As the previous reviewers have stated, this particular show was absolutely amazing! As a fan of the band since 1989 and having seen 37 DT shows to date, this show tops them all and I am proud to say that I was there!
However, unlike those previous reviewers, I’ve actually managed to get a copy of this DVD ahead of time, and after watching it, I can say for certain that this DVD *is* DT’s best yet! Mike Portnoy pulls out all the stops in making sure that this DVD tops everything else they’ve done thus far. The picture quality is gorgeous – better than Live at Budokan, if that can be believed. I was told by someone who worked on the project that extra attention was put in the details to ensure that every single frame was perfect, and it shows! The sound itself is also a thing of beauty – even the stereo mix is not the traditional AC3 encoding, but rather the superior PCM encoding. The actual mix is very well done by Michael Brauer and is balanced nicely, allowing each of the musicians to shine throughout. It is quite evident that every bit of space on the DVD was used.
I won’t go on about the actual songs themselves, as you can read many reviews of the actual show to learn about them. However, I would like to point out that while the song selection is not to everyone’s taste (as is evident from the other reviews), Mike Portnoy continues to give the fans the most bang for their buck by not having the same songs on every DVD like many other bands do – the only “overlapping” songs on this DVD compared to their previous DVDs are some parts of the song Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (as found on Live at Budokan), The Spirit Carries On and Metropolis pt. 1 (found on Scenes From New York) and Under a Glass Moon (on Live in Tokyo).
One other thing to add is that seeing the orchestra perform with the band is absolutely stunning – something to behold and the final song (Metropolis pt. 1) proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The second DVD showcases 3 bonus tracks (Another Day, The Great Debate and Honor Thy Father) which are taken from older shows; they are nice to have to round out the collection, but it should be noted that the picture and sound quality are not to the same standards as on the first DVD. Still their inclusion is worth having seeing as live performances of these songs have previously been unavailable on DVD. Also on the second DVD is the animation that was played during the song Octavarium, so if you happened to miss watching it during the show you were at, now you’ll have the chance to watch it in full.
The best part of the second DVD has to be the documentary showing the history of the band from the days of being at Berklee School of Music up to the present day. Definitely a good look into DT’s history, and a great companion to the book that Rich Wilson is writing on DT (www.dreamtheaterbook.com). My only real complaint on the documentary is that it isn’t long enough, but surely Rich’s book will fill in many of the stories and details missing in the documentary.
All in all, this release is definitely a labor love for the fans. No DT fan’s collection will be complete without it. Also, both the show itself and the documentary serve as a great way to introduce DT to those who are just beginning to learn about them. I give this DVD the highest recommendation I possibly can! Stop reading these reviews and buy this thing – you won’t regret it!!!