Dream Theater - Once In A LIVEtime review


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Band: Dream Theater
Album: Once In A LIVEtime
Release date: October 1998

[Disc 1]
01. A Change Of Seasons: I. The Crimson Sunrise
02. A Change Of Seasons: II. Innocence
03. Puppies On Acid
04. Just Let Me Breathe
05. Voices
06. Take The Time
07. Derek Sherinian Piano Solo
08. Lines In The Sand
09. Scarred
10. A Change Of Seasons: IV. The Darkest Of Winters
11. The Ytse Jam
12. Mike Portnoy Drum Solo

[Disc 2]
01. Trial Of Tears
02. Hollow Years
03. Take Away My Pain
04. Caught In A Web
05. Lie
06. Peruvian Skies
07. John Petrucci Guitar Solo
08. Pull Me Under
09. Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper
10. Learning To Live
11. A Change Of Seasons: VII. The Crimson Sunset

How better than a live album to capture the magic of a grand tour? Well, a double live album, maybe? That's exactly what "Once In A Livetime" is: a fantastic collection of live tunes recorded on Dream Theater's tour entitled "Touring Into Infinity '97-'98" in Paris, France. The band lineup at that period was logically exactly the same as on the album "Falling Into Infinity", which is: Mike Portnoy [drums], John Petrucci [guitars], John Myung [bass], James LaBrie [vocals] and Derek Sherinian [keyboards].

I have a lot to tell you about this release but let's get started with its major advantage: its extended length! 12 tracks on the first CD, 11 on the second one for a total running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes of your favorite songs! You have to admit that it's something quite unusual to record such a long live album. The track list even includes masterpieces of musicianship that are Mike Portnoy drums solo, John Petrucci guitar solo and Derek Sherinian piano solo. You won't believe your ears.

Even the way the concert begins is a splendid idea: playing the two first parts of 'A Change Of Seasons' [and also finishing it with part VII...]; that is brilliant! Among the numerous highlights featured on that album, an extended version of my favorite Dream Theater song 'Take The Time' with kicking ass extra fast guitar riffs, the epic 'Line In The Sand' [the heaviest melody on the whole record in my opinion], the fantastic 'The Ytse Jam' [masterpiece from their first album "When Dream And Day Unite"] blended with Mike solo in the middle, the famous 'Pull Me Under' and the medley 'Metropolis/Learning To Live' and of course the solos, especially John Petrucci guitar solo.

Their ability to reproduce and even enhance long compositions such as 'Take The Time', 'Voices', 'Lines In The Sand', 'Trial Of Tears' or 'Peruvian Skies' is simply incredible and requires a huge amount of work and a large panel of musical skills. These guys have all of the above and they were decided to show it to their fans during the concert, and the listener cannot miss that either.

Another interesting thing about that concert is that Dream Theater is playing small parts of well-known songs such as 'Enter Sandman' [Metallica], 'Have A Cigar' [Pink Floyd], 'Moby Dick' [Led Zeppelin], 'Freebird' [Lynyrd Skynyrd] or even 'Flight Of The Bumblebee' [Nikolai Rinsky-Korsakov] and a few more! The game is to identify these on the actual songs! Very good idea indeed.

Now, the drawbacks are as always the low quality of James LaBrie's voice on some songs, especially quiet ones such as 'Voices' or 'Take Away My Pain', but if you are familiar with his voice on stage, you won't be surprised and it's not that bad after all, so much is expected when you played with such musicians. The artwork is not especially nice either even if it is psychedelic [maybe a little too much?] and also a small booklet would have been nice to document the concert [I am a difficult fan...] Well, that is basically all for the downsides of "Once In A Livetime" but these justify my rating.

This double live album is absolutely essential to your CD collection whether you're a die-hard fan of the band or a newcomer to their art. With "Once In A Livetime" you get 2 hours and 30 minutes of pure progressive metal at its best. Praise Dream Theater!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Written on 09.12.2003 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 18 users
20.06.2007 - 16:58
Mr. Noise
Saw this in the recordstore today. Didn't pick it up though.

I might do that later, though. This review sounds good.
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
21.06.2007 - 15:09
Erotic Stains
Maybe my favourite live album, almost a 10. Since it's a live album it's hard to make it totally perfect, therefore the strong 9 I gave it.

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