Released: 2007, Indie
A few years back, Dream Theater had decided to do something a little special for their 20th Anniversary. Aside from the usual CD, DVD, special concert, etc this time they produced a book. Two books actually. One is subtitled IMAGES and one is subtitled WORDS. Clever!
This set is for the fans by a fan with full band participation and endorsement. The concept was to have fans pay in advance to cover production costs and the fans would then get their name in the credits in the book. DT have a lot of fans because the list of contributing fans is over 30 pages long in tiny print! The money was well spent because this is a real piece of work. The two books are housed in a red box and each book has a glossy, full colour, dust-jacket as well. Both parts are nice hardbound editions sure to please any collector.
IMAGES is a pictorial history of the band. Presented in chronological order listed by corresponding chapters it is a real treat to look back at the evolution of the band. There are a wide variety of photos here from glossy publicity shots to candid hand-held type shots and everything in betweens. Hundreds of them. Rounding out the almost 200 page book are some notes, a comprehensive tour history, a detailed discography, pretty much everything a fan could want as a visual companion to the main biography. It’s really well done and great to look at.
WORDS is really the main course of the pair. Rich Wilson, has written the definitive biography of the band. He has quotes and interviews from many, many people who have been involved with the band, producers, record label people, engineers, and of course the band members themselves, past and present. Only Kevin Moore was non-participatory it seems and that seemed to stem from lack of interest rather than any ill-will. Clocking in at a decent 344 pages the biography is full authorized and includes a brief forward from Mike Portnoy. The biography goes into painstaking detail and for a causal fan like myself I found it extremely interesting. A friend of mine who is a ‘die-hard’ DT fan said there was not that much new or interesting information that wasn’t public before. Keep in mind he is a very serious devotee of the band. There are lots of great stories and Wilson covers the good, the bad the ugly. He also has a nice emphasis on some industry points which I also find entertaining. It’s written in an entertaining and informative style and perhaps, to be expected, Wilson is a real fan of the band and tends to be quite flattering, emphasizing the positive.
Another little bonus is a compilation CD called LIFTING SHADOWS. It contain 11 cuts of rare and unreleased material enough to give even the most die-hard DT fan multiple eargasms. It’s just housed inside a wallet inside the front cover of IMAGES so it’s not much to look at but the back has full credits for these rarities, demos, live tunes, and so on. It’s a great audio companion to the book itself.
If you can find a copy of this limited edition ‘fan club only’ publication you should snap it up because there are probably not too many in circulation. Hopefully the band will re-issue an updated version to the public for the 30th anniversary.
NOTE: Now there is a revised and updated edition available. See http://www.dreamtheaterbook.com
for more details.