigm Shift in the choruses). It's another live concoction from the group and it comes off terribly well. Superb stuff here. Another Day features some great sax from Jay Beckenstein and is much better than the I&W counterpart. The second disc ends with a 6 minute keyboard solo from Rudess, who shows his piano skills as well as his synthesizer skills quite well. Although it drags a bit, I really like this solo, it's better than the one on Budokan. The third disc is my favorite of this collection, it's where the group pulls out all the stops. Beginning with A Mind Beside Itself in its entirety (indexed as individual tracks, though), the group stomps and performs this song quite well, especially the group performance of The Silent Man at the End, with a nice piano/guitar trade-off solo.

Learning to Live also sees some improvements, with some great reggae style guitar from Petrucci in the middle as well as some great clean guitar work from him throughout. I actually prefer this version of the song to the studio counterpart, it's more dynamic and more enjoyable, in my opinion. The third disc is ended with an all out version of A Change of Seasons. Petrucci on this track is only one word: superb. The rest of the group is spectacular, especially during The Darkest of Winters instrumental section, where Myung performs the Major League Baseball "CHARGE!", Petrucci offers the Simpsons theme song, and Rudess offers a great ragtime piano ditty that totally surpasses Sherinian's studio ditty. It ends the concert in a grandiose and superb fashion and the group thanks the fans for the support throughout the entire show, and LaBrie jokes, "Sorry about the short set".

In the end, this is my favorite Dream Theater live album and it may be one of my favorite live albums of all time. It's right up there with Zappa in New York, Curtain Call, and Different Stages, in my opinion. I recommend this to all fans of live albums and progressive metal in general. 5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 5/5 |


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