Dream Theater – Chaos In Motion (DVD)

Reviewed: June 2017
Released: 2008, Roadrunner
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP


One of many top quality Dream Theater live DVD’s.

The holy triumvirate of product overkill?: Rush, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. Ever since about…say the turn of the century, all three of these bands have (pretty much) released a double (or triple!) Live CD and a double (or triple) Live DVD and some sort of combo thereof, when they want to document a tour. It’s gets overwhelming and in terms of time, energy, musical fatigue and budget. Something has to give. Of the three above mentioned bands, Dream Theater comes in third place for me when it comes to those tough decisions about buying every single freaking live CD / DVD the bands put out. Accordingly, I’m a bit behind on my Dream Theater Live albums. Setting aside the official bootleg live albums on the Ytse Jam sub-label, (all 13 of them) Dream Theater has churned out eight Live albums. Five of those have matching DVD’s. Now this, I don’t mind. I want my Live CD and my Live DVD’s separate but that means a lot of time and money. I have some, most of them, but not all.

So, it is always a nice surprise when I can fill a gap in my collection, perhaps something that I passed on the first time around. When I recently found a copy of CHAOS IN MOTION (the DVD) new, sealed for under $15.00 I snatched it with glee. This standard DVD is a two-disc set but CHAOS IN MOTION also comes in the five disc, (3 CD, 2 DVD) configuration. There is no booklet but there are some bonus features on the second disc.

Disc One, as you might expect is a live concert from the SYSTEMATIC CHAOS album tour called CHAOS IN MOTION. Well, actually it is one of those compilation shows with select songs from select cities around the world. Normally I don’t like this format as much, I’d rather see one whole show, but considering Dream Theater are one of those bands that are so technically proficient that almost every show is pretty close in terms of execution, set-list, stage set-up etc. They are not really a spontaneous jam band, everything is pretty choreographed and micro-managed, so it doesn’t really matter that one song is shot in Vancouver, and another in Bangkok, or where-ever they are playing that night. The concert is a pro-shot, or series of pro-shot, multi-camera shoots and lots of dynamic lighting and LED screens all presented without being overblown or too pretentious. No giant inflatable monsters! The sound quality is also perfectly fine

The second disc of bonus features is pretty cool with a 90-minute documentary about the tour. It is a little dry visually but offers lots of insight into the life and times of a successful, large scale Hard Rock/ Prog Metal band. I’ve seen dozens of these types of docs over the years and BEHIND THE CHAOS ON THE ROAD, as it is so dubbed, is as good as any. Truth be told, much like the Rush and Maiden documentaries) it is a bit mundane, we have a bunch of professional, married, middle-aged musicians chatting about work, so if you are looking for sex, drugs and rock and roll, you won’t find it here. If you get off on learning about the crazy routine that Portnoy’s drum-tech (used) to go through, then this will keep you enthralled. There are lots of chats/interviews with the crew, caterers, managers, production guys, all nice, hard-working guys, making a living bring the show night after night.

Also included are a couple of videos and in a nice touch they included the rear screen projection films that accompanied the live concert. There are a couple of smaller segments of tours of the stage and backstage. There is a photo gallery. Does anyone even look at this as a feature on a DVD? Overall the theme of ‘chaos’ is explored but in reality, these Dream Theater mega-tours and shows are so well-organized and orchestrated that even Portnoy himself admitted where was ‘very little chaos’. It’s hard to talk about chaos and seem sincere when you are getting a your daily, professional massage before the show!
Looking back on my review before publishing it, I noticed I had a bit of a dismissive tone or seemed a bit disengaged. I don’t want the reader to get the wrong idea. All of this DVD is top notch and world class. The true, die-hard fans will love it. I really enjoyed it too. Perhaps my mild lack of enthusiasm is the fact that virtually every single Dream Theater DVD has a tour documentary, (BUDOKAN, SCORE, LUNA PARK, etc) so again that concept of fatigue comes into play. But like Yngwie says…”more is more”.


No Videos Available

Track Listing:
1. Intro / Also sprach Zarathustra
2. Constant Motion
3. Panic Attack
4. Blind Faith
5. Surrounded
6. The Dark Eternal Night
7. Keyboard Solo
8. Lines in the Sand
9. Scarred
10. Forsaken
11. The Ministry of Lost Souls
12. Take the Time
13. In the Presence of Enemies
14. Shmedley Wilcox: I – Trial of Tears, II – Finally Free, III – Learning to live, IV – In the Name of God, V – Octavarium

Disc Two:

-“Behind the Chaos on the Road” Documentary

-Promo Videos:
01. Constant Motion
02. Forsaken
03. Forsaken (In Studio)
04. The Dark Eternal Night (In Studio)

-Live Screen Projection Films:
01. The Dark Eternal Night (N.A.D.S)
02. The Ministry of Lost Souls
03. In the Presence of Enemies Pt. 2

-* Mike Portnoy Stage Tour
-* Mike Portnoy Backstage Tour
-* Photo Gallery

Technical Details:
Format Reviewed:
Run Time: n/a
Screen: n/a
Sound: n/a
Production Year: 2008