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Dream Theater: Live At Budokan(2004)
Filmed at Tokyo's famous Budokan Hall in April 2004, this Blu-ray captures Dream Theater on the tour in support of their 2003 album Train Of Thought . Most of the tracks from that album are included along with songs from right across their career. Dream Theater's musical virtuosity is renowned and their live performances are legendary and this show from Japan is undoubtedly one of their finest. Filmed in high definition and now released on Blu-ray for the first time this is undoubtedly Dream Theater at their very best. Bonus Features Riding The Train Of Thought Documentary / John Petrucci Guitar World / Jordan Rudess Keyboard World / Mike Portnoy Drum Solo / Dream Theater Chronicles 2004 Tour Opening Video / Instrumedley Multiangle Bonus
For more about Dream Theater: Live At Budokan and the Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray release, see the Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 21, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: James LaBrie, Mike Portnoy, John Myung, Jordan Rudess, John Petrucci
Director: Yuji Morihara
» See full cast & crew
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 21, 2011
Live At Budokan is an approximately 3-hour long show that was filmed in 2004, while Dream Theater were touring Japan to support their Train Of Thought album. The 18-song show features material from the then-new album, some of the band's greatest hits, a good number of songs from the double album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and their now legendary breakthrough single "Pull Me Under". Live At Budokan was previously released on DVD (and a triple CD set), but this is the first time it appears on Blu-ray.
The band is in top form here. A lot of the songs are very long and demanding utmost concentration but are brilliantly performed, making it very difficult to pick a highlight. The superb "Instrumedley" for instance, is a prime example of how incredibly strong technically the band is and how extremely comfortable its members are with each other. On the other hand, the great power ballad "Hollow Years" shows that Dream Theater are fantastic songwriters as well.
Dream Theater's music blends elements from a variety of different styles, from classic hard rock to classic progressive rock to classic heavy metal. Unsurprisingly, each of their albums has a unique identity and never rehashes old material and ideas. Naturally, each previous album is a starting point for something new, a prologue to an exciting new territory the band has not previously explored.
The presence of these unique ides is quite obvious in Live at Budokan. In addition to classic progressive oriented songs, such as "Only A Matter Of Time" and "New Millennium", there are also the notably heavier "As I Am" and "In The Name Of God" from Train Of Thought, which reintroduce classic heavy metal elements within some very intelligent contemporary rock arrangements. There are a couple of great improvisations as well (Jordan's keyboard solo), which prove that rock is not the only style the members of Dream Theater are comfortable experimenting with.
The production quality is outstanding. The camerawork in particular is first-class. The crucial editing, courtesy of Darrin Roberts, and audio mixing, courtesy of Kevin Shirley, are also solid.
Note: The line-up that performed this wonderful show in 2004 was: James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (guitar, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), John Myung (bass, stick), Jordan Rudess (keyboards).
1. As I Am
2. This Dying Soul
3. Beyond This Life
4. Hollow Years
5. War Inside My Head
6. The Test That Stumped Them All
7. Endless Sacrifice
9. Trial Of Tears
10. New Millennium
11. Keyboard Solo
12. Only A Matter Of Time
13. Goodnight Kiss
14. Solitary Shell
15. Stream of Consciousness
17. Pull Me Under
18. In The Name of God
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080i "live" transfer, Dream Theater: Live At Budokan arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Filmed in high-definition in 2004, the show looks terrific on Blu-ray. Close-ups, for example, are remarkably detailed even when the stage lights are extremely bright (see screencaptures #1 and 15). Colors are vivid and stable, and there are absolutely no shadow issues whatsoever. Motion-judder is also never a serious issue of concern (I did not see even tiny traces of motion blur). What impressed me the most, however, was the terrific camerawork. The band is followed by multiple cameras that offer an enormous amount of outstanding looks at the musicians and the enthusiastic audience in the venue. Obviously, this isn't the first time a live show has benefited from excellent camerawork, but considering the complex nature of the music Dream Theater are known for, the close-ups are indeed very well timed and then integrated with the rest of the footage. Finally, there are no compression issues or other specific transfer-related anomalies to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-raty disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, LPCM 2.0. and Dolby Digital 5.1. For the record, I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and later on did a few random comparisons with the other two tracks for the purpose of this review.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has excellent depth and raw fidelity. The vocals and guitars are well separated, never dropping or completely disappearing, and the crowd noise kept in check. The drums are prominent but never overpowering. The keyboards sound as rich and sharp as the guitars (check out "Disappear"). I was particularly impressed by the wonderful crisp and well rounded sound during the keyboard solo. Simply terrific stuff. Lastly, there are absolutely no audio drops or sync issues to report in this review.
The LPCM 2.0 track isn't bad at all, but for some strange reason the keyboards have a tendency to stick out quite a bit. The guitars, however, sound outstanding (check out the guitar entry in "Goodnight Kiss"). The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is without a shadow of a doubt the best option, though.
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Dream Theater: Live At Budokan was one of the very best rock shows to be released on DVD back in 2004. In my opinion, it is clearly superior to Score and a must-own for anyone interested in progressive heavy metal, not just fans of Dream Theater. As usual, Eagle Rock Entertainment's presentation is of exceptionally high quality. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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