Dream Theater - Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York VHS
Like many progressive-rock groups from King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Yes to Genesis, Rush, and Queensryche, Dream Theater has followed its own musical and artistic agenda, trends and hipness be damned. That single-mindedness is borne out on Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York, a full-length concert video shot at Roseland Ballroom in New York City in August 2000; it was the final show on the group's tour supporting its release Scenes from a Memory. With its intricate rhythms and complex song structures, Dream Theater's music is serious and somber to a fault; when gospel singer Theresa Thomason and a backing chorus are brought on for a few numbers, the effect is strangely soothing, as if a layer of humanity smothers the impeccable craftsmanship. The video is decked out in visuals of a mostly silly sort, often literally spelling out the album's narrative (or what passes for it), including reenactments and a portentous narrator. It's all cleverly put together (drummer Mike Portnoy gets director credit), and Kevin Shirley's audio mixing presents the music with clarity and undeniable power. Fans of Dream Theater won't need to be told to snap this up; those unconvinced, however, are not likely to become converts. --Kevin Filipski
From the Back Cover
Dream Theater's final live performance of Scenes from a Memory in its entirety from their concert at Roseland Ballroom in New York City on August 30, 2000. 90 minutes. Songs: Opening Scene, Regression, Overture 1928, Strange Déjà vu, Through My Words, Fatal Tragedy, Beyond This Life, John & Theresa Solo Spot, Through Her Eyes, Home, The Dance of Eternity, One Last Time, The Spirit Carries On, Finally Free, Closing Scene.
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But, that being said, this prog-rock fan who grew up with the bands that DT did (Yes, Genesis, etc) and some of the neo-prog bands of the 80's that creep in to their music now and then, still MUST say that DT's talent, ambition, and ability to write a great song put them in my top 10. Getting back to the video, I must say that I was getting put off by some of the 'seventies' effects used after awhile (lots of psychedlic graphics, reverse imaging, etc) - I felt like I could have used some LSD or something to enhance the 'experience'. However, DT's attempt to put the whole video together as a 'story' was great - kind of reminded my of the days when albums did tell a story, and that was OK (even 'cool').
This video does a great job of putting SFAM to a video - there are other DT videos out there that capture 'the band' better without the 'effects' used throughout. ... I was disappointed that one of the best (if the not the best) 'sounding' bands today chose simple technology for the tape (and apparently, the DVD too), thus taking away from the total sound experience this should have been...we can only hope that the next DT video/DVD is different. In the meantime, this is a video that can be enjoyed by all DT fans - but just don't expect more that what I have already mentioned!
I've read some of the criticisms, and they mostly strike me as Monday-morning quarterbacking. Since most people are going to be viewing this on a TV or computer monitor, a 4:3 aspect ratio was the only reasonable way to go - good call, Mike Portnoy. Yes, I suppose they could have eliminated the cut-scenes and artwork, but that would have taken away one part of the concert experience that I, for one, value. Maybe Dolby 5.1 would have helped some people, but again, most are going to be listening to it on a basic 2.1 system, and it sounds great that way.
If you are a DT fan, or simply like great concert video, get it and enjoy it!
That being said, great concert, great musical performance (only a few off-pitch notes), and I love the story. I still prefer Score and Budokan.
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My only criticism is the quality of the recording which needs to be digitally remastered.