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hell of a dvd - 88%

dbvpSlayer, March 10th, 2007

I'm a cheap bastard when it comes to buying something i don't NEED, but i bought this DVD once for a good deal, then some jerk-off stoal it from me after i was passed out drunk from my house after watching it with me. I ended up reaching up my tight ass again to buy this, and i don't regret it (just the asshole that steals from me).

It was great to be able to see these guys transform over roughly a 7-year period. You could get quite a feel of the mood that the band was going through. Instead of pretending that they're God's gift to music, you can see that they're humbled from they're overwhelming success of "Pull Me Under" to the critically unacclaimed "Falling Into Infinity." I had always heard that "Falling Into Infinity" was a terrible album, so there was no reason for me to search for it. After I saw the "Touring Into Infinity" clips, I saw how this "shitty" music could still be exciting if you look at it in the right point of view. I really got into the live French clips off the "Falling Into Infinity" songs. A real musician can pull that off while numerous other bands would squander and be broken beyond ever fixing.

It's easy to see how Dream Theater has had an easy run of things, but like every other band out there they had to roll the dice, too. Dream Theater created what I thought to be their best album "Awake," and on the DVD I felt bad for them that their record label treated the album as a disaster, because they didn't get to line their pockets as much as they'd like.

The best part of these DVD's to me is the insight to how these guys are just regular guys like the ones who write these reviews, except that they practice their instruments on a sickeningly high basis. I loved the 3 or 4 second shot of Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Paul Bostaph then Slayer, and Mike Portnoy standing together in Greece. I also get a feeling that America is far too stupid to hold a sold-out Dream Theater concert, probably because of poeple like the "true-metal" idealist that wrote all the reviews for "Train of Thought." There are concert clips from France, Greece, and Japan, so that's quite an insight to Dream Theater's fan base in the pre-Metropolis days.

The live songs themselves are pretty amazing themselves. They're nowhere near the video or audio clarity of their "Live at the Budokon" or "Score," but I think I like it better this way. It's cool to look at these guys with a bit of unprofessionalism for once. I get more of a connectiont to the music of this DVD, because of the roughness of the production.

The "Images and Words:Live in Tokyo" concert was pretty much flawless, with the exception of a couple instances where James really pushed the envelope trying to hit very high and very long notes. The jamming is what impreses me the most. We all know these guys can play tight shit when they practice the same shit over and over together. We all know how great musicians jamming with other great musicians can be lifeless, boring, and pointless, but these guys REALLY have a feel for eachother in this DVD unlike anyone I've ever heard. You know they're pulling some of this shit out of their ass as they go along, and they're tight as you can be.

The "Ytse Jam/drum solo" is great. It is already a classic prog instrumental, then mixed in with a near 10-minute drum solo where a young Mike shows his love of Pantera with John Petrucci playing a "By Demons be Driven" riff, where Mike continues to go on a hailfire of long, fast, progressive fills that would have even the black metal community perking their ears (Mike doesn't use triggers either!). He comes to an almost standstill, sort of teasing the audience with cymbal rakes and a latin-jazzy groove, bouncing back to a double-bass fill, until it builds up speed into a noticeable insanity of Mike Portnoy. I've played alot and watched a lot of solos, but this is the best one I've ever seen. Fuck Tommy Lee.

If you enjoy watching amazing musicians, and aren't threatened by them, or too ignorant to appreciate what you don't understand then get this DVD. It's a hell of a deal. I bought it twice. Hopefully not a 3rd though.