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Dream Theater (re)unites! - 72%

samgriffith1928, November 15th, 2006

This DVD is an official bootleg of a live performance commemorating 15 years since the release of Dream Theater’s debut album ‘When Dream and Day Unite’ (1989). The main feature of this DVD shoots the second half of a show where the band plays the album in its entirety followed by the encore songs ‘To Live Forever’ (non album track) and ‘Metropolis Part 1’ (Images and Words). These last two songs are performed with James LaBrie and the original Dream Theater singer, Charlie Dominici, trading lyrics. Metropolis welcomes to the stage second keyboardist, Derek Sherinian, to make it a real party atmosphere! Yes there are now seven musicians on stage!

This DVD is by no means a must buy. I would say this release is essential to Dream Theater fans, worth borrowing off a friend for causal DT listeners and passable to not worth it for everybody else. The concert itself is not spectacular. The sound quality is much improved from the original bad production. However, James LaBrie is far from perfect and in fact struggles his way through much of this material. The rest of the band looks nonplussed during the concert and the crowd is barely audible. This being Dream Theater’s most obscure album I think many fans were not familiar with the material. After seeing the 2006 Dream Theater DVD ‘Score’ which has a near to perfect performance from LaBrie, great audience participation and relaxed band members that look like they are having fun, this release cannot compare in any way.

Where this DVD does gain extra marks is from the Special Features. There are a lot of extras on this DVD and for these alone it is worth a watch. The feature length commentary is enlightening. John Myung actually talks quite a lot – something I am sure many Dream Theater fans will find interesting. There is a lengthy documentary that shows all ten songs being performed live back in the days with the original line up (with terrible sound and picture quality and generally poor vocals from Dominici). As well as this, something I found exceedingly interesting was a discussion of all the songs on their debut album. There is footage of the original line up discussing the meaning behind the songs and how and why they composed/wrote them. There is also footage of the backstage warm up to the current concert which shows James LaBrie being friendly and helping Charlie Dominici.

This is an interesting look at the history of Dream Theater. It is not a DVD that will get played a great deal, but one that can be watched and appreciated every now and then. This is mainly due to the performance of the album itself. The performance is not bad, but it is nothing special visually. This means that with the corresponding CD release there is little reason to play the main feature of the DVD. All that is really left on the DVD are the special features. So basically, it depends what you really want. If you are a die hard fan then you should buy the DVD and CD. Both have different things to offer. I personally think this DVD release is a nice addition to the Dream Theater collection. It is an updated version of an underrated album that now features DT’s current vocalist. The guest appearances and the special features are nice touches that make this release worthwhile and interesting for the Dream Theater fan.