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Symphony X
Live on The Edge of Forever
March 2002
Released: 2002, InsideOut Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

There are (in my theory, feel free to disagree!) three basic types of Live CD’s. Even though this is a Symphony X review I’m going to use Iron Maiden as my introductory example.



Tour Stop. (Eg. Live After Death) This is a live recording of one show at a single date on a tour. Usually a straight representation mostly featuring tracks from the last studio CD. Songs a re generally in order of the set-list. This is the most common kind of Live CD.



Tour Representation. (Eg. A Real Live/Dead One) Songs taken from a number of different shows and mixed together. Some times crowd noise is added to bridge the gaps. The track listing on the CD is not necessarily in the order that the songs were played on the tour. This is a fairly common type of Live CD.



Special Event. (Eg. Live At Donnington) Live recording of a special, one-time festival, charity or anniversary show. Special or rare songs can be featured on these CD’s. This is the least common type of Live CD.



Live on The Edge of Forever falls in the second category of Tour Representation. Recorded in an unspecified number of unspecified European countries in October 2000 and June 2001 this CD is a pretty accurate overview of those two tours.



The packaging is excellent as always with these guys. Over 20 live shots, credits etc, no lyrics but that’s forgivable. The cover art ties in a number of visual elements from other studio CD covers. A double CD clocking in at over 105 minutes, LOTEOF is an excellent value.



Here’s the parts I don’t like. 15 songs! Although the actual time of the CD is long it seems short or lacking somehow. It’s hard to explain because there is a ton of music on these discs. However, there are no songs from the debut, no songs from DAMNATION GAME, and only two from TWILIGHT IN OLYMPUS. CD1 is basically all of V-THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE and the rest is mostly from DIVINE WINGS. I would have liked to hear greater variety in song selection, but as mentioned this is a tour representation CD so they chose to focus on the songs from the last studio CD. Besides I don’t think I have EVER read a review of a Live CD where the reviewer wrote, “Every single song that should be on this disc, and every song I wanted on this disc, are on this Live CD!” It just doesn’t happen. There are too many variables in taste. I would have liked an unreleased bonus track, some rare material, something to give this a little extra kick. How about an old Phantom’s Opera track? That would have been sweet…



I have championed this band for years dishing out over $30.00 per import disc over the last 7 years and I am fully delighted that they are finally getting the recognition they fully deserve. Their back catalogue is getting re-issued (again!) so all the rest of the world can hear what a great band they are. This Live CD is truly magnificent. It has been said before of this CD and I fully echo the sentiment, the ability of the band to pull off the studio material in the live setting is stunning. It is a real testament to the bands technical proficiency. The live stuff in spots even has more punch then the studio stuff! There is not a lot of crowd banter but that’s OK, a forgivable sin of omission. The sound is sterling, the crowd is nice and loud in parts, enthusiastic and boisterous. Overall a really great CD, an absolute must for fans and a great introduction for the fans who do not want to dish out high import prices or wait for the re-issues later this year.



Snapping at the heels of the Holy Trinity of prog-metal (Dream Theater, Queensryche and Fates Warning) Symphony X are truly leaders in a strong, exciting and vibrant scene featuring a whole new (ish) dynamic group of bands like Evergrey, Vanden Plas, Pain Of Salvation, Zero Hour and more. As time goes on these bands will get the recognition (read: sales) they deserve. A highly recommended Live CD by the leaders in the progressive metal genre.
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