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This DVD covers most of Dream Theater's August 30th set at the New York Roseland Ballroom on the 2000 Metropolis Tour. The main 'programme' as it were is the first set of the night, when the band performed the entire Scenes From A Memory album. It's pretty much incredible. It's probably my favourite Dream Theater album and to see the guys themselves play it in all its glory (and a little more) is very interesting. Almost everything you hear on the album (including the hypnotist from the beginning and end of the album, and the choir) is performed live, and aside from a couple of off-key notes from James LaBrie, everything is performed to perfection. Even the bizarrely technical Dance Of Eternity is nailed. I think the only thing wrong with it is, as others have said, the video effects that have been put on the performance. There's loads of splitscreens, odd psychedelic effects and plenty of, as the band put it "Japanese seizure moments". While it can be quite useful to see what each band member is doing during the really technical moments, sometimes it's just annoying and takes away from the mysterious atmosphere of the story the album tells.
The bonus material includes a documentary including interviews with Kevin Shirley (DT's mixing engineers) and several fans, most of whom aren't very clever. "The best thing about them is the songs." No shit. The documentary in general is quite dull but you get some laughs out of these fans who are clearly are a bit strange. There wasn't an awful lot that was 'behind the scenes', just concert footage, fans and Kevin Shirley, which disappointed me especially when their other DVDs normally expose a lot of light on the process of making a Dream Theater release.
Dream Theater played two sets that night, unfortunately only five songs were put on the DVD (well, 3 songs basically as it includes A Mind Beside Itself), but they're performed perfectly as usual. There's a photo gallery played over a medley of DT songs, which is really little more than a lot of crowds from different places they've been on the tour.
The best thing about this DVD, though is the audio commentary by the band. It's only available for the Scenes From A Memory set but it was very interesting and connected together a lot of pieces of the musical puzzle that the album is. There were a few references to other songs that I hadn't noticed before which were pointed out by the guys, and especially the story of the album becamse fully clear after watching it, because along with the video projections of a dramatization of key moments of the story and images, Petrucci explains what James is singing about at that point, and how it all fits in. I now fully understand the story, and the rather mysterious ending which before left me rather underwhelmed, but now I understand the full situation it makes a lot of sense.
If you're a big fan of the Scenes From A Memory album, then this is a great purchase, but it should really be seen anyway just because live Dream Theater is a great thing to watch.
I was a bit reluctant to buy this DVD at first since it's a bit more expensive than other concert DVDs (about $22 most places). Anyway, after finally getting it I was very pleased. Seeing A Change of Seasons alone makes the DVD worth buying. It's incredible. My only complaint for the concert overall is the cheesy effects frequently used in some of the songs (effects include the Dream Theater logo used in a variety of ways, camera tricks like mirror image view with Jordan on piano, etc). It detracts from the concert feel and it's a bit annoying at times. However, this certainly should not stop you from getting this! I particularly enjoy some of the video clips played along with the performance since they provide a visual representation of the story behind the album. Some of the extras aren't all the special, but the extra concert clips (in addition to the SfaM album live) are definately worthy of watching a few times.
I definately suggest checking this out. The only negative comment I can make is the effects, and overall, this is really just a minor problem.
This DVD is a must have for all Dream Theater fans. It is simply amazing. They play their conceptual opus to near perfection. What an awesome concert that must have been to see in person. A twenty four minute marathon of a song . . . AS AN ENCORE!!!
I have only a few complaints about this disc. (1) I think they should have included the whole entire concert. The additional songs are great, but the whole thing would have been superb. I understand if that would have required two discs and the record company just didn't want to go for that, but I can dream can't I? (2) James's vocals suffer in a few places, primarily in "Finally Free." I understand the rigors of preforming a two hour+ set every night, but it is a bit disappointing. (3) The behind the scenes stuff sucked. The interviews with some of the fans were cool, but I think that disc space would have been better spent on additional songs from the concert. (4) Some of the effects are kinda cheesey. Specifically the flipping John Myung up-side-down effect. (5) You can't hear John Petrucci on the commentary. Apparently he sat too far away from the microphone. John Myung hardly ever speaks so you essentially only get three out of five members of the band in the commentary. I also think they should have recorded commentary for the bonus tracks as well.
Despite these short comings this is still a great DVD.
Okay I know hearing Dream Theater on studio albums is godly. Now here's something you wouldn't expect: watching this DVD is even more. The deal is that they play the entire Scenes from a memory live, and to make sure the viewer follows the story there's some film clips along with it, and they even got a person on stage playing the hypnotherapist.
I can say that it's a out of this world-experience to watch these guys go off on stage, especially in my fave tracks Beyond this life, Fatal tragedy and Dance of eternity. James sings like a god and the rest.. well you can imagine.
There's also bonus tracks, including the whole A change of seasons and A mind beside itself.
The only thing I found not as interesting was the "behind the scenes" and the photo gallery.
Buy this fucking thing right now if you call yourself a Dream Theater fan.