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Dream Theater - Images and Words Live in Tokyo / 5 Years in a Live Time

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  • It’s a great proposition all around: two videos that had been waiting for a DVD release for years, from one of the most intelligent metal bands around, remastered for stellar sound and combined for a good price. 5 Years in a Livetime is almost a nostalgia trip as Dream Theater goes – Jordan Rudess hadn’t entered the picture yet – but the definitive Images & Words is as great now as it was in 1992, and the Live in Tokyo video captures that brilliance magnificently. If you’re already a fan, this package recommends itself.

    The I&W video alone is worth buying this set for, even if some stretches suffer from MTV-style editing with rapid shots. It’s nice to have some footage from the recording of I&W and life on the road, plus videos for a couple songs, but they’re interwoven with the live stuff rather than kept separate. (Do we really need “Pull Me Under” twice in the course of one video? Couldn’t it be an extra?) Not that this should stop you of course. “Wait for Sleep” alone is worth hearing because it gets the full-band treatment, “Surrounded” sounds even more magical than the original and “Ytse Jam” seriously burns. A couple tunes from their debut album are also much improved here, esp. “A Fortune in Lies.”

    5 Years might not merit repeat viewing as much, but there’s still some great musical content here, including some live songs from Falling Into Infinity (still their most underrated disc) and a killer “Metropolis pt1.” There’s some footage from their all-covers 1994 show, with stellar performances from Steve Howe and the two Steves from Marillion. (Bernie from Napalm Death also drops in for a cameo, although they could have gotten almost the same result from simply plugging in a blender.) Even better is the stuff from a special unplugged show in ‘95, since we get some rarities: “Cover My Eyes,” “Speak to Me,” “To Live Forever” and an incredible “Lifting Shadows Off a Dream.”

    Highly recommended for the good stuff. The rest is still a bonus.

    Posted on January 24, 2010