DREAM THEATER — Live Scenes From New York

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DREAM THEATER - Live Scenes From New York cover
4.72 | 55 ratings | 4 reviews
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Live album · 2001


Disc 1
1. Regression (2:46)
2. Overture 1928 (3:32)
3. Strange Déjà Vu (5:02)
4. Through My Words (1:42)
5. Fatal Tragedy (6:21)
6. Beyond This Life (11:16)
7. John & Theresa Solo Spot (3:17)
8. Through Her Eyes (6:17)
9. Home (13:21)
10. The Dance of Eternity (6:24)

Total Time: 60:01

Disc 2
1. One Last Time (4:11)
2. The Spirit Carries On (7:40)
3. Finally Free (10:59)
4. Metropolis, Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper (10:36)
5. The Mirror (8:15)
6. Just Let Me Breathe (4:02)
7. Acid Rain (Liquid Tension Experiment cover) (2:34)
8. Caught in a New Millennium (6:21)
9. Another Day (5:12)
10. Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo (6:40)

Total Time: 66:35

Disc 3
1. A Mind Beside Itself: I. Erotomania (7:22)
2. A Mind Beside Itself: II. Voices (9:44)
3. A Mind Beside Itself: III. The Silent Man (5:09)
4. Learning to Live (14:01)
5. A Change of Seasons (24:35)

Total Time: 60:53


- James LaBrie / vocals and percussion
- John Myung / bass guitars
- John Petrucci / guitars and backing vocals
- Mike Portnoy / drums and backing vocals
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards

- Theresa Thomason / guest vocals on "Through Her Eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On"
- Beverly McKenzie, Carlensha Bethea, Carmen Brown, Chandra Simmons, Clarence Burke Jr., Clinteeyah Brooks, Cynthia Ogbur, Dale Scott Robinson, Denise Hilton, John Williams, Mary Canty, Rennelle Martin / Gospel choir on "The Spirit Carries On"
- Jo Marno / Choir Coordinator
- Jay Beckenstein / Soprano Sax on "Another Day"
- Kent Broadhurst / spoken word (The Hypnotherapist)

About this release

Label: Elektra
Release date: September 11, 2001

Recorded live on August 30, 2000 at the Roseland Ballroom, New York.

Due to the coincidence of being released on 9/11 with cover art featuring the twin towers in flames, the album was quickly pulled from the shops and reissued with different cover art replacing the burning apple and New York skyline with the Majesty logo.

Thanks to Pekka for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Before you even listen to the music, Live Scenes From New York stands out in the Dream Theater discography for two reasons. The first is that it had the miserably bad luck to be released on 9/11, with album art that showed the New York skyline (including the Twin Towers) aflame. That part wasn't in the band's control.

What was under the band's control was the truly epic length of the show captured here - an August 2000 performance on the Scenes From a Memory tour, taking in the entirety of that album, plus of course Metropolis part 1, plus a clutch of shorter songs, plus the A Mind Beside Itself, Learning To Live, and A Change of Seasons epics to round things off. Once In a Livetime was already a pretty long live album, but spread over 3 CDs this is over three hours of Dream Theater music.

It was a legendarily gruelling show to perform - it's infamously the show that Mike Portnoy collapsed backstage after, and you can absolutely understand why. One might consider that the band would have been well-advised to trim back their show lengths after this - scary incidents like Mike's collapse aside, the risk of this sort of thing is that it becomes as much of an endurance test to listen to as it is to peform. Whilst many in showbiz follow the adage of "leave 'em wanting more", Dream Theater have showed a long-standing commitment to excess, and epic live releases like this are the product of that.

In this case, though, they pull it off, largely on the strength of the material. Scenes From a Memory is a very strong release in its own right, and despite being even longer here (due to the additional improvisations and solos), it absolutely breezes past. The three epics that take up the third disc are among Dream Theater's best works too, and in between you get a great clutch of songs, both more obvious picks (you had to expect Metropolis Pt. 1 in the running order, after all) and some slightly deeper dives, including some borrowings from Liquid Tension Experiment.

Of course, just because you have an embarrassment of riches to hand doesn't mean it automatically works out for the best, but the band are by and large on top of their form here. James LaBrie might be the weak link - not that he's necessarily bad, he's clearly recovered somewhat from the vocal cord-ravagingly horrible bout of food poisoning which damaged his voice so badly and which he was still showing the after-effects of on Once In a Livetime, but there are still moments when he seems to be struggling slightly. Still, help is at hand in the form of Theresa Thomason, perhaps the unsung hero of Scenes From a Memory, whose soaring vocals at crucial point is a big help.

And it's possible to overstate the issues with LaBrie's vocals - he's doing a grand job here, with emotional performances which to my ears compete well with the studio originals. It's just that with his instrument still a little on the mend, he can't push it to the technical limit to the extent that his bandmates do. At least there's plenty of long instrumental breaks to allow James to pace himself - and what mighty performances they are, combining the technical ability which most people know Dream Theater for with a level of emotional resonance and dramatic force which people don't often give them credit for.

As a result, Live Scenes From New York is pretty much your one-stop shop for the absolute cream of Dream Theater's 1990s material, and as a result is an absolute landmark of prog metal.
With the success of 'Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory' under their belts, Dream Theater were sitting firmly on the throne of the prog world, and so what's the next step? To take the entire concept album on tour, of course!

An absolute sonic tour-de-force of Dream Theater music, the band are relentless as they bombard a New York audience with over three hours of excellence. Besides playing 'Scenes from a Memory' in its entirety, with a few added bonuses thrown in, the band play various hits from their past records, including all three parts of the 'A Mind Beside Itself' trilogy from the 'Awake' album, 'Metropolis Pt. 1' and 'Learning to Live', both clocking in at ten and twelve minutes respectively, and if that wasn't enough, they then close with the 23-minute epic, 'A Change of Seasons'.

This is not for the faint-hearted.

As you'd expect from Dream Theater, the musicianship and chemistry is unparalleled by any other band. Each instrumentalist here has truly mastered their craft, with the only real weakness coming from vocalist James LaBrie. He tries his best, bless him, but having gone through some well-documented problems at the time (food poisoning led to him rupturing his vocal chords a few years prior), his voice can be pretty grating to listen to at times. However, he does redeem himself at the end when he jokingly says "sorry about the short set". Good job, sir!

All praises aside, I'm not the biggest lover of live albums, as I usually prefer the punch and clarity of a studio recording, and at times I feel the sound isn't as perfect as it could be, at least, not when compared to the 'Scenes from a Memory' record. But that just comes down to personal preference.

With that said, 'Live Scenes from New York' is a beast of a live album. A three-disc set that perfectly sums up Dream Theater's career to that point, and an all-out assault of progressive proportions. This is an essential addition to every fans collection.
The Metropolis Tour was Dream Theater at the peak of their powers and it is captured here in high quality glory. All of the classic Dream Theater tracks that made up the "Scenes From a Memory" masterpiece are here and played with extraordinary skill, even at times surpassing the original studio album. It is rewarding to hear the earlier material of the band and the best from the earlier albums is played during the set. All of the band members are passionate, energetic and are at their best. LaBrie is crystal clear on high register vocals throughout and is brilliant on tracks such as Through Her Eyes, The Spirit Carries On, and Caught In A New Millennium. Rudess is an incredible keyboardist and has a showcase to spring from with excellent tracks such as Home and Metropolis part 1 as well as a 6:40 keyboard solo with inventive genius. Petrucci's lead guitar is exceptional and he is unbelievable on compositions such as the epic Beyond This Live, The Dance Of Eternity and blockbuster time change virtuoso Learning To Live. Of course the bass of Myung is always outstanding and Portnoy's drumming is machine like, keeping the odd rhythmic patterns consistent and complex. Listen to the drumming on The Mirror or the mammoth 22 minute A Mind Beside Itself. The band are a force to be reckoned with and maintain a progressive edge with metal blasts and ambient atmospheres.

One of the real surprises is to hear the live performance of A Change Of Seasons clocking 24:33. It is even better than the studio album version. The crowd roar at the end of these epics and one may imagine standing ovations as the natural response to such virtuoso playing. The intricate time sig changes and instrumentation throughout is outstanding. They have never sounded better live. The bonus videos of Another Day and Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo are a nice embellishment though it is more of a tease for those who cannot get hold of the whole concert. The packaging is great with gatefold shot of the band and a rather colourful booklet with band pictures and notes.

The cover is a montage of the band unless you were lucky enough to get hold of the earlier rarer cover design that has since been banned. It depicted New York City on fire. Nothing wrong with that though when the Twin Towers were seen up in flames it certainly raised some eyebrows and was seen as offensive to the real disaster of the 9/11 WTC tragedy. It eerily looks too close to what actually happened and although was a coincidence, it had to be pulled from the shops. I remember this cover causing quite a controversy as it was released just prior to the 9/11 events. The band had to replace the image with a band image.

Overall this is the best Live record of Dream Theater, with some of their most celebrated material. It is brilliant prog metal that lasts for over 3 hours. It also can be picked up for a reasonable price these days, mine cost about $20, and that is not a bad offer for 3 CDs of Dream Theater's greatest songs.

Members reviews

Caught in a New Millennium

For their last performance of SCENES FROM A MEMORY album, they decided to record the presentation. Now, this is the first time Dream Theater published a complete concert without outtakes. This means, you get the complete show, with the flaws, with some sloppy parts but with all the essence of them playing their amazing music live. It's without a doubt, their very best official live album ever.

The complete METROPOLIS Pt_2 is the focus, of course, and they gave it new life here. The capacity of the band with their then brand new keyboard player was impressive. But after the complete piece was played, what was next to maintain the level of quality? CD2 have a complete non-stop performance of some back catalogue highlights: METROPOLIS Pt_1, THE MIRROR, the little somekind of meddley JUST LET ME BREATH-ACID RAIN-CAUGHT IN A NEW MILLENNIUM and the ANOTHER DAY, in a wonderful performance.

If it wasn't enough, the band still played A MIND BESIDE ITSELF entirely, then LEARNING TO LIVE and A CHANGE OF SEASON. This is completely their definite material. All these songs played at the very best, with an energetic performance that really shows the band at the peak of their game.

One weak point is James Labrie vocals, he sings fine but sometimes is evident that he didn't reach the high notes and by the end of the show his voice is completely tired. I don't see any problem with that, the music he's singing is very demanding and he is one of those singers who still get to make something decent out of the tough challenge of singing three hours each night.

While this production lacks of the high quality of sound of later releases, this is the essential album for those who want to hear DT live. For new fans, I recommend SCORE, but for anyone else, for hearing a regular show of them with their very best interpretation, this is the album to choose. Impressive is the word I'm searching for. 5 stars.

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