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I own the entire discography of Dream Theater at the exception of some booklets and special release and this DVD is one my favorite life album ever. It is in my opinion the finest work of images and of music on stage of Dream Theater. The images of this DVD is like if it was real! I mean you can even try to touch to the gigantic drum of Mike Portnoy or trying to see how Petrucci plays his solos with the perfection even outside of studio. At first, we could think that it is a movie about this band, but it is a live DVD of a 3 hours perfomance on stage. For the music, the choice of the tracks are good and are spread around all of their discography even if it is a show for Train of Thought which was their last release at this time.
First, it starts with As I Am and it really catch you there where you want it. Powerful music representation with energy in the music. It is one of the best track to begin a show. The little problem is that Labrie sound on this track is not perfect and that he has some problem starting the show. But this doesn't stop him of putting energy on stage. Then it switch to This Dying Soul, heavy sound with good instruments passages. Still again, something is wrong with Labrie's singing just like it wasn't fix yet with the volume of the music going on.
But everything is fix when it follows on Beyond This Life. Impressive Labrie voice that is heard on Scenes from a Memory is there and is even magic with the music. The very impressive part of this song is when they do the jamming thing. It is just awesome! Petrucci plays a very strong jamming solo with a sound that chills me to the bone everytime I hear it! It is powerful and clear, beginning slowly like any good progressive sound and this pushing faster and faster along with the bass rolling a good riff and the drum of Mike always crushing down the beat with so much energy. After the Petrucci part, Portnoy and Rudess (on keyboard) do an awesome fighting of drums vs the keyboard. One of my favorite part is the one with the cow bells it is really impressive to see and hear how they keep the thing together!
Then, after Beyond This Life, there is Hollow Years with some add-ons with Petrucci playing a little solo of his own and a more classical style of sound of guitar at the opening of it. Following that, there is War Inside My Head/The Test That Stumped Them All. Those tracks are well played on scene and there is a strong energy going out of it. It goes on with Endless Sacrifice, a ToT track, well play just like if they were on studio. The Instrumendly is an impressive tracks where Portnoy, Myung, Petrucci and Rudess are playing parts of instrumental songs all together in a happy-mixing. Everytime the listener is there trying to find what tracks they are playing and then it switch to another one. The main tracks of this song which the other parts are mix together is flowing music is The Dance of Eternity. Two of my favorite parts of this unique track are the Metropolis solos and the YTSE JAM part!
Then there is the Trial of Tears, a long track that some could find more boring, but it is one of the few time that they play it live and for the true fans of DT, it is a good song. Then there is New Millennium, with the weird bass of Myung playing very difficult part and making a lot of tapping on this 12 strings type of bass. Then there is a good standing of Jordan Rudess making a solo of his own with strange sound and a classical part of piano as he likes to do. It is a good standing. It is followed with the track named Only a Matter of Time coming out of the first studio album of DT. People wanted to see how Labrie would do on this song that was not originaly sing by him. He does good, but lack some speed and he is always trying to catch his breath. The intrumental ending of this track that was add for the show is a very good review of the entire track at a fast speed.
Then it is the depressing track named Disappear. It is one of the missed track of this album. The music mixing is not awesome, but it is a though songs to play live. Sometime you don't even hear what Labrie is singing or the drum is too heavy to hear the keyboards very well as it should be. Maybe it will be better next time, and they must pratice it further to play it with the entire energy it should have! Then they make their come back with Pull Me Under which is there classic, always well played and impressive energy with the crowd which is one of the few times on the DVD. The final track is In The Name of God which is the final track of ToT too. Still a good DT sound just like if they were playing only with perfection the lines.
Along with the show itself, the DVD comes with donus material like a Japanese Documentary that was turned before the actual show where you can see each members explaining how they came to play in Budokan. It is one of the best documentary I have seen on DT.
So actually, if you want to buy a good DVD of Dream Theater or that you are a fan of prog-metal, you should actualy buy Live at Budokan. It is an unique and one of the best music DVD I have seen of my life along with some classic like "Rock in Rio" from Iron Maiden! 95% for this live DVD!