6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour - Live With the Octavarium Orchestra [3CD Set] (Audio CD)
I bought this 3CD set really because Amazon had recommended it to me at the time. I have always liked Dream Theater, but was slightly unwilling to buy the CDs, despite holding an admiration for the guitar genius who is John Petrucci.
So what can one make of Score, 20th Anniversary World Tour, Live with the Octavarium Orchestra? Well, I'll start at the start then. The first CD is Dream Theater performing as a band, and nothing else. And they are excellent, although James LaBrie's vocals can be a bit annoying after 137 minutes of listening. But that's later on.
The first CD opens up with 'The Root Of All Evil', and it rocks hard. Nine minutes long, and it features some outrageous solos and great riffs. A super album opener. 10/10.
Track two, 'I Walk Beside You', is another great DT track. Softer than the previous track, and also more atmospheric. The quality is excellent. 'I walk beside you, wherever you are...' LaBrie wails. Petrucci takes more of a back seat role in this song although it must be said DT are at their best with Petrucci at the forefront. 10/10.
Track three, 'Another Won' is a heavier DT track, combining keys, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Probably the weakest track heard so far but by everyone else's standards it still stands out. There are still Petrucci solos, and that can't be a bad thing. 10/10.
Track four, 'Afterlife' starts strongly with soaring riffs by DT. The only thing that lets this album down is LaBrie's vocals which are suspiciously similar to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson occasionally. I suppose on the whole that isn't a bad thing. 9/10.
Track five, 'Under A Glass Moon', starts off with the guitars, bass and keys in rather anthemic fashion before the drums and then finally the vocals come in after a brilliant heavy riff by Petrucci and super drumming. This song is eight minutes long. This is a typical DT track, where all the band members use their talents to the best of their abilities. 10/10.
Track six, 'Innocence Faded' immediately begins with Petrucci ripping out one of his trademark guitar solos before LaBrie begins to sing. Not the strongest song, admittedly, but due to the standard of this live recording as a whole, it has to be considered as deserving a 9/10.
Track seven, 'Raise The Knife', is a 12-minute epic, and the penultimate track on the first CD of the live recording. Petrucci is at his brilliant best here once more, ripping out some heavy hooks once more and some great solos. DT really write some fantastic music, whether it's instrumental or whether it's featuring LaBrie singing. This song is a perfect example of that. 10/10.
Track eight, the final track of the first disc, is a wonderful ballad, called 'The Spirit Carries On'. It lasts 10 minutes and is one of my favourites on the set. Petrucci plays a lovely solo to begin with, one of many heard not just on the 3CD set but on this song. This is DT at their very best, a glorious anthem in more ways than one- it's LaBrie's vocal range and Petrucci's guitar technique who really make this album, although the other band members play a very important role as well, because the music wouldn't be the same without them. Glorious. 10/10.
Track one of the second disc, is something which is not only surprising, but rather a piece of musical genius. The song, played live with the Octavarium Orchestra, called 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence', is, as you may have guessed, a song which has been split into six different parts. This song lasts a whopping 42 minutes in length which means each part lasts nearly seven minutes on average! The orchestra begin proceedings, and then DT take over and then they take turns to play various parts. I think part 2 begins after 7 and a half minutes, where DT come in, with anthemic riffs and very heavy hooks. I think part 3 begins after 15 minutes or so, with the synthesizers and heavy hooks. After that barrage of heavy hooks and riffs, the orchestra takes over and part 4 begins roughly halfway through the song, and it's a smooth sound with lovely strings. On 27 minutes, we hear a change in musical direction once more. I take it this is part 5. Roughly 33 minutes in, we hear another change in direction, and presumably, this is the 6th and final part of this rather astonishing song. The guitaring is excellent. The orchestra has been wonderful listening.10/10.
The second CD isn't finished yet though. Track two of the second CD, 'Vacant', begins with the orchestra and LaBrie's voice. A soft song, and all it is is simply LaBrie singing with the Octavarium Orchestra. 8/10.
Track three, 'The Answer Lies Within', is another lovely song by DT. The atmosphere from the crowd is good as well, clapping along. This song has great harmonizing, and wonderful guitaring (would you expect any less?) from none other than John Petrucci, truly one of the best living guitarists today. Six minutes of brilliance. 10/10.
The final track off the second disc, 'Sacrificed Sons', is 11 minutes long. It's epic, it's dramatic, it's majestic. I know I'm focusing more on LaBrie and Petrucci as the standout musicians on show but it's true. They really do stand out. DT set New York City alight with this concert and it's not hard to work out why. 10/10.
If you thought 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' was a treat, you haven't heard anything yet. CD3 is the real highlight, and yes, it does only have 2 tracks. That doesn't matter. This will blow your mind, and if you're not already convinced, you soon will be.
The opening track, 'Octavarium', is brilliant. There is no other word for it. You need to listen to this track on your iPod or whatever when you watch the red sun rise. Seriously. John Petrucci proves he's one of the best here and it's hard to think why he isn't. It's only him ripping out a solo and the keys in the background. It creates a phenomenal noise. Haunting? Yes. Beautiful? Definitely. Effective? Affirmative. It's seven minutes until the song bursts to life, but I could listen to that opening bit all day. It's phenomenal. Then there's still 20 minutes of the song left to be played. Like 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence', there are lots of stages to this song. I would guess at least four parts, but I'm not entirely sure. What I am sure is that you need to hear this song if you're a fan of guitar music, and DT and John Petrucci in particular, steals the show here. 10/10.
Track two of CD3, 'Metropolis', is 11 minutes long. Featuring the Octavarium Orchestra once more, this song is excellent, as you would expect nothing less from a band of DT's stature. Anthemic as always, with huge instrumental bits and Petrucci solos, this song has to be given a 10/10.
This is a unique album. Yes, 'Live at Budokan' was also a 3CD set, but this album is truly exceptional. Never have I truly heard such a wonderful album for a long, long time, and pieces like 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' and 'Octavarium', especially that opening seven minutes of the latter, are mesmerising.
If you call yourself a fan of music, or a fan of metal, you need this album. I can't recommend it highly enough. 10/10.