Sound — 9
This is a unique Dream Theater DVD. It's not one whole concert, it's two and a half hours worth of footage from their '94-'95 "Waking Up The World" tour and their '97-'98 "Touring Into Infinity" world tour. There is also some footie from their uncovered show at Ronnie Scott's in London in January of '95, and of their unplugged fan club show in Rotterdam, June of '98. Even more footie includes scenes from the recording of Awake and Falling Into Infinity, and the music videos for "Lie", "The Silent Man", and "Hollow Years". There is also audio commentary for the full video. Overall, the disc is packed with features, making this one of my favorite Dream Theater DVDs. The sound quality is a little off on a few songs, but it's no big deal.
Content — 9
The content on this DVD is listed above. It's a mash-up of different points in DT's career spanning from '94 to '98. But it's a mash-up in a good way, because it has a wide variety of footage. This footage goes in no particular chronological order.
01. The "Unplugged" Fan Club Show - they call it unplugged, but John Petrucci gets out his electrics for most of the songs. The performance of "Anna Lee" is incredible. By unplugged, they mean that DT's more mellow songs are played.
02. The "Uncovered" Fan Club Show - they feature three songs from this show on this DVD. They do a version of Yes's "Starship Trooper" with an extended guitar solo, with special guest Steve Howe! That made me happy. He still rocks. Another one DT did was a death metal version of "Damage Inc." with special guest Barney Greenway of Napalm Death! John Myung instantly starts cracking up when Barney goes into "singing" the first verse. The commentary section for this track in particular is hilarious.
03. "Lie" video - the radio edited version of "Lie", still totally rocks though. The video is actually pretty cool, and it's my favorite video by them.
04. "The Silent Man" video - this video is pretty interesting. I would recommend watching it once, then turning on the commentary and watching it again. The band discusses what's happening in it, and helped me understand it better.
05. "Hollow Years" video - this video was never actually released, as mentioned on the commentary. Pretty boring. Low point of the DVD.
06. Behind the scenes. Awake - this is an interesting look at what went into the making of Awake. The slomo shot of a possibly drunk John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy dancing around and falling down is pretty funny. Falling Into Infinity - this is mostly a comedy section, and sort of a tribute to the now-departed Derek Sherinian. He may have been kind of ridiculous, but he was quite funny.
The rest of the footage is from the tours they did to back these two albums. During one shot, you can see the back of Dimebag Darrell's head (pointed out on commentary), and later Mike Portnoy talks with Vinnie Paul. The commentary makes this video better, but you should watch the whole thing at least once before you turn the commentary on.
Production Quality — 7
The production quality is okay at best. Many shots don't have very good picture quality, and sometimes the sound is off. Also, when the musicians are soloing, the camera sometimes takes a while to get to them. It's not a huge hassle, though. Mike Portnoy also admits in the commentary that he needed to cut out parts of songs to achieve a short enough time for the DVD.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a great Dream Theater DVD, and is very different from the rest. It has a wide variety of footage from many different places, and goes in no particular chronological order. Most of this DVD is very impressive. This won't get stolen or lost, it's never leaving my sight. Buy this is you're looking to watch some great music being made, and are up for some laughs along the way!