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Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park(2012)
No synopsis for Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park.
For more about Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park and the Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray release, see Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 6, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: John Petrucci, James LaBrie, John Myung, Mike Mangini, Jordan Rudess
» See full cast & crew
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 6, 2013
Maybe there is hope after all. I am frequently pretty depressed by the state of the current music industry, where prefab "artists" are ProTools tuned to within an inch of their lives, instrumental backgrounds seem to have been churned out automatically by some sort of Casio keyboard sequencing technique, and compositional flourishes are relegated to actually changing chords more than twice in any given song. That's an exaggeration, of course, but it often seems like not by all that much. But when you listen to a band like Dream Theater, if even you're not particularly drawn to everything they do, you realize that virtuosity is not necessarily a thing of the past, and that there are still musicians out there playing music. You know, people who actually studied the art (the band founders all attended Berklee), who know the difference between a diminished and an augmented chord, and who aren't afraid to toy with unusual time signatures and structures. Dream Theater hasn't had huge chart success, only recently landing their first Top 10 single after years of decently selling albums, but their technique is unquestionably brilliant, even if some may find it at least mildly derivative of previous progressive metal outfits. This 2012 concert at Buenos Aires, Argentina's gargantuan Luna Park is immensely impressive, finding the band moving through all of the songs on its latest album (some presented as part of the concert on this Blu-ray, others shuttled off to the "Bonus Performances" section), as well as a glut of other material from their now long career. The band can create viscerally propulsive rock, albeit with a keen intellectualism, and then settle down into rather delicately filigreed ballads, and both of those approaches are highlighted throughout this performance.
Dream Theater has been universally acclaimed by critics and fans, but there has also been some attendant grumbling that the band tends to go over the same musical territory too often for its own good. That thesis is both proven and disproven in this concert. There's no denying that some of the harder edged pieces tend to start to sound similar after a while, but at the same time, really listening to the songs reveals a mastery of arranging that far too few bands display in the current music scene. Layer upon layer of sound is integrated beautifully into the overall mix, and the band tends to utilize some unusual chord progressions instead of trafficking in typical I-IV-V tropes.
This concert offers an ultimately breathtaking array of great Dream Theater tunes, including a lot of really nicely done extended versions of their already ambitious oeuvre. The concert has its fair share of bells and whistles, including an animated opening sequence and a few interstitial video elements that also spill over into the concert itself. Video director Mike Leonard uses a bit too much of the ever popular quick cutting techniques for my personal taste, but that approach is at least partially offset by the gamut of angles that have been captured here. And to Leonard's credit, when the music slows down to an amble, as in the nice set of unplugged tunes done downstage center with vocalist James LaBrie and guitar player John Petrucci, the filming style similarly relaxes, allowing the viewer to linger on the participants.
One of the big questions that may be lingering in longtime fans' minds is: how is drummer Mike Mangini? There will be some who understandably will insist that no one could replace former drummer Mike Portnoy, but simply assessing Mangini on purely technical merits, few should be able to find any fault with this performance. His long and detailed solo is a work of wonder, as he assaults an incredible array of toms that completely surround him and actually are also suspended above his head and shoulders.
Dream Theater Live at Luna Park features the following songs:
1. Bridges in the Sky
3. The Dark Eternal Night
4. This is the Life
5. The Root of All Evil
6. Lost Not Forgotten
7. Drum Solo
8. A Fortune in Lies
9. The Silent Man
10. Beneath the Surface
12. Piano Solo
14. On the Backs of Angels
15. War Inside My Head
16. The Test That Stumped Them All
17. Guitar Solo
18. The Spirit Carries On
19. Breaking All Illusions
20. Metropolis Pt. 1
21. These Walls
22. Build Me Up, Break Me Down
23. Caught in a Web
24. Wait for Sleep
25. Far From Heaven
26. Pull Me Under
For the record, there are two other editions of this release also available:
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray, Video Quality
Dream Theater Live at Luna Park is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Eagle Vision, an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment, with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. When things are adequately lit, this is an incredibly sharp and well detailed looking high definition presentation, one that allows for often phenomenal levels of fine detail (take a look at John Petrucci's backlit hair in the first screenshot accompanying this review for a nice example). However, this presentation suffers from that "same old, same old" bugaboo of quasi-posterizing when the lighting becomes particularly intense, especially when it drifts toward the blue or purple end of the spectrum. Look, for example, at the lights behind Petrucci in the fifth screenshot (which may not be entirely fair, as the camera is facing the lights), or for a perhaps more notable example, Jordan Rudess' left hand in the sixth screenshot. This is a separate issue from intentionally tweaked video (as in screenshot 9). Generally, though, things look fantastically sharp throughout this presentation, even with the stage largely swathed in black at times.
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Dream Theater Live at Luna Park features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix as well as an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo fold down. Both of these tracks are incredibly visceral, but for full effect, there's little doubt the 5.1 track should be chosen. It much more clearly emphasizes the battery of percussion coming from Mangini as well as bassist John Myung's febrile work. While the band's sound can tend to be fairly heavily massed in the mid- to lower ranges, everything sounds wonderfully clear here, though at times the band's overpowering instrumental assault can tend to just slightly bury LaBrie's vocals. Audience noise is somewhat more noticeable in the 5.1 mix as well. Both of these tracks offer sterling fidelity and extremely wide dynamic range.
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Dream Theater Live at Luna Park is an almost exhausting experience, clocking in at several hours and finding the band running through an incredible gamut of material spanning the entire course of their career. The band continues to push the boundaries of progressive metal, and if it's probably undeniable that they occasionally tread where they've already traveled, they infuse their material with so much general finesse that it's hard to get too worked up about some passing repetition. This Blu-ray has some of the recurrent issues that crop up in other live videos, none of them deal killers, but it comes with outstanding audio and, for a little icing on the cake, some decent supplements. Highly recommended.
Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park: Other Editions
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Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Dream Theater: Live at Luna Park Blu-ray - September 5, 2013
Eagle Rock Entertainment has officially announced that it will release Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park on Blu-ray, 2DVD, and as a Deluxe Edition. The deluxe edition is an 11.5" square 60 page hardback photobook containing the Blu-ray, 2 DVDs and 3 CDs presenting ...
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