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Dream Theater - "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra" (DVD)

Dream Theater - "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra" DVD cover image

"Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra" track listing:

1. The Root of All Evil
2. I Walk Beside You
3. Another Won
4. Afterlife
5. Under A Glass Moon
6. Innocence Faded
7. Raise the Knife
8. The Spirit Carries On
9. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
10. Vacant
11. The Answer Lies Within
12. Sacrificed Sons
13. Octavarium
14. Metropolis

Reviewed by on August 30, 2006

"Dream Theater certainly aren’t shortchanging their fans with Score. "

Most bands celebrating their 20th anniversary saw their last ember of creativity fizzle out by the early 90's. Bands like Poison have long been a laughing stock and the joke only seems to get funnier with each passing year. Commemorating an anniversary this late in a band's career often signals a final attempt to cash in and retire. On "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra," a dual DVD package from prog-rock valedictorians Dream Theater, the band acknowledge their history by capturing the peaks and valleys in a detailed career retrospective. The first disk showcases a massive performance recorded at Radio City Music Hall. Dream Theater tackle 14 standouts from their humble beginnings at Berklee College Of Music to their most recently released album "Octavarium." The band plays two robust sets, the second of which is backed by a 30 piece orchestra. Disk two contains a documentary, "The Score So Far" which chronicles the band's history, from inception to present. Rounding out the package are animation clips for the Octavarium album and three live performances from 1993 to 2005.

Watching Dream Theater perform is like watching a highly complex machine operate: At first the speed and precision is jaw dropping but after a certain degree of sensory overload the viewer develops an immunity. With this immunity comes a numbness to the band's super-human virtuosity, wherein the music itself must have depth in order to affect the listener. Dream Theater come through in this regard, with energetic and at times emotionally charged renditions of their catalogs most noteworthy entries. Dream Theater open their Radio City Music Hall performance with the metallic assault of "The Root of All Evil". Clearly the band feed off the enormous response from the 6,000 fans in attendance, as they channel that energy into one of the shows early highlights. Demonstrating an appreciation of their diverse fan base, Dream Theater play a mix of obscurities and fan favorites, even taking a stroll down memory lane with seminal works like "Another Won" and "After Life." Mammoth power ballad "The Spirit Carries On" finds the audience holding hundreds of lighters and florescent cell phones aloft, the band respond in kind with a radiant performance. The encore, which is in fact an extended second set, boasts no less than four songs clocking in at over ten minutes, with one song, "Six Degrees of Turbulence" reaching a preposterous 42 minutes in length.

Dream Theater certainly aren't shortchanging their fans with Score. This three hour DVD package could almost be considered too much of a good thing. Dollar for note, there isn't a better live presentation of this much touted progressive rock titan. Watching the band perform these songs live makes the mighty Tool appear lazy and the notoriously violent Dillinger Escape Plan, seem immature. Critics have often stated that Dream Theater's studio albums are clinical, lacking emotional depth due to a surplus of musical technicality. Those same critics would do well to observe Dream Theater in a live setting among their fans. Dream Theater play with a dedication and gratitude rivaling the obsessive adoration of the bands following.

Highs: Stunning performances of “The Root of All Evil”, “Six Degrees of Turbulence”, “Sacrificed Sons” and “Metropolis”.

Lows: Some songs have aged better than others, at times the bands instrumental trickery and operatic vocals seem melodramatic or overindulgent. “The Score So Far” lacks a scene selection option.

Bottom line: Score is a must have for fans and a fantastic introduction piece for those who are new to the Dream Theater universe.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)