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

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

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

Disc 1
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

Disc 2
1. Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence
2. Vacant
3. The Answer Lies Within
4. Sacrificed Sons

Disc 3
1. Octavarium
2. Metropolis

Reviewed by on September 11, 2006

"“Score” will have Dream Theaters harshest critics reevaluating their stance, while fans will be counting the years to a 30th Anniversary package."

Few bands have garnered as much resounding praise and stern criticism as Dream Theater. Some critics believe the band are an evolutionary dead end, an anachronism that refuses to change with the times. Others state the band are leading the charge of a modern progressive rock renaissance. A more balanced viewpoint may suggest that Dream Theater are an observant and long-lived entity of rock music that embraces the past and present while cutting a unique path to the future. “Score: 20th Aniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra” finds Dream Theater barraging the listener with a 160 minute live performance of 14 songs. The set list covers tracks from Dream Theater’s infancy to the more recent efforts of their eighth studio album, “Octavarium.”

Pulling no punches, Dream Theater open with “The Root of All Evil”. Mike Portnoy’s drums hammer away like anti-aircraft batteries against the tank tread chug of John Myung's bass and John Petrucci’s guitar. James LaBrie’s pristine vocals exceed all expectations, hitting the highs of Bruce Dickinson and lows of Peter Steele. Jordan Rudess steals the limelight more than once with punctual keyboard fills and solos. Following such a performance should be daunting but Dream Theater are clearly up to the task. “I Walk Beside You” is a dramatic and uplifting power ballad that finds the entire audience clapping along in time. “Another Won”, a veritable time capsule from 1985, boasts stratospheric vocals and complex instrumental interplay, complete with Van Halen guitars in the foreground. “Under A Glass Moon” is rife with time changes, extended solos, and some remarkable improvisation. Clocking in at nearly 42 minutes, “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance” is truly a marathon performance. Beginning with a neo-classical movement, the song slowly transforms into full on symphonic metal, calling to mind Dimmu Borgir’s sweeping arrangements and punishing rhythms. “Sacrificed Sons” is more concise and seemingly twice as somber and heavy as “Six Degrees”. Closing the disk is a triumphant rendition of flagship song, “Metropolis.”

“Score” captures a benchmark performance by an established and still growing prog rock torch carrier. The band touch base on every segment of their carrier, which should leave most fans happy with this collection. It is worth mentioning that a significant number of fan favorite songs are absent, due to the fact that they are accounted for on previous live albums. The audio quality is superb for a live offering and the band’s flawless execution is spellbinding. “Score” will have Dream Theater's harshest critics reevaluating their stance, while fans will be counting the years to a 30th Anniversary package.

Highs: Impressive audio quality, multiple standout performances and a generous serving of the bands long form output.

Lows: An out of tune violin buried in the mix. Not for those with a short attention span or an aversion to soaring melodic vocals.

Bottom line: This is a must have for fans. Many tracks have an emotional quality and energy not captured on the studio versions.

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)