Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra
Progressive Metal
Disc 1: 8 songs (58:23) Disc 2: 4 songs (60:47) Disc 3: 2 songs (37:55)
Release year: 2006
Dream Theater, Rhino
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

Dream Theater is one of those bands that takes several listens in order to fully appreciate their music. One can easily get lost within their complex song arrangements. You really need to be in the mood to listen to them.

My hearing span with Dream Theater has been somewhat short lived. The first album I ever bought of theirs was "When Dream And Day Unite". What I liked about the album was that it combined the progressive writing styles of bands like Rush with the updated metallic sound of Queensryche. However, even to this day, their may be one or two memorable tracks for me. Their second album, "Images And Words" offered so much more. The band acquired new vocalist James LaBrie. The music was heavier sounding yet more melodic and had top notch production that gave the music that extra punch. I found "Images and Words" much more listenable. When "Awake" came out, I was a bit disappointed. As hard as I tried to give it a chance, I just couldn't get into it and gave up on the band. It wasn't until "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" that I started to give Dream Theater another try. With successive albums like "Train of Thought" and "Octavarium", I've become a little more interested in what this band still has to offer.

Last week that interest was further catapulted as I was watching VHI Classic. I managed to catch highlights that they aired from Dream Theater's, "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra " DVD. After watching the highlights, I must say that I'm currently on a Dream Theater kick!

"Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra " was captured live at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on April 1st, 2006. It marked the last show, the grand finale of the 20th Anniversary World Tour. It was recorded to celebrate the historic meeting between the members of Dream Theater at the Berklee School of Music. It's a three disc set that, unlike previous live releases, incorporates the Octavarium Orchestra. There are also two tracks included here live that have never been released on official studio albums: "Raise the Knife" and "Another Won". In total, 14 tracks clocking in at over two and a half hours!

After listening to "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra " in full, I must say that I've never heard a live album as flawless as this. Seeing the DVD highlights on VH1 Classic further confirmed the perfection of this performance. What you hear and what you see is truly remarkable. Dream Theater is a band of top notch musicians who are experts in their craft. They are a engine that is firing on all cylinders.

James LaBrie's vocals are outstanding live. His voice hasn't aged one bit. He sounds as good today as he did twenty years ago. All of his notes are dead on. His vocal range is as wide as the Great Wide Open! From soothing melodic passages to soaring highs, it's no wonder this guy has been in the band ever since "Images And Words". To watch Mike Portnoy's drumming live is something to be believed. His stamina is unreal. His drum kit is like a drum city of sorts! It is so big that he can actually walk around it while playing. John Petrucci has to be one of the most underrated guitar players. He's a guitar virtuoso. He is the only guitarist doing the work of two or three. Imagine what Dream Theater could do if they had two guitarists? I've always respected John Myung's bass talents. His bass lines help direct the melody lines. The playing of keyboardist Jorden Rudess rates up their with the likes of Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Tony Banks. His synth solos, keyboard passages and piano runs help give Dream Theater the progressive edge. Although newer to the band, he sounds as if he's been with them forever.

The addition of the Octavarium Orchestra to Dream Theater's music is a perfect fit. It is not overused at all nor does it take away from the music, it only adds another dimension to it. The orchestra is used on epic songs like "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" (40 minutes!) and "Octavarium". To hear these songs performed live from start to finish is a true testament in the uncanny ability of Dream Theater to re-create what they do in the studio to the live setting with such ease, perfection and success.

The recording and mix of "Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra " is just another element that helps make Dream Theater's music what it is. The recording is top notch and the mix is perfect. Every layer of music can be heard; not one instrument overpowering the other.

"Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra ", with no doubt, is Dream Theater's best live release to date. For a band to sound timeless and stronger now than they ever have, is something that any listener can appreciate.


Killing Songs :
Under A Glass Moon, Metroplois, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Octavarium, Innocence Faded
Jeff quoted No Quote
Other albums by Dream Theater that we have reviewed:
Dream Theater - Distance Over Time reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Dream Theater - Dream Theater reviewed by Rob and quoted 79 / 100
Dream Theater - Live At Budokan reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events reviewed by Crash and quoted 73 / 100
Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 18 reviews click here
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