Score Review

artist: Dream Theater date: 09/04/2006 category: dvd

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Dream Theater: Score
Release Date: August 29, 2006
For Dream Theater fans, "Score" is a godsend. It provides not only the orchestral concert, but also a documentary detailing the evolution of the band. Even if you've never heard a Dream Theater song before, you might just become a believer when you watch even just one of the solos on "Score".
 Sound: 9.2
 Content: 9.8
 Production Quality: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.6
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reviews (5) 36 comments vote for this dvd:
overall: 9.3
Score Featured review by: UG Team, on september 04, 2006
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sound: If there is one thing that Dream Theater cannot be accused of, it's not giving a crowd it's money's worth at a concert. The band's latest DVD release Score, a concert at Radio City Hall to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, supplies a heavy helping of awe-inspiring guitar and keyboard solos, songs exceeding the 40-minute mark, and a 30-piece orchestra to top it all off. With some bands, the addition of an orchestra might seem pretentious, but for Dream Theater it actually fits to a tee. They are one of the few bands who have shown over the years that they are skilled enough to play pretty much anything -- from orchestral movements to covers of Metallica.

While there are no covers of Master Of Puppets (which they've been known to cover) on Score, the two-disc DVD gives fans and newcomers a much better grasp of why the progressive rock band has been heralded as being as symphonic as any chamber orchestra. The concert portion of the DVD is phenomenal when it comes to relaying the talent of each musician in Dream Theater. One of the best examples of this clarity is Under A Glass Moon, in which Petrucci approaches bassist John Myung and proceeds to pick his bandmate's bass -- during the middle of his own solo. And then there are Petrucci's runs -- not to mention keyboardist Jordan Rudess' synthesized runs -- which are images to behold. Probably one of the most fascinating moments is when Rudess uses his continuum, a MIDI-controlled keyboard of sorts that changes note or vibrato with the pressure pressed upon it.

Vocalist James LaBrie's trademark wails and Mike Portnoy's immaculate skills round out the larger-than-life sound of Dream Theater. LaBrie's vocals may be a bit too over-the-top for some listeners, given that the man can hit plenty of notes that many girls would not dare to try reach. But put in perspective, the band needs a singer who has the range and the staying power to do a song like Six Degrees Of Separation, a 41-minute long epic song.

The performance takes on a different feel with the introduction of the Octavarium Orchestra, with songs focusing on more of ethereal feel rather than the harder style of the first set's song The Root Of All Evil. The beginning portion of the second set actually features a lengthy intro by the orchestra alone, which hopefully can still be embraced by fans who are eager to get their next dose of Dream Theater. // 10

Content: While Score offers more than the average music DVD out there, it should also be noted that it is probably more easily appreciated when watched over several days. The first disc is approximately three hours long and includes the two sets of the 20th Anniversary concert in New York City. The first set is a more straightforward concert that features songs from Octavarium, Images and Words, and some other unexpected offerings like Raise The Knife, which was actually cut from the Falling Into Infinity album. The addition of the orchestra, which is featured on six tracks, adds a little something new for die-hard Dream Theater fans.

Be sure to check out the second disc, which contains a documentary and behind-the-scenes look at the band. It's a fascinating peek at Dream Theater, from their formation during their college days in Boston to their gamble on the concept album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory. Along with the documentary, there are also a few bonus live performances that span from 1993 to 2005. // 9

Production Quality: The production quality is pretty basic and straightforward on Score. There are plenty of bands that have gone more toward an artistic approach to the visual content, but Dream Theater has kept the filming simple and allowed the concert to speak for itself.

There are not many crowd shots, which contrasts a great deal from other concert DVDs released. It actually would have been fascinating to watch some of the faces on the Dream Theater fans, particularly because the beginning of the DVD shows a few of them speaking their undying devotion to the band. But all in all, when you're watching Petrucci and the gang playing their solos, you don't really remember the audience is there at all. // 9

Overall Impression: As a band, Dream Theater has a truly mystifying level of communication between the musicians. When Petrucci and Rudess play an intricate, oddly timed solo together - hitting each note perfectly in sync with one another - it's mind-blowing, plain and simple. There are few bands that have a set that is as tight as Dream Theater and Score provides the proof.

While it is definitely the musicians' ability as a whole that has given Dream Theater it's reputation over the years, the missing ingredient in the Score DVD was a more enthralling stage presence from LaBrie. He has plenty of emotion in his eyes, but his energy is minimal for being a frontman. The Score show could have been taken to an even more impressive level if LaBrie connected just a bit more with the audience.

For Dream Theater fans, Score is a godsend. It provides not only the orchestral concert, but also a documentary detailing the evolution of the band. Even if you've never heard a Dream Theater song before, you might just become a believer when you watch even just one of the solos on Score. // 9

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overall: 9.5
Score Reviewed by: kdownes, on may 28, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Dream Theater is my second favourite band. The have really redifined progressive rock/metal, mixing elements of Yes and Genesis wit the crushing riff of Metallica and the guitar work of Iron Maiden. Every member of Dream Theater is an absolute God at what they do. John Petrucci is one of the greatest guitar players ever but my favourite member is Jordan Rudess. Jorddan Rudess is the greatest keyboard playeralive. He can do things with the keyboard I thought were impossibe and the way he interacts with Petrucci is stunning. The DVD was filmed at the New York City Radio Music Hall and I the 20th anniversary world tour. About the only let down song in the first half is Afterlife, which is a bit lifeless. In the second half, the orchestra enters. The disc ends with an encore of "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper", one of the best songs on the DVD. // 9

Content: Score is a 2 DVD set. The first DVD is the full concert with Doby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound or PCM Stereo. The 2nd disc contains the bonus features. The bonus features are: a fantastic documentary detailling the band from start to present, an animation and three other bonus live tracks. One of the thing I really like about this DVD is that it includes a song from nearly every album but instead of doing one from Falling Into Infinty they do a previously unreleased so, Raise The Knife, which is my favourite song of theirs. // 10

Production Quality: The production quality is fantastic. Mike Portnoy produced the DVD so there is a lot ofhim being shown, but that's alright because he's such a fantastic drummer. The also use split screen alot, either sowintwo artists, two different angles of the same person or, during Octavarium, the animation and an artist. // 9

Overall Impression: This is my favourite DVD (second favourite: Metallica - S&M). I could listen to it all day long. My favourite pats of the DVD are the documentary and Metropolis. I love whe they bring the orchestra in. It really adds another element to the music. If someone stole this DVD, I would hunt them don and kill them. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Score Reviewed by: petrucci_owns86, on november 13, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Dream Theater sounds great on this concert DVD, and they played a selection of songs that spanned their whole career. They also played several songs promoting their brand new (at the time) album Octavarium. Most of the songs have a amazing guitar solo done by John Petrucci, and/or a jaw-dropping keyboard solo done by Jordan Rudess. Dream Theater plays progressive metal, and they have throughout their entire career. Although, they can slow down a little and become more mellow, such as on "The Spirit Carries On" and "The Answer Lies Within". My only complaint is that James LaBrie's voice gets kind of ridiculous on parts of "Under a Glass Moon" and "Innocence Faded". One other thing I have a problem with is that you can barely hear John Myung's bass. // 9

Content: This DVD includes the show DT played at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on April 1st, 2006. It includes the show (disc one), which pushes over two and a half hours, and a bonus material disc (disc two). The show is awesome, but the bonus features are actually almost as good. The bonus material is: The Score so Far (20th Anniversary Documentary), which is an hour of DT history, Octavarium Animation, and three bonus tracks. Setlist: 01. The Root Of All Evil - great way to start the show, the beginning riff really kicks you in the ass. Amazing keyboard solo, guitar solo, and keyboard/guitar unison. 02. I Walk Beside You - not my favorite DT song, no guitar solo, and kind of a weird song to play second in the show. Has sort of a U2-ish vibe to it. 03. Another Won - great early DT song, John Petrucci really shines here. This was one of their first songs ever written. 04. Afterlife - it's ok, but not great. Kind of has a radio-oriented vibe to it. But it's got a killer riff to it, so it's still okay. 05. Under A Glass Moon - very good song, but James LaBrie kinda goes all opera on parts of this song. On the other hand, the musicianship on this song really comes together, with one of Petrucci's best solos on the DVD. 06. Innocence Faded - pretty well done, although LaBrie's voice veers off into opera territory for pretty much this whole song. But, once again, the instrumentalists make up for this at the end of the song. 07. Raise The Knife - an awesome unreleased DT track, written around the time that Falling Into Infinity was released. One of my favorite songs on the DVD. The solos are crazy here. Great opening riff, also. 08. The Spirit Carries On - more mellow DT song, with more amazing solos from Mr. Petrucci. What can I say, awesome song. 09. Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence - when this 42 minute song was done, my jaw was stuck to the floor. This song also marks the start of the second set, with the orchestra. Longest song on the DVD. 10. Vacant - no guitar or drums here, it's pretty much just James LaBrie singing with a cello (I think) in the background. It's actually kind of a neat departure though. Shortest song on the DVD. 11. The Answer Lies Within - another mellow song. No real solos here. This and "Vacant" are kind of like a breather, before the three final epics. This song is still pretty good though. 12. Sacrificed Sons - wow, what can I say. Amazing. Discusses the terrorist attack in New York and the war in Iraq, I believe. 13. Octavarium - my favorite song on the DVD. Has my favorite keyboard solo, guitar solo, and keys/guitar unison in history. 14. Metropolis - good way to close the show. Good solos on this epic. James LaBrie's voice sounds a little ragged, though. But it's still awesome. Bonus Tracks: 15. Another Day (Live in Tokyo, August 26, 1993) - pretty good, great guitar solo. 16. The Great Debate (Live in Bucharest, July 4, 2002) - one of my favorite DT songs. Great musicianship here. Sound quality is a little off though. Discusses stem cell research. 17. Honor Thy Father (Live in Chicago, August 12, 2005) - another one of my favorite DT songs. The guitar solos are short, but they're still awesome. The part I look forward to on this song is when LaBrie sings "You're the rotted root in the family tree, yeah motherf--ker!" // 10

Production Quality: The thing that really gets me about this DVD are the camera angles. It's kind of hard to describe, but all I know is that they're awesome. My favorite view would have to be the Mike Portnoy camera. Some of the faces he makes are pretty funny, and his drumming skills just can't be contested with. Another cool part in the show is when Jordan Rudess is doing his Continuum fingerboard solo that kicks off Octavarium. Probably my favorite "trick" the band does is when Jordan is doing another solo, and John Myung and John Petrucci switch fretting hands so that while Petrucci picks notes with his right hand, Myung frets notes on Petrucci's guitar with his left hand, and vice versa. You'll have to watch the DVD to see what I'm talking about. // 9

Overall Impression: This is superior to my Buckethead Secret Recipe DVD in more ways than one. Just one reason it's better is that DT's concert is about 60 minutes longer than both of the Buckethead concerts combined. Everything is impressive on this DVD, I can't pick one thing. The only things I don't like about it are the way Labrie's voice gets on certain songs, and the fact that you can't hear Myung's bass. If it were lost or stolen, I would definitely buy it again. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Score Reviewed by: utahotc, on october 17, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Dream Theater has been around for twenty years, and their experience hits a pinnacle on this DVD. It shows a great combination of everything in their line-up, from Another Won (a song from their early, early days), to Octavarium, their latest progressive epic. The first part of the DVD feels like typical DT live stuff (which is always mind-blowing). They sound a bit different live then on CD; this is shown quite a lot with James LaBrie's voice, as it is harder to discern the lyrics in concert then on CD. The second part of the DVD is where they shine; playing with a full orchestra seems to fill a missing gap in the songs they play. The full Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, for example, seems made for orchestral play, and that song has never sounded more satisfying and complete. Metropolis gave me chills, I can't even go back to the original version! // 9

Content: I paid twenty dollars for the DVD. Well worth every penny. The concert alone clocks in at the very least three hours, which is more than you'll get with traditional DVD's. There's plenty of extra DT content, including clips of previous shows (all the way back to '92) and they even put the Octavarium Cartoon animation in! I still laugh everytime I see Mr. Rudess morph into Santa Claus. Even ignoring my obvious love of DT, this DVD is so packed with stuff that I was honestly wondering if it had been mispriced. There is nothing like having a visual of John Petrucci playing, not only his solo, but John Myung's bass at the same time. An excellent display of skill and music. // 10

Production Quality: Feels like you're there! I love how Dream Theater's DVDs always are. They are mastered and put together perfectly, and they put the same care into their DVDs as their albums (as it must pass under Mike Portnoy's quite observant eye). One great example is the very opening of the Root of All Evil. The darkness, repetition, and overall creepiness factor do an excellent job of injecting the concert with a huge amount of energy. // 9

Overall Impression: Dream Theater has been around a while. They've changed, progressed, and learned their way through twenty years of music. And it shows here. You can tell the difference between their new and their old stuff, and it makes you appreciate how even those who are incredible at what they do still learn over time. What will draw most people in is the orchestral session, and I think I will never forget the first time I heard the intro to Metropolis; I would have given my left arm to have been there. If, for some strange, incomprehensible reason my copy disappeared, I would be back out to find another one the minute I discovered it was missing. This is a must have in any musician's library. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Score Reviewed by: pingu45, on june 23, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound quality of this DVD is superb. Everything is clearly defined and Petrucci's guitar solos are very well complimented. There's hardly any echo, and the stereo mixing is excellent. The audio quality of this DVD allows LaBrie's vocals to soar, especially in songs like 'Vacant' and 'Goodnight Kiss'. But occasionally Portnoy and Petrucci's backing vocals are too weak, nevertheless it's hard to attain a decent sound with a band playing such rich material, but it's really good on this DVD. // 9

Content: The first disc features Dream Theater's entire performance at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The second disk features an intriguing documentary 'The Score So Far...' about how Dream Theater began and what they've achieved in 20 years, and extra live performances of 'The Great Debate', 'Honor Thy Father', and 'Another Day'. The concert itself features a couple of non-album songs, 'Raise the Knife' and 'Another Won', new material for Dream Theater fans. They play the entire 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' suite and the half-hour-long 'Octavarium', both absolute masterpieces. Perfect set. // 10

Production Quality: Production quality is brilliant. A massive central screen with two smaller ones on either side provided the background graphics. The lighting is very good, not overdone, flooding the stage with a wide variety of colours. Perfect blackout in 'Metropolis', blew me away first time I saw it. Overall very good production. Worth every penny. // 9

Overall Impression: I believe that Dream Theater are in a league of their own. Nobody can compare with the professionalism and expertise of this band. The most impressive thing on the DVD is the orchestra arrangement for the songs. I couldn't possibly hate anything about this DVD. If it were stolen/lost I would definitely purchase it again. // 9

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