This is a special release for me, as it is my first true music DVD that I purchased myself (unless you count Spinal Tap). It was around a year since attending my first Dream Theater show, and memories from the show were beginning to fade. Luckily, this DVD re-assured me that my admiration of the Dream Theater live show was well justified.
The heart of this DVD has Dream Theater performing their 1999 album, Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory, in its entirety. That album probably ranks around third place in my favorite Dream Theater albums, and they have video releases that are technically better edited, but I have yet to witness a DVD of theirs that I prefer more than this. The timing of this concert was a bright patch in their career where they decided to take full creative control and make less commercial compromises. The band seems very at ease on the stage, looking like they’ve been playing with keyboardist Jordan Ruddess for years, and their execution is spot on.
The bonus features are a very notable aspect of this release, especially the additional concert material. This is highlighted by the performance of their 25-minute “A Change Of Seasons”. Through the song’s instrumental passages, you can get a taste of the Dream Theater live experience as they throw in quotes of “The Simpsons” theme, and the sporting event classic “Charge!”. Combining this with the main feature, the “A Mind Beside Itself” suite, and “Learning To Live”, you have a stunning song selection that is sure to please fans of progressive metal. The only upsetting aspect is that more songs are included on the CD version of this concert, but I suppose it makes sense from a business perspective. The documentary is a nice touch, and their band commentary, while I’ve only listened to it once, makes me wish that more bands would add such insight to their videos.
You will not regret buying this DVD!