So the rerecording is better than the original? The playing is the exemplar of professionalism; no qualms there, the guys are virtuosic machines at their tools. However, heads arise. They are the bulbous heads of contention, peering out from their shadows somewhere beneath complacency and consensus. Those eyes tell of stories too forlorn and demoralized to even cite in passing.
Now I have nothing against Labrie, his studio work is very acceptable, but his live performances are often blemished by what seems like a sudden constriction of range. Any singing where a tongue comes out of its residence is a sign that lines have been traversed — lines marking the territory between listenable and squawking. Although Reunite marks a reasonable and adequate Labrie, there are many arguments to be propounded about how one might nudge a preference towards old Charlie Dominici. It’s a claim I’d invite into my home anytime. Personally I’m unsure, but I’d be tempted to go and buy a hat so I could throw it into Dominici’s lap. Whether I’d ask for it back, well, again, contention raises its head.
Whatever the hat throwing being commenced, the vocals do present the few areas that the original shows itself as superior, however this is often down to a lack of harmony vocals on the live one (and no, Petrucci and Portnoy’s lowly mixed backings bring nothing to this particular Dream Theater live escapade). In the post-2nd chorus of A Fortune In Lies the original reigns supreme, it is liable to lash five lengths of whip frenzy around your aurals, whereas the latter version sadly elapses anonymously.
What was at one time the peak of When Day and Dream Unite, the word-heavy mid-section of "Its Only a Matter of Time," up until the aforementioned mighty amalgam of "Another Hand and The Killing Hand," is utmost on the original. Its rendition maintains a sting of suffocating lines of lyrics, reiterated in asphyxiating precision. Reunite lacks the bite of the initial recording on that one.
Instrumental The Ytse Jam is only given added oomph and intensity in Reunite. (Oops, sorry, forgot to mention, the contention creatures absconded elsewhere, their job was done anyway.) A pounding barrage of drums propels the mystical palpitations in only the forward direction. And let me take this opportune second to assert that the later half of the song is superlative to the early sections, great as they are.
That vivacity and power turn sixth track "Afterlife" from a song sometimes weighed down with too many verses, into a mass of reverberations, forceful, but yet melodious. And not once, take note Amis, not once is there thoughts of “when’s the damn instrumental break coming?”