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4 stars Perfection, really, you can't tell where or when the studio meets the auditorium... sometimes annoying, sometimes outstanding. You got to listen to it, to really got a jaw- droping expresion. Since Rudess arrived to DT, they have been pushing the boundries of perfection from time to time, however this time they really got it!!! an amazing performance that makes you think twice the commitment to this band, i mean you hate them or love them, a complete exposure of total "metal mayhem" (as the early 90's used to be)... The record sounds to "clean" and balanced without a flaw (even the background vocals of Portnoy and Petrucci sounds good)... the intercourses in some songs: BEYOND THIS LIFE and INSTRUMEDLEY are to die for, the kind of old prog used to be: a SHOW- OFF!. So, it doesen't matter if you like DT or not, grab a pair of headphones (beacuse if you hear it out loud the way is meant to be, your wife or your family or whoever might be around surelly take you out of your house!!!, is over 2:30 hours long...) and enjoy. Is the first record to feature at least one song from every album (quite shocking huh?) and is the first record to have a "prog essence in it", even if they aren't enough humble to accept it, and maybe we should. Anyway, for the hardcore fan this review is quite "useless" (you know what i mean), for the casual listener is a very, very heavy and loooong ride, thus, swallow it in small pieces, and for the PROG listener is a crusade that must be followed, beacuse THIS is one of the greatest concerts from the new millenium. And after such a "plethora" why i didn´t gave this record a 5 star status? well, beacuse a "live" record is not a critical-creative pond, is just the answer to the years of hard work... so forgive me for this, ok?. peace and enjoy
Report this review (#32818)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This live album is one of the best live albums ever, I havent heared this type of live album ever since the "metropolis 2000" album, this album is awesome, the begining is cool because of "as i am" and "this dying soul" with its unison that sounds incredible, they were in promotion of his new album, then beyond this life one of the greatest songs of DT, then the improv part I think, when Rudess an Mike show their improve skills!! great part, i also like the SDOIT parts the "test that stumped them all" sounds very cool and the outro part also, and the BEST THING LIVE I HAVE HEAR AND SEE is the "Instrumedley" when they make a mix of "the dance of eternity" one of the best song of DT, metorpolis, a change of seasons, erotomania, ytsejam, liquid tension stuff, and the end with hells kitchen sounds great! in this live album the 5 integrants shows too high skills specially Rudess and Myung, im not telling that Mike, John, and James dont play good, just that Muyng and Rudess played incredible, Jordan in her solo that I can die for, and John Myung in the instrumedley shows skills of one of the greatest bassists I have ever see. The instrumental song "stream of consiousness" is awesome do the extremely high solos of the guitar and the keyboards, but just the 1st half because the 2nd one where is the bass with a rythm is to bored and nothing to do with DT! but the other part is awesome. This is my first review and I hope that is good, buy this album and the dvd if u want to see great progressive metal in ur tv and stereo
Report this review (#32820)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, I'd like to give this 5 stars, because this is an incredibly good live album. The musicianship is top notch, the recording quality is the best you can get. And Dream Theater is the best band there is for this sort of stuff, and one of my favourite bands. Now don't get me wrong, because I'm gonna use the rest of this review on complaints!

You see, I was waiting for so much better this time. It seems that DT have a major problem in their hands and it's called "How Do You Live On When You Have Created An Unbeatable Masterpiece And Thereby Foreshadowed Your Career Forever?" And I do mean Scenes From A Memory. Of course I must give credit to these guys, because they didn't try to repeat that masterpiece. They chose some direction, and it was this more metallic, kick ass attitude, best represented on Train Of Thought.

But the question remains: Can they do a live album that will be regarded as the best of the genre, like they did in the studio with SFAM? Live Scenes From New York was a fantastic album, because it repeated all the SFAM material, and in many cases it was even better than the studio version. But the album was sort of divided between SFAM and the rest, and the rest of it was so much weaker. The next live album should find the perfect balance between SFAM material, new kick ass songs, and older classics.

It all starts good, the first two songs from ToT certainly wake you up, these guys are going to show you some chops! Beyond This Life is the highlight of this set, this is the way the SFAM material must be delivered: incredible extended guitar/keys/drums jam thing, with lots of Zappa influence. Unfortunately it's too early for the highlight, what about the rest of the night? Hollow Years is one of those U2-ish pre-Rudess songs that I personally don't like, but Petrucci takes the task and lifts this up with his hot solo. The following two short songs from Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence are OK.

Disc two starts with Endless Sacrifice, some more metal prog from ToT, and this really has the chances to become a new DT sing-along classic, a great tune! Instrumedley is the highlight of disc two, and oh boy it is unbelievable. There is no other band who could ever learn to play this stuff! But I disagree with a reviewer above, the snippets from different songs are not particularly well connected. There are a couple of clear endings, and then they continue with another one. But I'm not saying that it's the wrong way to do it, after all, when you start Paradigm Shift or Ytse Jam, it's gotta be recognizable! But when the guys are playing The Dance Of Eternity close to the end of this medley, there is some problem with balance or sound levels on my disc, has any body noticed this?

Then some more U2-ish songs, and now the momentum starts to fall significantly. The beginning of Trial of Tears is so terribly Floydish that it's even irritating. Lots of people have complained about Floydish influences on SFAM, but ther I was not bothered, because the material was so heavenly good. It could have been played with Status Quo influences and still become a masterpiece! But here I'm starting to fall asleep. Jordan plays a hell of a keyboard solo, but the momentum is gone. Only A Matter Of Time sounds terribly dated and out of place. If they really wanted to revive such an old song, why didn't they try A Vision? It would have been interesting to hear now.

Disc three has three short songs from 6DOIT, and they are all good. Labrie is so much better singer now than on Once In A Lifetime, for example, that it's not even funny. He can really squeeze some extra emotion out of the slower tunes here. But then again, they can never top the emotion created on the LSFNY version of The Spirit Carries On, with the gospel choir and everything. Actually you must feel sorry for the singer: how can he ever prove himself among these insane instrumentalists. After all, he's only got his throat to work with! Now comes the big mistake: Stream Of Consciousness is simply a boring song. I can't understand why it was included in ToT, which was supposed to kick ass every second of it! And now it gets repeated and it's not getting better! These guys playing a boring vamp over and over again, and doing nothing on top of it.

Then we have Pull Me Under and it's the great sing-along song just the way it's gotta be. But here it comes out of the blue after a ballad, and you haven't got that sing- along feeling going yet. This song should be preceded by something more elevating, like Take The Time or Learning To Live, or some nice surprise of a cover tune to raise the heat. After all, these guys can play anything, so why don't they play some real tricky Zappa instrumental, Redunzl, for example? Or Starless, or Heart Of The Sunrise. Or The Dance Of Eternity, if you don't want a cover.

The concert ends with In The Name Of God which is a good song, but lacks the special feeling of the grand finale. Here we should have Finally Free, with Mike going insane during the coda, now that I would call a proper way to end the show!

I'm sure you have got my point by now. The concert is good, the playing is terrific, but the set list leaves a lot to be desired. It's clear that there can't be too much SFAM material, because that would be regarded as repetition and therefore boring (which definitely can NOT be said about Beyond This Life!) Maybe it would make sense to release a double live CD? After all, it's hard to kick ass for three hours! A couple of covers could have saved the set. The time gap between Instrumedley and Pull Me Under is way too long. Anyway, it's very interesting to see where the guys are heading next. The perfect live album is still missing.

Report this review (#32823)
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Live at Budokan marks Dream Theater's third full-length, live album release, aside from the few official bootlegs that have been released on drummer Portnoy's YtseJam Records. Recorded at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan on April 26th, 2004 during touring in support of their 2003 album, Train of Thought. Live at Budokan is a three disc set, basically a documentation of a single live show. The setlist for the show, while not unexpected, provides for an interesting listening experience, but an undoubtedly more interesting live experience.

As such, Live at Budokan's first disc opens just as Train of Thought did. From the distance -- and growing ever closer -- is the sound that ends 2002's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, opening the album and, alongside John Myung's mesmerizing bass playing, introducing "As I Am." In typical Dream Theater fashion, the performance is immaculate, at times breaking away -- though usually only slightly -- from the recordeding on Train of Thought. Follow "As I Am" on both Train of Thought and Live at Budokan is "This Dying Soul," which proves to be another excellent reproduction of the album track, with the unique stylings that come when Dream Theater plays live.

It is not until the third track, "Beyond This Life" from Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory that Dream Theater displays the true power of the live experience they produce. The song is faithfully reproduced, including guitarist John Petrucci's complex, impossibly fast riffing, until the central solo comes around. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess and Petrucci interchanage solos as expected for a short time, when Rudess fades out, and Myung hammers out a riff repetitively, while Rudess, Petrucci, Portnoy, and occasionally Myung himself throw solos back and forth between the four musicians. These moments are what set Dream Theater's live albums apart from more the bland recordings of more traditional bands -- they are obviously not afraid to improvise and display both their technical and stylistic skills. Somehow, as if by miracle, the band takes this extended jam and transforms it back into the ending three minutes of "Beyond This Life," almost shocking the audience into realization that, all this while, these outstanding musicians kept the rest of the song in the back of their minds.

Following the extreme complexity and intensity that was exhibited in their performance of "Beyond This Life," Dream Theater slows the pace of the concert with the calm "Hollow Years." In his usual fashion, Petrucci's guitar solo is extended and complexified, giving the song an entirely new meaning. "Hollow Years" also gives vocalist James LaBrie a chance to display his powerful, melodic voice that has helped to carve nearly fifteen years of Dream Theater's musical history.

The twelve minute "Instrumedly" could easily be considered the most interesting musical point of Live at Budokan, consisting heavily of moments from Scenes From A Memory's "The Dance of Eternity," as well as from, among others, "Metropolis, Part 1," "Erotomania," and the Liquid Tension Experience piece "Paradigm Shift," not to mention an ultimately humorous interpretaion of "Heart and Soul" by Rudess.

Live at Budokan helps to raise the standard for what a live album should consist of. The quality of the recording is markedly pristine: LaBrie's vocals are crisp and clear, the open quality of Portnoy's drumming makes itself heard throughout the album, Rudess's dramatic keyboard playing flies through the sonic ambience of the crowd, Myung's visceral bass rhythms provide an excellent backing for the pieces, making themselves heard while not overwhelming listeners, and Petrucci's large, epic riffs cut through the mix like a knife through hot butter. Live at Budokan is easily Dream Theater's most successful live album to date, in all of its three-disc glory. As Dream Theater's sole official release for 2004, this release both appeases fans and gives casual listeners nearly three hours of solid music, a rarity in music. If anything, this album is a demonstration of the influence and power Dream Theater will likely have for many years to come.

Report this review (#32824)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The DVD is way better but the cd is still damn good too. The band play to their best abilities. The only flaws on this album are that the tracklist is split up into 3 discs which can be annoying, the DVD has em all on one disc and each individual disc loses some of its amazingness this way.

I have also noticed that sometimes there can be a little too much emphasis on the drums on a few tracks. probably on "As I Am", "This Dying Soul", "Pull Me Under" and "In the Name of God" where i noticed this most. Sometimes Petrrucci and Labrie can get drowned out a bit yet it is still very listenable and enjoyable. Those are about the only flaws on this 3 cd package.

The "Falling Into Infinity" tracks are much more enjoyable here. "Hollow Years" being the best yet i thought "New Millenium" sounded way better here. A lot darker sounding and heavier as well. I highly recommend this and the DVD as it is an essential Dream Theater purchase. I think even those who didnt like "Train of Thought" (i don't know why, it is just an incredible album!) will enjoy the live versions. The boys, once again, haven't failed to please.

Report this review (#32826)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I have reviewed the DVD version, listening to the CD is for me another part of enjoyment as well. The beauty of live set CD after we've seen the video is that we can resonate the sound and associate with what sort of act the band played during the show through our mind. I don't think that I need to discuss into greater details about this live set package that contains 3 discs.Sometimes, I enjoy the DVD without turning my screen on so that I got the sound only. The only complaint I have with this CD package is its digipak package that does not provide a support to hold the disc. My experience with this kind of design has made some scratch on CD surface. This also happen with my Pink Floyd The Wall live. So, I packed the disks separately in other jewel.

Musically, it's an excellent live set! Keep on Progging! GW, Indonesia.

Report this review (#32827)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hello, Proggers!

There are two important hinks here. The first is the highly musicianship and technique master that the band has reached,DAMN they can play every repertoire they want!! and i think if they've reached that level is just because they love what they play and when you love to do something you can do it easily without any constraint, the key as Mr.Hendrix said: "All that matter is the FEELING" and DT feel their music within every note played. no matter the setlist or the order of the songs as soon as you have the possibility to listen, rather to ENJOY another version of the previous songs, played in a different way and always brought with another touch of genius in executing them. the second point: as far as i'm concerned with DREAM THEATER, i love all the members' playing and their contribution to elevate the Prog Metal Degree and they've always astonished me in every album or liveset but this time i've noticed that one guy of them has kind of reached a "STROPOSPHERIC AURA" in his way of playing, it's in the -same time- the amazing and the terrible John MYUNG!!! My GOD!! seeing him playin' in Budokan give me shivers: hell!! it's the devil or an ET who's playing not a human: ten fingers stretching the strings without any FU...??!! difficulty, playing the most complex notes that a man can do and the other point that "pulls the knife in the wound" is his face expressions: very phlegmatic, concentrate and detached from the reality at the same time but by no means losing the soul of the songs: Magnificent improvisation!! horrifying riffs!! complex solos!! die-hard-true-deep sound!! (to my opinion Tony LEVIN, Torsten REICHERT and John MYUNG must do an album for the pleasure of the Prog Metal Worshipers: it will be a fantastic project!!) Finally, i wish just to tell to the proggers: don't forget that DREAM THEATER who has revolutionized the Prog Scene, so whatever they do, it always kick ass Men!!

Hallelujah DREAM THEATER!!!!!!!

Report this review (#32833)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good live album. Dream theatre have a good mix of songs hear. The album opens with 2 very heavy songs on which the band is basically a power trio with Labrie singing i can barely hear Rudess on these tracks. The next song beyond this life turns into an uber- jam streatching out to almost 20 minutes the highlight of this album in my opinion is when on this jam Rudess and Portney have a musical "conversation" Rudess playing a riff then Portney doing some crazy rythm deal around it on drums. The next song "Hollow Years" is a somewhat average ballad then tthe first cd closes out with 2 more heavy songs. Te second and 3rd cds are also very good. Jordan Rudess gets a keyboard solo to display his killer technique halfway through the second. "Stream of Consciousness" is amazing. Overall this is a very good set. Jordan Rudess doesnt do all that much on some of these tracks but overall its hard to find any major complaints about this album. Highly recomended.
Report this review (#47112)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very good live album, and I am glad that they finally got a good recording of the vocals. On once in a Livetime I though James Labries singing was very lackluster and at times he sounded like he was just yelling in order to hit a note. None of that on this album at all. Sometimes I think the drums kind of take over, but in a way I kind of like that with this album. Al the players are on top of their game, and I personally have hears no mistakes, but when you make up the rules as you go like on the improv part, who can say if its right or wrong? It is very cool and amazing to hear those guys do stuff like that though. I still like the improvs on the Liquid Tension stuff though. I think they have a bit better feel to them. A very good buy, and a pretty fair approximation of their catalog of music, although there should probably have been a few songs that were there that were not But that's my opinion.
Report this review (#49703)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Live At Budokan CD

I really wanted to cry when I got this CD, because I just can listen and imagine how great the concert is. Thankfully, now I have them both and its really an amazing concert and I think is the best Dream Theater concert so far. Well, the best concert recorded though : ).

The best part is the Instrumedley, a giant medley taken from every single one Dream Theater albums, well, except Octavarium. The medley contains is about 11 minutes long and until now, I keep wondering how come they got enough stamina to play those unimaginable greatness instrumental songs. There are also three other songs which are amazing because at some part, they improvised the songs, which are Beyond This Life, Hollow Years and In The Name of God. Well in In the Name Of God, John Petrucci improvised the solo to give LaBrie a chance to say thanks to all of their Japanese fans, which is truly amazing.

I give 5 stars, because of the whole concert, not because of the CD and I gave 5 stars as well to the DVD. Now if you have the CD, but don't have the DVD, I strongly recommend you to buy the DVD, because for me it is Dream Theater best concert so far!!!

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#78574)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Live at Budokan was the third album that I got from Dream Theater (after Images and Words and Scenes From a Memory) and at the time I knew very few of the songs on here. In fact I was very new to prog as a whole so this had no trouble in surprising me at the level of musicianship that these guys displayed. But as my knowledge of Prog has grown (along with my CD collection) this has remained as one of my favourite live albums.

The show kicks of with the rousing As I Am and holds that feeling through the following song This Dying Soul and Beyond This Life. You notice pretty quick that each song flows from one to the next superbly, regardless of which album the song came from. I find that this gives the whole album an organic feel that works very well.

Extended instrumental's and improvisations seem to be the order of the day here, Beyond This Life has been fleshed out with 8 minutes of instrumental madness, Hollow Years has been transformed from a slow and boring song to something quite amazing, with one of Petrucci's most emotional solos set in the middle. On the second disc you get the awe inspiring Instrumedly (as you can guess its a medley of DT and Liquid Tension Experiment instrumental's) that contains one of the most impressive solos Myung has ever performed. Musicianship is something that isn't a problem for these guys throughout the album and they give a stunning performance.

There are a few bad points though, I'm not a huge fan of the added keyboard solos from Rudess in Beyond This Life and Keyboard Solo on the second disc, but that's only a few minutes of rhythmles showing off in nearly a 3 hour show. I would also have preferred it if they replaced This Dying Soul (my least favourite song from Train of Thought) with a couple of songs from Awake, an album that seems to have been overlooked on this performance and The Mirror/Lie could have fit in perfectly on this album.

Overall though, this was an amazing experience for me when I bought it and it remains one of my favourites, and most played, live albums. A must for fans of DT and Prog-metal in general, 4 stars.

Report this review (#78729)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This live album was recorded at the legendary Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan at the height of Dream Theater's Train of Thought tour. It was the final show they did in Japan for the tour. Now the audio presentation (and the video presentation for the dvd) is nothing short of impeccable, with a great overall mix and a nice balance of instruments (although sometimes the bass is very low). The set played encompasses a wide variety of the group's albums, with every album up to Train of Thought getting a song or two played from it (except Awake, which only gets Erotomania in the Instrumedley). Although all the songs are played perfectly, the only thing I dislike about this album is that although Beyond This Life and Hollow Years get some extensions, most of the show doesn't have that genuine live feel with a nice jam going or any little live additions that aren't originally in the studio version, which leaves a bit of a cold feeling. But other than that, though, this is a superb live album.

The first disc opens with As I Am, which segues into This Dying Soul. Both of these tracks are played note for note and have no real invention to them, but that doesn't mean they aren't fun songs. Petrucci shreds again and again while Myung and Portnoy lay a solid foundation and Rudess provides some solid work underneath (with his keyboard tone acting as another guitar). LaBrie's vocal performance here, while not as good as in the studio, is solid for him because he's often a hit/miss vocalist in live aspects. Beyond This Life is the first song that gets a major extension to it. In the middle, a nice instrumental jam proceeds, beginning with a nice guitar solo from Petrucci, and then a keyboard/drum duel between Portnoy and Rudess, who's keyboard tone on this section is remnicent of something Tommy Mars would play for Zappa. In fact, an excerpt from Baby Snakes is played during the instrumental section of this album.

Hollow Years follows with some more extensions thanks to a lengthy guitar introduction from Petrucci as well as a lengthy guitar solo towards the middle of the song. The next songs played are War Inside My Head/The Test That Stumped Them All, both played wonderfully and without any faults or mistakes. Disc two opens with Endless Sacrifice which is played the same as the studio counterpart, but I'm quite fond of the instrumental middle section in which everyone gets a chance to shine. Next is the Instrumedley, a 12 minute instrumental comprised of all the instrumentals Dream Theater has composed (minus Overture 1928 and Stream of Consciousness) all worked within the framework of The Dance of Eternity (which acts as a bridge between different sections). Trial of Tears is next. I've always been fond of this song because of the great playing on Myung and Petrucci's part, they are mesh well together on this song, especially during the instrumental middle section.

The second set of the show opens with New Millenium, which is played wonderfully. Kudos to Portnoy on this track, who offers a great backing vocal to LaBrie's lead. Only a Matter of Time follows, and I find this track to be better than the studio version (same goes with Hollow Years on disc one). Rudess's keyboard solo here is more dynamic than Moore's solo on When Dream and Day Unite and the song really sounds a lot better here than in the studio version. Following that is Rudess's keyboard solo, which ends the second disc. It's the only song I truly don't care for on this live set, all it is is him fiddling with the guitar type sound on his keyboard with a wah effect and then into a synthesizer ditty that goes nowhere. Disc three opens with two more songs from the Six Degrees suite, Goodnight Kiss and Solitary Shell. They are both played quite well and they don't really stray far from the studio version.

Stream of Consciousness follows with a 10 minute instrumental that goes through many motions, but is guided by a cool 5/4 motif. Petrucci's solo on this song is incredible and Myung's performance here is quite nice as well. Disappear follows with some heartfelt vocals from LaBrie, who sounds more solemn here than on the studio counterpart. It's cut short from the studio song though, because Petrucci's guitar outro doesn't last as long. It's a quite nice rendition. Pull Me Under is next, and you can expect this version to be no different than any other live version of Pull Me Under. The encore is In the Name of God, which gets the benefit of an extended guitar solo in the end from Petrucci. It's wonderfully played by all members and ends the show well.

In the end, Live at Budokan is a great live album, but not Dream Theater's best. There are some problems in my opinion with the songs being relatively unchanged from the studio counterparts and the lack of songs from Awake (The Mirror or Voices would have been nice). But all in all, this is a great sounding live set that fans of Dream Theater should love. 4/5.

Report this review (#83289)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good live CD, dream theater in Japan, how glorious! And in the format of a 3 CD madness, yeah baby! And I must also add that LaBrie has been improving his live vocalization problem too. Not perfect, but still very enjoyable. There is a couple of songs that the music was a little off so that it didn't sound strong enough or smooth enough (ie. test that stumped them all). Still, this this a great CD, it's got a good selection (if you love train of thought or DT in general, you'll love it!) and in good quality. The few delays aren't that bad, I mean, it's great and I listen to it alot. This dying soul, endless sacrifice, beyond this life, in the name of god, and as I am are incredible! Give a listen! 4/5 stars to the band that influences alot of newcoming prog bands.
Report this review (#93265)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of their best live performances.

If you are here for enough time, you already knew that I'm a die hard fan of Dream Theater. But to be honest, I've never bought live DVD's and CD's of the same presentation. I love to put the DVD's and just hear them or actually watch them, so for me is a waste of money to buy both. But well, for those who are thinking on getting this album or for those who still don't have seen the DVD, I want to help you with a little guide.

Well, after the first three songs of this live album you will get what is all about. Metal and technical ability all the way. They were promoting their heaviest album Train of Thought and they were really into metal during that time. The extended instrumental section in the middle of Beyond this Life worth the experience on it's own. More than just soloing over and over (which is not necessary, we all know they are at the top of the league on their instruments) they share ideas and makes interesting answers in between the instruments. They have fun and the audience as well.

But the good things don't stop there. The songlist is rising to prepare you to the real focus of the presentation: the INSTRUMEDLEY. While I don't like medleys in general, because I always want to hear the complete songs and not just experts of it, this is really an impressive performance in a journey through all the instrumental songs of each album of the band. Technical ability and a collage of colors and emotions you will get in this "no resting" interpretation. The close part of the INSTRUMEDLEY is the moody and underrated Hell's Kitchen, which is in my opinion, the best instrumental song of them. You have to listen to it to believe it.

But the good things don't stop there yet! TRIAL OF TEARS, DISAPPEAR and ONLY A MATTER OF TIME are there to lift you up to the very best of their catalogue. I don't think there's a better set list really, and the interpretation of each is on the top level really.

The fact that I don't mention the rest of the material doesn't mean that it don't worth the listening. It's great really, but you have to hear it to believe it. In this gig they choose a lot of old and new songs, so you can have your favorites but I think you should not miss the above mentioned. Quality of sound at it's very best. Labrie sounds great with mic through wire, a lot better than wireless. His vocals sound with enough reverb and space. And the mix is only down of the Score album. It's all there, the best of the best. So...

I don't like the song by song description but just to help to guide new guys getting into the music. So, now you know it. Really heavy metal stuff with a lot of instrumental parts, soloing and medleys. High quality of interpretation and sound and enough music to be satisfied. Recommended to both fans and newbies. 4 stars is fair.

Report this review (#270813)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Strength in metal

Yes, here we have yet another Dream Theater live release. Nothing special, right? Yes and no. Yes, because here we have Dream Theater again, in their third official live release. No, because they're Dream Theater, and they're live performance is as impeccable as ever. No, because this a massive 3 disc live set, detailing 18 Dream Theater tracks, 4 of which are off Train of Thought (the album this tour was in support of). The band, well known for their fantastic live discs and performances, have returned again this time in the famed Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, a country known for their love of foreign music. To a screaming crowd, the band played a number of their well known tracks as well as a few of the "lesser known" tracks such as Only a Matter of Time and New Millennium. Overall, the album has fantastic production, fantastic reception (from the crows), and an overall superb performance. 4 stars.

Report this review (#357597)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars When I decided I needed to get a live DREAM THEATER album I noticed their last three were rated very highly by the fans. What swayed my decision to get this one was the fact it was for the "Train Of Thought" tour and I love that album. Besides I hear that this one rocks the hardest which is no surprise considering the album they were promoting. Almost all of "Train Of Thought" is on here.This is a three disc affair and really for me only the third disc slips a bit because of the three more laid back tracks on there, although they still are very good songs."Live Scenes From New York" was tempting only because it has my favourite track on it by them "A Change Of Seasons".

Disc one starts off the concert with two tracks from "Train Of Thought" in "As I Am" and "This Dying Soul".The first opens with the crowd clapping along until they are wiped out by the sheer power of the band. Pertucci proceeds to rip it up before 5 1/2 minutes followed by Portnoy putting on a show. Speaking of Portnoy he opens up the second track with a barrage of drums fills. Some raw aggression follows that will come and go.Two killer tracks to start.

"Beyond This Life" from "Metropolis:Scenes From A Memory" opens with some ripping guitar as the drums pound. Hell yeah ! It settles back before a minute with vocals but not for long as these contrasts continue. Rudess to the fore after 8 1/2 minutes. Actually from after 6 minutes to before 14 minutes the guitar, bass and drums sound incredible. Fantastic song. "Hollow Years" from "Falling Into Infinity" is fairly laid back overall. Good song though.

The next two are from "Sx Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" and they blend into one another making it one long track. Cool. "War Inside My Head" and "The Test That Stumped Them All" sound great live.

Disc two starts off with another "Train Of Thought" track in "Endless Sacrifice". Nice and heavy and it kicks in pretty good 5 minutes in. Kicking ass 8 minutes in. "Intrumedley" is just that. Not my favourite but yeah these guys can play. "Trail Of Tears" is great, in fact the beginning and ending remind me of "Xanadu" by RUSH. I like this a lot more than the studio version on "Falling Into Infinity".

"New Milleninum" sounds incredible to start and I like the synths after 5 minutes. "Keyboard Solo" makes me laugh everytime. I have to give Rudess credit the guy is innovative and man he puts on an amazing show here. Killer stuff. "Only A Matter Of Time" from the debut is surprisingly well done. Powerful to start and really this song sounds different from the rest. I like it.

Disc three begins with two straight tunes from "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence"."Goodnight Kiss" and "Solitary Shell".They are both good but too laid back for my tastes. "Stream Of Consciousness" changes that as this "Train Of Thought" track blows the doors off. "Disappear" is again fairly laid back before they end it with two excellent tracks in "Pull Me Under" the best version i've heard so far and "In The Name Of God" a thunderous track from "Train Of Thought".

All in all a very solid 4 stars and one I really enjoyed despite it's length.

Report this review (#497595)
Posted Thursday, August 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars A strong live album in the glory days for Dream Theater ramming prog down the throats of 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.

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 hear a Jordan Rudess keyboard solo and it is as inventive here as ever.

CD 3 features 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. All Dream Theater fans must have it.

Report this review (#682633)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've had Live At Budokan for eight years now. What a pleasure it was to revisit the CDs this week. I listened to disc 1 Wednesday morning, disc 2 on Thursday morning, and on this morning of Friday May 17, 2013, I listened to disc 3.

My five-star rating of this mammoth live release comes from comparing it to other live releases. I am not pitting Live at Budokan against prog classics like Close To The Edge, but I am weighing it against live albums such as Yessongs. That being said, Dream Theater's Live at Budokan is a lot more fun than Yessongs.

Dream Theater are the kings. //"Kings of what?" you say... //Well, a lot of things. You can let your imagination run wild with that notion. And even in THEIR catalog, Live at Budokan stands tall.

Live at the Marquee is too short to compete with Dream Theater's other releases. Once in a LiveTime and Live Scenes From NY contain some spotty vocal performances, albeit containing an incredible selection of songs. Score is superb in most regards but feels a little stiff and I think it's no secret that the orchestra doesn't really add anything except for some out-of-tune notes. Chaos In Motion is a lot of fun. It has it's mix and vocal issues though. Also: points off for me having to carry around a big, fat DVD case if I want to listen to it in my car.

So Budokan is THE ONE. It is exciting... It contains some passages not heard on the studio releases... All members perform quite well... The mix keeps your attention... There is a vast array of songs on the setlist.

I have the highest expectations for the upcoming Live at Luna Park CDs. My prediction is that Luna Park will top Budokan. The improved technology, the selection of songs, the improvements James LaBrie has made in his live performance... I think these elements will combine with other elements to form the most spectacular live album package. However, in the meantime Live at Budokan is still the standard bearer for live progressive metal albums, and if Luna Park cannot live up to the 'majesty' of Budokan... I would understand.

Live at Budokan IS essential. It IS a must buy. Buy the CDs. Buy the DVDs.

Report this review (#960639)
Posted Friday, May 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars As if 2000's 'Scenes from a Memory' wasn't enough, here's Dream Theater with another three-disc assault on the senses, with 2004's live album from Japan's world-renowned Budokan venue, aptly titled 'Live at Budokan'.

Touring to promote 2003's 'Train of Thought', 'Live at Budokan' sees the band storm through a set of highly energetic and crushingly heavy material. The format of the shows were simply 'an evening with...' type affairs, which meant there were no support acts. Yet, despite the mind-boggling duration of the set, the band remains on top form throughout, and shows no signs of fatigue or letting up.

Focusing more on their later material, 'Live at Budokan' is three discs of some of the bands strongest material, played impeccably by some of the absolute finest musicians in the world. Millions upon millions of notes are hit flawlessly, with a number of noodles and jamming sections bungled in amongst the set, this is a highly entertaining live album, and shows an unparalleled chemistry between the highly-respected musicians.

There's an abundance of highlights here. From newer tracks 'As I Am', 'This Dying Soul' and 'In the Name of God', to older classics such as 'Pull Me Under', 'New Millennium', 'Only a Matter of Time' and 'Beyond This Life', which features a near-ten minute jam section which is absolutely incredible and never gets boring. Then there's the exclusive of this album, 'Instrumedley', a 12-minute instrumental medley of various parts of the bands discography. It's genuinely mind-blowing and further demonstrates how these guys are the absolute best of the best at what they do.

'Live at Budokan' may lie a little on the heavier side of things, but this is truly a gem that belongs in any prog fans collection. With an absolutely banging production and top-notch performances, this will surely come to be recognized as a true prog classic.

Report this review (#1948847)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | Review Permalink

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