DREAM THEATER — New York City 3/4/93

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DREAM THEATER - New York City 3/4/93 cover
3.43 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews
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Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 2006


Disc 1
1. Metropolis, Part 1 (9:21)
2. A Fortune in Lies (5:21)
3. Under a Glass Moon (7:31)
4. Surrounded (6:16)
5. The Ytse Jam / Drum Solo (9:46)
6. To Live Forever (5:58)
7. Take the Time (10:41)

Total Time: 54:54

Disc 2
1. Eve (5:26)
2. Pull Me Under (8:24)
3. Another Day (4:36)
4. Another Hand (2:11)
5. The Killing Hand (8:05)
6. A Change of Seasons (20:00)
7. Wait for Sleep (2:49)
8. Learning to Live (13:27)

Total Time: 64:58


- John Petrucci / guitars
- Mike Portnoy / drums
- James LaBrie / vocals
- John Myung / bass
- Kevin Moore / keyboards

About this release

Released by Ytsejam Records in 2006, YTSEJAM013.

Thanks to progkidjoel, Pekka for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

‘New York City 03/04/93’, released in 2007, is the fifth album in the live series of Dream Theater’s official bootlegs. With only two albums under their belts, this is an interesting look at the band in their early days, especially as there are some who consider the Kevin Moore years their best.

Featuring most of the songs from their first two releases, ‘When Dream and Day Unite’ and one of my all-time favourite albums, ‘Images and Words’, the set list is incredibly strong, despite the limited material they had on hand. The performances are (mostly) impeccable (hey, it’s Dream Theater!), and the sound quality is really good, considering this is a “bootleg” lifted directly from the soundboard. The band all sound clear, and the audience is audible enough without sounding fake.

With the likes of ‘Pull Me Under’, ‘Metropolis’, ‘Take the Time’, ‘A Fortune in Lies’, ‘Learning to Live’ and ‘The Killing Hand’, it’s evident that even after only two albums, Dream Theater had a wealth of solid material to choose. Also included is a work-in-progress of ‘A Change of Seasons’, the 23-minute epic that’d end up getting its own EP release. It’s for this alone that most die-hard fans will be interested in hearing this album, especially as the version played here is quite different from the finished product.

However, since I’ve always preferred studio albums to live ones, I can only look at what I get out of this release, and in that case, it’s the things that I’ve learned:

1. Even Dream Theater make mistakes! (Yep, it’s true, there’re quite a few bum notes in there!!!)

2. Even in his younger days, vocalist James LaBrie struggled replicating all the recorded vocals live. Bless ‘im for trying, though.

3. Dream Theater’s early shows had intermissions. Weird.

Strange things to take out of this, I know, but there we go. ‘New York City 03/04/93’ is a nice little nugget of joy for fans of Dream Theater, but as far as live albums go, it’ll take a lot to improve upon ‘Live at Budokan’, ‘Score’ or ‘Live Scenes from New York’.
This here is something of a Holy Grail for the early DT fan. A complete show from the Images & Words tour, before Kevin Moore left the band, before James LaBrie busted his voice for years, and before they finished writing a certain song that is arguably (argued by me) their single crowning achievement, and instead played it as a work-in-progress version.

The more I listen to Images & Words and the rest of their output, the clearer it becomes that it stands head and shoulders above the rest of their full length albums. The reason most likely is that because of the label problems and the frustratingly unfruitful search for a new vocalist they had years and years time to hone the material, making it extremely colourful and sophisticated. Pure instrumental magic, and when they did in the end find their vocalist, he fit the material perfectly.

Recorded at home turf slightly before the Marquee show, the band in general are in good shape, if that's a surprise to anyone. There actually are some rare sloppier moments and plain fuck-ups, like in the beginning of Take the Time when Moore misses his cue, but they're quite few and far between. The setlist is obviously mostly excellent given the album they were promoting, and a couple of future B-sides make an appearance as well. Detracting from the excellence is The Killing Hand, which could've been replaced by four or five better tracks from the debut album, and the less said about the drum solo interrupting The Ytse Jam the better.

LaBrie isn't having his strongest night here. Far too often he ends up wobbling somewhere around the correct pitch even in lower registers (in all fairness that's probably due to monitor problems rather than lack of skill, but for the listener it makes very little difference), and when his tour-strained range is not enough for the higher notes, he usually resorts to a croaking, ugly falsetto. But what he missed in accuracy he surprisingly well makes up in raw, gutsy delivery, and while he may at times come off as a slightly feminine choirboy with no real threat to his snarl, here he manages to be quite convincing. The chorus of Pull Me Under is my favourite example of this.

Historically the most interesting song is obviously the halfway-there-version of A Change of Seasons. And I say it was very very wise of them to leave it on the shelf for a few years. The structure of the song is very much ready, but the intro would be fleshed out a couple of minutes worth, a lot of the lyrics would be reworked, vocal arrangements would go through a lot of refining, and some soloing sections would be completely replaced. It might me just the force of habit of listening to the final version, but I'm still going to say that every single change they made was for the better, and this version is valuable mostly for being historically interesting.

When you see the word "bootleg", the first question is obviously the sound quality. And as far as bootlegs go, official or not, this one is rather a good one. A quite clear soundboard recording, with some variance in quality. Most of the time the instruments are well in balance, but at times it may feel difficult to find Petrucci in the mix. But most of the time it's fine.

If you have a choice betweeen Live at the Marquee and this one, don't hesitate to spend a few extra bucks, euros, what have you. The slightly inferior sound and performance quality are made up in the extensive set list. This is a very good live album.

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