Released: 2011, Eagle Vision
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Dream Theater have amassed a wealth of musical growth and achievement in their twenty-six years as a band, becoming one of the archetypal figureheads of the progressive metal world in the process. LIVE IN BUDOKAN is a live performance documenting a band who at the time in 2004 had just released their seventh full length studio effort entitled "Train Of Thought".
The production quality on LIVE AT BUDOKAN is fantastic, as is consistent with most Blu Ray concert DVD's. Whether or not you can embrace the band's setlist or not is more at the discretion of each individual viewer, keep in mind the "Train Of Thought" album is thought by many a DT fan to be somewhat of a dissapointment and change in musical direction. It would however be difficult to argue with the exceptional picture quality and 5.1 Surround Sound.
The concert begins with the energetic "As I Am" taken from the "Train Of Thought" album before diving headfirst into to the second chapter of the AA saga with "This Dying Soul". An impromptu trade off of extended solo's is featured during the next number, "Beyond This Light". My guess is only the most enthusiastic of prog rock fans will be able to absorb this kind of noodling without finding things a bit dull after the first five or six minutes.
"Hollow Years" features guitarist John Petrucci donning a more classical approach on guitar during the intro, being a shining example of one of the band's past recorded works that goes over fuller and stronger sounding in the live environment. "War Inside My Head" and "The Test That Stumped Them All" (the third and fourth movements from the eight part "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" album)further reinforce the heavier side of the prog pioneers and set the stage for the whopping eleven minute plus "Endless Sacrifice".
"Instrumedley" (essentially a medley of past instrumental classics) is entertaining for what it is, showcasing Dream Theater's nearly in-human virtuosic jam band prowess. But coming on the heels of "Endless Sacrifice" you may need a ten minute intermission to fix yourself a drink and a sandwich, as this is all a lot to digest in a single sitting.
The song "Trial Of Tears" up to that point, was considered something of a rarity for the band to perform in concert, so this piece makes for a case for one of the discs highlights, as does the addition of classics like "Only A Matter Of Time" and "Pull Me Under". Things come to a close with "In The Name Of God" (the final track from "Train Of Thought")
All in all, this Blu Ray release should be enough to keep any Dream Theater fan busy for a good while. Loaded with bonus features, there is an engaging Japanese tour documentary, behind the scenes features on several key band members and a short opening video played on the big screen before the band's live performances. If you are a Dream Theater fan, this DVD comes highly recommended.