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Fun, but pointless in the end - 80%

Empyreal, September 28th, 2007

What if you were in a Dream Theater concert and then suddenly, the band switched to playing a bunch of Iron Maiden's songs? That is exactly what happened to the audience of Dream Theater's 2002 show in Paris, France - this is a so-called "live bootleg" of Iron Maiden's milestone album The Number of the Beast, played note for note, word for word, chord for chord. I'd say that's about the problem with it...what is the point in releasing this when we already have Iron Maiden's album, which features much more powerful vocals and a more energetic attitude to the whole thing? LaBrie sounds great here, almost as good as on Dream Theater's early albums, but his voice doesn't necessarily stack up to Dickinson's charismatic operatic bellow when he's doing Maiden's songs, not by a long shot. The music is played strictly by the Bible of Maiden, not adding anything new to the songs (with the exception of "Gangland", which I'll get to shortly) or improving them at all. Ironic, considering the band I'm reviewing here.

This is quite entertaining though, just because it's Dream Theater doing Maiden songs. I mean, it's like when you see a one eyed man walking down the street; you just can't help stopping and watching (or in this case, listening). We're all human, and when something like this comes along, the usual reaction would be to want to hear it, just for the sake of it. And while there really is no point to this at all, it's pretty cool to hear Maiden solos done in Petrucci fashion (check "Hallowed Be Thy Name" especially), no matter what anybody else says. Oh, and the song "Gangland" is certainly an eyebrow-raiser here, transformed from a simple, catchy rock song into a sprawling, 70s prog rock tribute. The lyrics are now extremely unfitting for such a slow, spacey, abstract song, but the music is good Dream Theater fodder for fans of that sort of thing. Not bad at all.

While this obviously pales in comparison to Maiden's timeless classic of a heavy metal record, it's a nice little tribute, and fans of both Maiden and Dream Theater will find at least a bit to enjoy here. Recommended.