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Music DVD Review: Dream Theater – Score

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I still remember the first time I heard Dream Theater. It was around the time Images and Words was released, back in 1992. At the time we still had a good hard rock/metal station, and they had "Pull Me Under" in regular rotation. The song blew me away, and after I got myself a copy of the disk, there was no turning back. I had never heard anything like them before, it was sort of like combining elements of Metallica and Yes, and mutating it into something altogether fresh. Now here we are, 14 years into my love of their music and an amazing 20 years into the lifetime of the band.

To celebrate their longevity, Dream Theater embarked on a worldwide tour. The concert on this DVD was filmed in Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006, the final day of the tour. To say this was an amazing concert would be an understatement. This is a group of world class musicians at the top of their game, putting it all onstage for the love of the music and the enjoyment of the fans.

The show is split into two sets. The first set is the band tearing through eight songs selected from their entire catalog and running an hour in length. It is pure listening joy. The second ups the ante. A full orchestra is added behind them, and they proceed to play for another hour and 40 minutes. This set is comprised of six songs, including "Six Degees of Inner Turbulence" in its entirety.

There is very little I can say about Dream Theater that has not already been said. Everyone knows they are the leaders of the prog rock scene. Everyone knows each member is a world class musician at their instrument of choice. Everyone knows when they go onstage, they are going to lay it all out. Score does not disappoint in any respect.

The show is shot and edited beautifully. One thing that has always annoyed me on a number of concert DVDs is the use of quick cuts. Iron Maiden is the biggest offender. The cuts are so frequent you never really get to see what they are doing. Score is not like that. All of the band members get good screen time. Many segments allow you to get in tight and see what they are doing, Petrucci's fret hand, Portnoy's stick work, and Rudess' finger work. It's simply amazing to watch.

Score shows a band that meshes well. Five men, all instrumental virtuosos, come together and put out a wonderful concert. Then, the addition of the Octavarium Orchestra just adds a wonderful new dimension. The sound is completely filled out with beautiful textures.

The highlights of the show would have to be the songs from the mid-90s era. Specifically, "Under a Glass Moon" and "Innocence Faded" from set one, and the show closer, "Metropolis" from the second set. They are the songs I know the best, but that is not to dettract from anything else here, as it is mesmerizing from start to finish.

This set is more than just a concert, there is a second disk filled with additional footage. The centerpiece of disk two is a documentary that runs for nearly an hour, The Score So Far…. This is a must watch for any fan of Dream Theater. It traces the band's origins – from the first meetings between John Petrucci and John Myung to the addition of Mike Portnoy. They even have a new interview with Charlie Dominici, the band's second singer, and the one who appeared on their debut album, When Dream and Day Unite. This is a wonderful look into the history of the band spanning two decades.

Also on the second disk are three live recordings, "Another Day" from Tokyo in 1993, "The Great Debate" from Bucharest in 2002, and "Honor Thy Father" from Chicago 2005. Rounding out the disk is the band animation used during "Octavarium," it runs a little over two minutes.

The concert was also released as a three CD set, which sounds just as good as this DVD.

Bottomline. Great band, great concert, a must have for music lovers everywhere. What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Highly Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • Chris, I enjoyed your review. I am actually listening to this at this very moment. My review is (I hope) going to be up this week.

  • Thanks DJ. I only gave a brief listen to the CD. I have found when I have the option for live concerts, I prefer the DVD to get the whole experience. But the CD is nice to listen to when traveling.

    Look forward to your thoughts!

  • I have the DVD as well. I am going to make reference to both in my review but I am at work now so the iPod has to suffice.

    I am more of a live album than live DVD person myself. I’m not sure why that is. It makes sense to want to see it as well as hear it. For some reason though, I am more likely to listen to a live album than watch it on DVD.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Great Review… I missed out on this tour when they came to Boston. But, I had already seen them twice,so, I will have to wait for the new album.

    I’m not sure if you guys have seen them live. It’s a must to catch them on tour by themselves!
    3 hours with no opening band and a 15 min intermission…and they always play a tight and incredible set. You also gotta check out YTSEJAM Records to buy their official bootlegs. They cover the entire “Master of Puppets” record as well as “Number of the Beast”…

  • I first saw them in 1996 w/ Rudess Morgenstein Project opening, great show. Then again in 1997 with Big Wreck opening. Then in 1998 where they played the 5 Years in a Livetime video as the opening, this was a laid back show with a lot of covers. Then I saw James Labrie solo in 2005, then later last year I saw them on Gigantour.

    Everytime I was floored.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yeah.. I only saw ’em on “Six Inner…” & “Train of Thought” but I didn’t have to deal with any opening bands so it was f*cking awesome!! It’s a shame because I have been listening to them since “When Dream & Day Unite” but they never came around Boston that often.. My brother saw ’em back in 1993 in some small ass club in Florida. That must’ve been cool but I do agree any of their shows are worth seeing because they are always top notch!!

    You should check out Opeth live…Pretty much the same calibur but a little heavier.

  • I’ve only seen them once. On the “Awake” tour in Seattle at the Paramount with Fates Warning opening. The show wasn’t as long then as they are now but I became a devotee of Mike Portnoy that night. I will leave the rest of the story for my review…

  • I had no problem with the openers I saw, each of thos first three shows ran around 2.5 hours with no intermission. The Giantour show was cool becaus ethey focused on all the heavier stuff, different from their usual show.

    I wish I had gotten to see them with Kevin Moore. The show I saw in 98 was actually the last show they ever did with Sherinian.

    I need to listen to more Opeth, I only recently started listening to Blackwater Park.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *AHHH* Yes… “Blackwater Park” is truly a phenomonal CD. I would have to say that it’s their “Master of Puppets”. That one and “Still Life” are my favorites

  • Paul Roy

    Excellent review Chris. I came across Dream Theater much like you. A local rock station was playing the hell out of “Pull Me Under” and the song blew me away, much like the enitire Images And Words album did. I saw the Images and Words tour and it was incredible. My review is forthcoming as well.

  • regal begal

    much like many i 2 was hypnotised,mesmorised etc by images and words.that was about 12 yrs ago 4 me and 2 this day they r still my favourite band by far.ive got both cd and dvd of score,and while cd is great i have found the dvd 2 be of slightly better audio quality.the 2nd disk is very informative for anyone who wants to know how the band began,also includes funny animated sequence(tell me u didnt laugh when la brie appears.all in all another classic release from the masters of music,must have!

  • Hey, Chris, I finally finished my review and posted a link to yours.