Dream Theater - Live At Budokan

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Warner Bros
Catalog Number: 8122-76545-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 152:39:00

Although every single studio album is of pristine quality, Dream Theater mainly remains a live band. Those of you who have seen the band perform live on numerous occasions know that some of the band's concerts are unforgettable whilst others can sometimes be rather dissapointing. It is no lie that James LaBrie has more than once been the weaker part of the band, although the last couple of years his voice has been going from strength to strength, resulting in powerful ace concerts time after time. Recorded at the famous (remember Cheap Trick and Deep Purple to name but two), Budokan Hall in Tokyo on April 26th 2004, this 3CD package contains the entire concert from that particular night, warts 'n all. Well to be honest with you there are no warts as far as I can hear!

Promoting the then brand new Train Of Thought album, no fewer than five out of a possible seven tracks from that album are on display here. Kicking off the concert with "As I Am" and "This Dying Soul," the atmosphere for an evening of technical prowess is definitely set. Especially "This Dying Soul" delivers tons of energy to an enormous loud and enthousiastic crowd. When James says hello in Japanese prior to "Beyond This Life" really nothing could go wrong anymore. Some of you may think that it's a bit soon to release yet another triple live album after the band's Live Scenes From NY, but rest assured that this new Japanese package contains much different material. For instance, the version of "Beyond This Life" on the Live Scenes From NY lasts for 11:16 whilst on this new Live At Budokan set it goes on for no less than 19:37, incorporating some great synth stuff courtesy of Jordan Rudess.

Proof that Dream Theater stands for much more than powerful prog metal comes with "Hollow Years." Here John Petrucci's acoustic guitar almost sounds like authentic Mark Knopfler, nicely illustrating his versatility. The Budokan is replenished with tons of energy again after "Endless Sacrifice" fills the venue. Time to illustrate the sheer genius of the various members during the well crafted "Instrumedley," including many highlights noted during the band's extensive career as well as fragments from the Liquid Tension Experiment compositions "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind." The band even includes a slice of humour by means of a tiny bit of honky tonk madness, cabaret and even circus music. During his solo spot Jordan Rudess demonstrates not only what a great instrument the Kurzweil is, but also that he can be rated as the Jeff Beck of the keyboards.

The third and final disc begins with the laidback and almost classical intro for "Goodnight Kiss" spiralling around Jordan's wonderful piano playing and Petrucci's stunning solo. With "Stream Of Consciousness," the band delivers yet another truckload of adrenaline turning the song into a well deserved Dream Theater showstopper. From the band's early days no doubt "Pull Me Under" remains a firm favourite (and still the one LaBrie struggles with). For sure the heavy rotation on MTV when the album was first released did wonders for the band's worldwide recognition. The band needs only to play two chords before the entire audience becomes one melting pot of musicloving lava. Dream Theater's concert at the Budokan began with new material so what better way to end it all than with some more material from Train Of Thought. Their choice for a well deserved encore is the lengthy "In The Name Of God," which even sports kind of a salsa rhythm somewhere.

Stunning compositions, stunning musicianship and yet another proof that Dream Theater are definitely the world's best live band ever! The only thing I'm a little negative about is the cardboard packaging as I'm convinced that heavy rotation will end up in severely scratched discs. However, knowing the kind of fans the band has, maybe they'll be buying an extra set next year?

Disc One: As I Am (7:25) / This Dying Soul (11:44) / Beyond This Life (19:37) / Hollow Years (9:18) / War Inside My Head (2:22) / The Test That Stumped Them All (5:00)

Disc Two: Endless Sacrifice (11:18) / Instrumedley (12:15) / Trial Of Tears (13:49) / New Millennium (8:01) / Keyboard Solo (3:58) / Only A Matter Of Time (7:21)

Disc Three: Goodnight Kiss (6:16) / Solitary Shell (5:58) / Stream Of Consciousness (10:54) / Disappear (5:56) / Pull Me Under (8:38) / In The Name Of God (5:49)

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

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)
Dream Theater - Live At Luna Park (2013)
Dream Theater - Breaking The Fourth Wall - Live From The Boston Opera House (2014)
The Astonishing (2016)
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: March 6th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.dreamtheater.net
Hits: 974
Language: english


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