THE MUSIC =========== Streets: A Rock Opera as it was released twenty odd years ago was already a special affair. The Narrated Version takes it to a whole new level by immersing the listener completely into this audio 'film'. This is what the added narration feels like: 'watching' a film with your ears.
Unlike a lot of bands who write soulless, bland and detached concept albums/rock operas where the music struggles to capture either the mood of the characters or the setting, Savatage's stories are vivid and engaging because the band has mastered the art of conveying emotions through their songs. In the frightful Sammy and Tex, I feel that I'm literally in the room witnessing the lethal altercation or drifting aimlessly and dejected in Ghost In The Ruins. And Criss Oliva writes the most appropriate guitar solos suitable for each track to keep in line with the mood of the story.
THE VIDEOS =========== Can't believe it took the powers that be so long to release all those awesome videos on DVD. At last you can watch them in all their glory on a big screen instead of your puny portable device.
THE ARTWORK ============ I've always been a great fan of Savatage artwork; it's always classy. In this case the iconic image of the bleeding guitar entwined with a rose climber has been re-imagined and used as the front cover. We are also treated to a luxurious booklet with complete lyrics for the songs and narration, plenty of powerful full page photographs (not those ridiculously small thumbnails that seem to plague a lot of reissues these days; thumbnails which require a telescope and 20/20 vision to recognise the musicians) of the band, some of which I have never seen before, as well as liner notes to the songs and videos. If I had to be pedantic I would pick on the poor choice of adding a bevel to the logo which takes away from the overall design.
CONCLUSION =========== Overall The Narrated Version is an excellent way of rediscovering one of the finest concept albums/rock operas ever released.
What can you say about Savatage they are a sadly underated band by all bar there fans so if you own the original release then you will know the whole story and the great music.This brings the story to life through a friend of the main character D t Jesus going over his life, it brings the album to life BUY THIS. If you are new to Savatage then be assured this is them at there all time best the artist are on fire, the song writing is brilliant and the story although slightly cheesy is well told through song and word BUY THIS. Add to this the dvd with music videos then it is great value for money. Buy this
As much it is a shame that this was not released in the United States, I would definitely say its worth picking up. Included is all the narration (done by Jon Oliva) along with the original version of Jesus Saves (which was/is also available on the From The Gutter To The Stage compilation- disc 2) and the highlight here is the bonus track Larry Elbows which wasn't rerecorded- the original version with Criss Oliva doing a shredding solo that was carried over on to Follow Me from their next album Edge Of Thorns. Liner notes are also really nice with Jon giving a detatiled account of recording the album along with detailed accounts of all the videos. The video collection swayed me into buying this and was hoping it wasn't region encoded and as luck would have it, its not. Its nice to see all the videos in high definition. I could nitpick and say that I wish there was some live material too but for now, I will keep my fingers crossed for another reissue with a live DVD. Also included on the DVD are bonus audio tracks of the acoustic version of Sleep (found on the US pressing of The Wake Of Magellan), 2 live tracks from Japan Live 94 (with pretty awful sound quality...not to mention it was an odd time for the band to begin with), Shotgun Innocence and Forever After (which again can be found on disc 2 of FTGFTTS) and an acoustic interlude that Al Pitrelli recorded for The Wake Of Magellan called Voyage (which was released on the compilation THe Best And The Rest). Highly recommeded for Savatage fans. Thanks Jon and Paul and hope we can get some live Savatage on DVD at some point!!!
This version is even better than the original one. The narration actually adds a lot to the story, and this version of "Jesus Saves" is awesome and fits so well within the album concept. Get this one... even if you have the other versions... also the DVD is a great bonus!!!
If you enjoyed the original release of this album, this is a must have. If you have not gotten into Savatage, then this is an excellent album to start with. The video collection is an unexpected plus. The bonus track "Larry Elbows" is a pleasant surprise as it has only prior been floating around in bootlegs. The only thing I wished that was included is the version of "Jesus Saves" that was on the original release, but you get the album "that was supposed to be" according to Paul and Jon. Overall, this is a great buy.
As a huge Savatage fan from way back in the day I somehow missed this reissue. I remember getting this on vinyl on its day of release and wore it thin. The original CD has been worn thin too.This album is up there with their best. One thing about Savatage is the consistency of their material. The theatrical, dramatic sound was ahead of its time back in the latter years of the 80's. That said this music is timeless as no-one, and I mean no-one, comes close to sounding like them thereby they still retain originality. This is a fantastic reissue as you get the videos DVD which is a great addition and also the CD is fully narrated between tracks to develop the story. It's well worth the money for any avid Savatage fan and if you don't know the band this is a superb entry level album to them as it will blow your socks off.
Is it their best? Well that's all a matter of taste. Savatage never produced a bad album that's for sure. For me, their best was 'Hall of the Mountain King' which was ranked by Kerrang back in the day, when the magazine was worth reading, as one of the most defining albums of the 80's rock/metal genre which is hard to disagree with as it was Streets (pardon the pun) ahead of anything. For anyone unsure buy this - you absolutely will not be disappointed :-)
Absolutely love Savatage. Have to confess bought this on the strength of getting the music video's. But then saying that , when i listened to Streets again , i'd forgotten how great that was , with a fantastic music score.