It has been 20 years since the members of Dream Theater met at the Berklee College of Music. Since then they have released eight studio albums and countless live releases, and have developed a legion of loyal followers with their epic, complex music, and dynamic, marathon live shows. To mark the occasion, Dream Theater embarked on a 20th anniversary Tour. This DVD features the grand finale concert of that tour, recorded live at Radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006. The 2-disc DVD titled SCORE includes the entire show, nearly 3 hours of music over 90 minutes performed with a full orchestra. It shows highlight performances like 'I Walk Beside You' and 'The Answer Lies Within' along with previously unreleased songs 'Another Won' and 'Raise The Knife' and much more. The DVD also contains a one-hour documentary tracking the entire career of the band from the very beginning at the Berklee College of Music in 1985 all the way to the 20th Anniversary tour grand finale including rare never-before-seen footage and interviews with current and previous members of the band. Also included are several live bonus performances from 1993-2005. There is also a separate 3-CD release of the 20th Anniversary Tour grand finale.
The tenacious odyssey of Dream Theater culminates in one of their finest concerts ever on this magnificent Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour
DVD. Just how good is this blazing prog-metal performance, recorded at New York City's radio City Music Hall on April 1, 2006? For starters, it's easy to believe the band's drummer and co-founder, Mike Portnoy, when he ends the nearly three-hour show by saying "this was one of the best nights of our career." Then consider that for one brief but shining moment in mid-September 2006, Score
nudged Pink Floyd's Pulse
out of the #1 spot on the bestselling music DVD charts, proving without a doubt that DT's loyal fan base was more than willing to elevate the band to an unprecedented level of critical and commercial success. It's a win-win scenario for everyone, because it's obvious, from this performance and the Octivarium
CD that spawned it, that Score
represents 20 years of bold perseverance, and the sheer power of combined talents against the fickle forces of a music industry that repeatedly tried, and failed, to compromise Dream Theater's unique creative vision.
For longtime fans, Score offers an abundance of material that's exclusive to this release, with minimal crossover from previous Dream Theater DVDs. "The Spirit Carries On" is a natural highlight, and James LaBrie's vocals are as pristine here as they are throughout the entire concert. But there can be little doubt that this gig will be best remembered for the flawless performances of the DT epics "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence," "Octivarium," and a jaw-dropping encore rendition of "Metropolis," all spectacularly accompanied by the Octivarium Orchestra under the baton of arranger and conductor Jamshied Sharifi. These massive arrangements have been beautifully mixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital or equally crisp PCM stereo, and each member of Dream Theater is given ample opportunity to demonstrate their virtuoso skills, including several transcendent solos by guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (the latter proving his mastery of the lap steel guitar, vintage Moog synthesizer and the curiously amazing Continuum Fingerboard). Of course, one must never underestimate the awesome bass foundation laid by John Myung, whose priceless contribution is sonically ever-present, if not always visually apparent. As directed by Portnoy, however, Score is totally focused on the music, gracefully and unobtrusively covering the concert from a variety of visually advantageous angles, and edited (by Chris Osterhus) to follow every beat, transition, and solo with breathtaking precision. All in all, Score is easily on par with Pulse, and arguably surpasses the Floyd DVD in terms of overall performance. It's a godsend for fans, and a perfect introduction for the band's ever-growing audience of new and converted fans. -- Jeff Shannon
On the DVD
"The Score So Far" is an outstanding documentary that fully chronicles Dream Theater's history from its earliest days (when Portnoy, Petrucci, and Myung met at Boston's Berklee College of Music) to the Radio City concert on April 1, 2006. Personnel changes are candidly addressed (as opposed to some bands, DT don't hide their past difficulties, and credit is always given when due), and the film serves as a tribute to the band's refusal to bow to commercial pressures. (It's no wonder Mike Portnoy feels a gratifying sense of vindication; after 20 years, he and his bandmates fully deserve it.) Also included is the amusing "Octivarium Animation" shown during the concert, and three live performances (from 1993, 2002 and 2005) that further illustrate Dream Theater's ability to refine and/or redefine its sound and image while keeping up with the times. --Jeff Shannon