DREAM THEATER - "ONCE IN A LIVETIME" (EASTWEST)
The Net has been buzzing with gossip about this double album. In June 1998, Dream Theater recorded a complete and much extended show in Paris, France. They played some old stuff as well as a lot of more recent stuff, with the intention to release it as a double live album. Well, this is in fact was has materialised: A double CD running over 150 minutes (still missing 8 of the songs they did, though they may turn up somewhere later). Is it what the fans expected?
Well, this can't really pass for a review, can it? I'd better elaborate a bit, then.
The sound is excellent, the choice of songs is excellent (including "Ytsejam", "Take the Time", "Scarred" (most of it, anyway) and "Learning to Live" (again, most of it)). There's "A Change of Seasons" and "Metropolis", and as a matter of fact there's only one 'lesser' song (which is idiosyncractic), "Hollow Years". The rest are all corkers. Even the obligatory solos (keys, drums and guitar) don't fail to captivate. Especially John Pettruci's guitar solo is very interesting, containing a large part of Liquid Tension Experiment's "Paradigm Shift" and "Flight of the Bumble Bee" (classic tune, really cool). In between the songs are small teasers of a variety of other tracks, including a bit of "Enter Sandman", Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird", Led Zep's "Moby Dick", "Plat Opus" by Platypus and "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd. Especially the ease with which these song snippets are mixed with original Dream Theater sometimes really makes my jaw drop.
The packaging, well, could have been a bit more lavish. Maybe I'm just too much used to Iron Maiden live albums these days. But other than that it's mandatory material. Five bullets well deserved.
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Written October 1998
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