Accusations of "been there, done that" would not be out of place when talking about Dream Theater's latest release. Being their 5th live album (although in all fairness, their Live at the Marquee album from the early nineties was an import-only release for stateside fans, so maybe that one doesn't really count).
The frequency of their live albums can be forgiven in this instance... The setlist on this exceptional release is considerably different than that of their Live at Budokan live set from 2004, and on two of the three discs they are backed by a full orchestra.
It's the orchestral arrangements on discs 2 and 3 that give this exceptional release a certain extra chutzpah to set it apart from their other live albums.
Both Octavarium and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence benefit tremendously from the orchestral treatment. There are orchestral nuances and embellishments that really add tremendously to the performances of those songs in particular.
But it's not just those tracks that make this a must-have live set: the band dug into their archives for Another Won which is from their 1986 demo when they were still known as Majesty and fronted by the emminently unlistenable lead vocalist, Chris Collins. James LaBrie's vocals take a song that was previously unlistenable and make it an absolute treat to listen to. They also play Raise the Knife which had been recorded for 1997's Falling Into Infinity but had not made it onto the album itself. It's these extra tracks in addition to the orchestral arrangements which make this live set one that is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
Dream Theater Images and Words (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Awake (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Home (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Live in Cleveland 9-3-02 (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Octavarium (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Score (Amazon.com link)
Dream Theater Official Site