Dream Theater - Live Scenes From New York

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Warner Bros./Elektra
Catalog Number: 62661
Format: CD
Total Time: 187:28:00

By now everyone certainly knows about the weird coincidence concerning Dream Theater's new live set. On the first official launch date for the album, two planes crashed into the WTC towers. Strange as it may seem, those two "burning" towers were to be found on the original album artwork, something that became unacceptable to the band. As true New Yorkers, they tried to get all of the remaining stock returned to them, so that they might be distributed once again with completely new artwork from October 16th onward. In the meantime, rumours have it that the set with its original artwork is still easily to be found at stores such as Tower Records. So not everyone has the same feelings towards 11th September as Dream Theater!

In a way, it looks like too much of a good thing, knowing the band delivered Live At The Marquee in 1993, followed in 1998 by the double set Once In A Livetime. Whereas now the band sends no fewer than three shiny little discs in our direction. However, looking at it closely, this certainly isn't a bad marketing ploy. Dream Theater is a band with many bootlegs behind its name, which, except for the Majesty demos, mainly concern live recordings. So in a way, its a move to be one step ahead of the illegal bootleg industry (although I don't see Dream Theater doing a similar thing like Pearl Jam, releasing every single concert as a semi-legal bootleg). On the other side of the coin, the new set means a second chance for the entire Scenes From A Memory album. Whilst diehard fans still recognize this album as being the band's "magnum opus," sales of the album were a little disappointing. Rather than bury the entire idea way too early, the band decided to release the complete recordings of their concert held at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on 30th August 2000. Thus, it includes the entire Scenes From A Memory, album enhanced with an actor, a singer, and a gospel choir. The latter making its bombastic entry during "Fatal Tragedy."

The first disc, plus three songs on the second, contain the entire Scenes album, which is fantastically recorded here, taking into account every single detail in the mix. Comparing this with the band's cacophony during last year's Bospop festival (Holland) is a big, big difference! In between "Beyond This Life" and "Through Her Eyes" there's a duet spot between John Petrucci and singer Theresa Thomason. Especially the singing is very Pink Floyd like, which certainly isn't a strange thing once you listen closely to the opening track, "Regression." "John & Theresa Solo Spot" does sound like a conversation between guitar and voice. It also illustrates what a great asset Jordan Rudess is to the band. Although Derek Sherinian had loads of charisma, with Derek still in the band, I guess Dream Theater would have become an obvious prog metal combination, with a heavy emphasis on the "heavy metal" parts. Whereas the arrival of Jordan has introduced the classical elements in the music, making it possible for the piano to fully shine in the band's original music, as proved in "The Spirit Carries On," with yet another guest role for singer Theresa Thomason.

Only seconds after the band has completed the Scenes From A Memory set with the song "Finally Free," the outrageous public already can sing along with "Metropolis Pt. 1." Powerful like never before, Portnoy knows how to keep his buddies close together, even when Myung almost kills his swirling bass and Rudess unleashes several new sounds into the crowd. Hopefully the new studio album becomes something of this calibre because numerous breaks and rhythm changes simply is, to me, the basis for wonderful prog!

From the very moment Petrucci's hard guitar outbursts announce "The Mirror," you can feel the temperature in the Roseland Ballroom rise. This is exactly the kind of music that could result from the likes of Limp Bizkit or Slipknot, if it weren't for the complex arrangements. Myung's bass playing is very detailed here, mixed ever so well. Again Petrucci proves what a great talent he really is, so that his inclusion in the G3 tour alongside Satriani and Vai certainly was merited. Again no time is wasted as "The Mirror" perfectly segues into "Just Let Me Breathe" with Portnoy keeping the rhythm at a constant pace. And it's not over yet when "Acid Rain" kicks off, an ideal song to illustrate the skills of Mike "Animal" Portnoy. Just listen to those deadly double bass drums! Hey, hey it's not over yet, as the adrenaline filters through during "Caught In A New Millennium," a mix between "Caught In A Web" and "New Millennium." Imagine a band creating its very own mix! It probably caught the guys' attention that both songs had an almost identical rhythm, which made it easy for our ex-Berklee students to glue both of them together.

Time to grasp some air with the bewildering beauty of "Another Day" from the Images And Words album, a song that illustrates the talents of Spyro Gyra saxophone player and owner of Bear Track studios Jay Beckenstein. Not only is Jordan Rudess happy to be part of the Dream Theater family, it's also clear the rest of the band is ever so happy to have him on board, hence the fact they presented him with his very own solo spot on this album. Simply entitled "Jordan's Keyboard Solo," this guy wanders his way through virtuosity and classical finesse, speed and overwhelming romance, by playing the piano. By means of a sequencer, Jordan then infuses some rhythm in order to integrate his synthesizers within the solo. The upteenth piece of proof that Rudess is the missing link that has allowed Dream Theater steer to the higher regions of the music industry.

The third and final disc already, and we immediately kick off with the lengthy trilogy "A Mind Beside Itself" from the Awake album. The end of "Erotomania" is simply stunning, with John Myung taking his leap towards "Voices," where he sees his bass playing as the backbone of the song. Although James LaBrie remains one hell of a singer, I simply can't stop thinking about the fact that he rather "yells' instead of singing here. The final part of the trilogy, "Silent Man," is different from the original, with a striking piece between Petrucci and Rudess in the middle section. The instantly recognisable intro to "Learning To Live" sets in whilst we have been "on the road" for over two and a half hours already, a journey that hasn't been boring for one split second.

The well-balanced mix especially is one of the main reasons why this album is almost like a studio album with an ear for every little detail. LaBrie leaves his natural vibrato in order to "shout" more than singing, which seems to be a standard for the "older" material. It sounds like he's more conscious about using his voice to the fullest effect on the later albums. Nice is the short interaction between synths and toms and the change in rhythm that suddenly seems to refer to ethnic elements. There's a short silence before Rudess picks up the thread again, steering his playing towards one of the strongest melodies of the song, featuring an outstanding Petrucci slightly switching the song towards reggae! Dream Theater goes Jamaica! Pity Bob Marley didn't live long enough to witness it all! Listening closely to James' farewell, this song was clearly stated right at the very bottom of the playlist, yet Dream Theater wouldn't be Dream Theater if they returned home straight away after this marathon! Their encore consists of the 24-minute long "A Change Of Season," which we can hear live for the very first time on album here. What strikes me is the immediate enthusiasm from the audience, singing the melody from the very beginning.

At the end of the instrumental section "The Darkest Of Winters," a funny intermezzo by Jordan sneaks in, as if it were an unreleased part of Wakeman's "Merlin The Magician." The interplay becomes majestic during "Another World," with all the spotlights focussed on John Petrucci. Again "The Inevitable Summer" uses an arrangement that only Dream Theater can produce, incorporating loads of different influences, atmospheres and tempos, whilst the balance is kept between technical fireworks and music with body and soul. Portnoy finds the time to quickly damage an extra couple of drum skins, whilst Rudess attacks his synths in an Emerson kind of way (without the knives though!). The physically inconspicuous Myung once again proves what an important role he's playing in this music. LaBrie thanks the enthusiastic crowd with the words "sorry about the short set" followed by Portnoy's screech "there's no place like home!" With three hours of boiling, top-notch prog metal of the highest calibre, performed in their very own New York backyard, Live Scenes From New York simply is a must have for every true rock fan. And that's only where the music is concerned, as we haven't told you anything about the multimedia segment yet. In order not to spoil the fun, we'll keep it under wraps so you are treated to yet another superb bonus once you pop this disc in your computer. Regardless of whether at all you find this set in its withdrawn sleeve or the brand new packaging: CHECK IT OUT!

Disc 1: Regression (2:46) / Overture 1928 (3:32) / Strange D?ja Vu (5:02) / Through My Words (1:42) / Fatal Tragedy (6:21) / Beyond This Life (11:16) / John & Theresa Solo Spot (3:17) / Through Her Eyes (6:17) / Home (13:21) / The Dance Of Eternity (6:24)

Disc 2: One Last Time (4:11) / The Spirit Carries On (7:40) / Finally Free (10:59) / Metropolis Pt. 1 (10:36) / The Mirror (8:15) / Just Let Me Breathe (4:02) / Acid Rain (2:34) / Caught In A New Millennium (6:21) / Another Day (5:31) / Jordan:s Keyboard Solo (6:40)

Disc 3: A Mind Beside Itself : Erotomania (7:22) / Voices (9:44) / Silent Man (5:09) / Learning To Live (14:01) / A Change Of Season (24:33)

James LaBrie - vocals
John Petrucci - guitars
John Myung - bass
Mike Portnoy - drums
Jordan Rudess - keyboards
Theresa Thomason - vocals

When Dreams and Day Unite (1989)
Images and Words (1992)
Live At The Marquee (1993)
Dream Out Loud (1994)
Awake (1994)
A Change in Season (1995)
Falling Into Infinity (1997)
Once In A Livetime (1998)
Scenes From A Memory (1999)
Cleaning Out The Closet (Xmas CD 1999) (1999)
Scenes From A World Tour - Christmas CD 2000 (2001)
Live Scenes From New York (2001)
Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Train Of Thought (2003)
Live At Budokan (2004)
Octavarium (2005)
Score (3CD) (2006)
Systematic Chaos (2007)
Greatest Hit (...And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) (2008)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011)
Dream Theater (2013)
Live At Luna Park (2013)
Breaking The Fourth Wall - Live From The Boston Opera House (2014)
The Astonishing (2016)
Distance Over Time (2019)

Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York (DVD) (2001)
Live At Budokan (DVD) (2004)
Score (DVD) (2006)
Chaos In Motion (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg
Artist website: www.dreamtheater.net
Hits: 1074
Language: english


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