Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dream Theater – Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour

Dream Theater – Score:
20th Anniversary World Tour
Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Score is Dream Theater’s best live album to date…and they’ve had a lot of them. It’s the fifth “official” live album released in the US by the band following Live at the Marquee, Once in a Livetime, Live Scenes From New York and Live at Budokan (sixth if you include the second half of the A Change of Seasons disc as a live album).

The performances turned in by Dream Theater at Radio City Music Hall that have been captured on Score are exemplary examples of progressive metal at its best. Perfectly synchronized guitar and keyboard runs by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess and elaborately syncopated rhythms laid down by Mike Portnoy and John Myung, all nearly flawless, comprise Score’s nearly 156 minute entirety. The four instrumentalists of Dream Theater are all such virtuosos of their chosen instruments, that what took years of studio work to accomplish can be played nearly perfect, note for note, for over two and a half hours every night.

The biggest surprise on Score is how well Dream Theater vocalist, James LaBrie holds up for the entire performance. LaBrie is a gifted singer with an extraordinary vocal range and on Score he demonstrates that his talents are not a product of a studio environment. Vocally, he is in better form on Score than any of Dream Theater’s previous live recordings.

Score also contains a stellar performance by, as the title references, the Octavarium Orchestra. This is most notable on the 41 minute opus that is Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. Beginning with a “Hollywood” sounding instrumental piece, the Orchestra is eventually joined by the band and rockets through Six Degrees in its entirety. Many bands play full sets in the time Dream Theater devotes to just one track from this fourteen piece epic.

Score, when taken as a whole, proves an excellent way to immortalize, not only one night in New York City, but an extremely creative and prolific career of a band that has been at the forefront of a genre of music since they began playing together. To the listener, Score allows those of us who weren’t able to be there that evening to get an idea of what it was like for those who were and to get a glimpse of what it felt like for the band.

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