Dream Theater - Live at Budokan
DVD + DVD Audio
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This 2-DVD set features a concert taped on April 26, 2004, at the Budoken in Tokyo, Japan. Track selections span the band's entire career, including songs from 2003's Train of Thought. And, as fans expect, the footage showcases the group's technical expertise with extended solos. Disc One is the complete live concert. Disc Two is packed with special features, including a Japanese tour documentary, guitar/keyboard/drum solos.
A treasure-trove for Dream Theater fans, Live at Budokan presents an entire three-hour performance at Tokyo's famed Budokan arena on April 26, 2004, along with a bonus disc rich in supplementary material. Disc 1 finds the metallic progressive-rock quintet at its awe-inspiring best, plowing through its catalog of dramatic epics and jack-hammer instrumentals, including five of the seven songs from 2003's Train of Thought. Disc 2 features an extended drum solo from percussionist extraordinaire Mike Portnoy; gear tours from guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (fascinating for lay people and downright revelatory for musicians); and a half-hour documentary on DT's 2004 stint in Japan punctuated by tantalizing snippets of band rehearsals. The shooting and editing for the concert are a music lover's dream, with lengthy shots that linger on the performances of individual band members. Disc 2 takes this even further with a multi-angle sequence of the 12-minute "Instrumedley."
Production values are extremely high: it's a widescreen presentation shot on high-def video and nicely mixed for multichannel Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (with a thinner, collapsed version of the same for Dolby 2.0). It must be noted, however, that the center, subwoofer, and surround channels get jumbled right at 1:35:30 on disc 1. The front left/right channels remain in place, but the signals for the other four speakers play non-musical chairs. People listening in 2.0 will experience a brief dropout at that point. --Michael Mikesell
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Although I do enjoy DT, up till now I couldn't be labelled a hardcore fan. This is DVD may well change that status as it blew me away - an entire concert demonstrating what Dream Theater at the peak of their abilities can do.
I love watching live music and this DVD is most beautifully crafted and meets all my requirements for 5 stars! i.e. Long instrumental breaks with the camera following the person playing the solo! (Don't you hate it when the drummer plays a brilliant fill and the camera man zooms on the vocalist who is not even singing. Well, this fortunately doesn't happen on this DVD. Instead you have the option to watch their instrumental through multi-angles on Disc two.)
Clearly Dream Theater have projected their creative and hard-working ethic to the production values of this DVD. This recording has been carefully thought through, even to the placing of the cameras for excellent closeups for each member. The DVD is full of positive surprises and features; the range of song material to the ability to show the lyrics on screen.
For those who have woken up a decade after he was already one of the world's greatest prog-rock drummers, this DVD is a Mike Portnoy showcase. Disc two has all the extras including the Portnoy solo and the Instrumedley - which allows you to focus just on Mike for a monstrous drumming display. That doesn't mean there is no solo drumming in the concert. Far from it! You're in for a surprise as the keyboard drum battle during 'Beyond this life' is like an added drum solo. I found this the highlight of the opening barrage of 3 songs - Rudess and Portnoy seem to have such fun and Portnoy gets to inventively show off what every little cowbell, percussion and timbale sounds like on his enormous double set of drums. He really shows how musical he is as he copies Rudess's keyboard lines on the kit.(Of course a few blizzards of bass drum bliss are effortlessly displayed throughout!)
The first twenty minutes of this concert are some of the heaviest moments of synchronised Dream Theater mayhem; the end of 'This Dying Soul' shows the most frighteningly fast unison lines of Petrucci and Rudess. Mesmerising! Portnoy is so solid as he segues from one time signature into the pounding grundge time midway through 'This Dying Soul' - makes you want to bounce with La Brie as well. As La Brie states 'We have one hell of a show coming at you, this evening'. At this stage of the concert you're only two songs in and sixteen still to come.
As on any DT creation you'll see why Petrucci is arguably the most technically gifted rock guitarist in the world today. Combined with Myung, Rudess and their powerful vocalist, La Brie, this is a tight, professional bunch. If you like intense, inventive music that requires repeated listening, this is wonderful value - brilliant!
A month later, I was in a music store browsing, and came upon DT's live @ Boudakan DVD, the day it was released. Remembering the name from the YES show, I thought I'd take a chance and buy it. And ya know, sometimes there are times in life when we just make right decisions, and the decision to buy this DVD changed my musical life FOREVER!
I had never been so amazed by a group of musicians (and mind you, I am now 56 years old). Their performances just blew me away. Literally. I was absolutely awe-struck. I couldn't believe the technical perfection and the sheer musical brilliance and genius of this band. Where had I been? Why had I not heard of this band before? Suffice it to say, this DVD opened up a very wide door for me musically. Since that purchase, I have purchased EVERY CD the band has recorded, two more DVD's and seen another concert. As far as I'm concerned, this band is the culmination of every bit of rock and progressive-rock music I have ever enjoyed from the 70's until now. And by the way, of the other DVD's of theirs I own, "Boudakan" is the best. EVERYTHING about BOTH discs on this DVD is just great. So if you're reading this, get this DVD NOW, or be a LOSER!!!!!!
I guess that a 46 year old like me should be too old for this stuff, but heck, I say no way. DT are an unbelieviable group of musicians that are keeping the prog-rock sound alive and well, and as derivative as some critics stamp them, I say "TAKE ME AS I AM" - the legions of fans cannot be wrong. This fan will be getting every DT DVD and CD for a LONG time.