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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Dream Theater

Dark Side of the Moon DVD

Review by Julie Knispel

In an effort to provide more material to their fervent fan base, Dream Theater created their own label, Ytsejam Records, to release a series of “official bootlegs.” These releases include interesting live shows, collections of studio demos, and “making of” collections that present works in progress for past studio album releases. Ytsejam Records has also released two DVD’s, the most recent of which showcases the band’s 25 October 2005 rendition of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, performed in it’s entirety at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, England.

Not much needs to be said about Dark Side of the Moon; it’s a landmark album and one of the best selling releases of all time. The question most people ask when hearing about Dream Theater’s cover is how well they pulled it off. When one considers that Dream Theater is known for intense musical intricacy and skill, this is a valid question, and one with an easy answer. The band is incredibly true to Pink Floyd’s original musical vision, holding back from the kind of instrumental virtuosity that typifies their original material. The band uses some of Pink Floyd’s original projections and short films, as well as samples of the various spoken word interjections that remain quotable to this day. Finally, the band is joined by Theresa Thomason (guest vocals on “The Great Gig in The Sky”) and Norbert Stachel (sax, “Money” and “Us And Them”) to complete the entire DsoTM experience.

As this is an official “bootleg,” one should take care not to expect the kind of production values seen in the band’s major label video releases. Sound quality is excellent, of course, and it is a pro-shot video source. Unfortunately, the video seems overexposed at times, seen most strongly when singer James La Brie is being filmed. His face often becomes a white, nearly featureless oval, which is a shame as the rest of the video is so well mastered.

As with many Dream Theater releases, extras have been packed onto this DVD to add value. A selection of bonus video performances have been added on, all of which are Pink Floyd covers the band has performed at other shows, including “Echoes part I,” presented to a rapturous Philadelphia audience in 2004. Additional performances of “Hey You” and “Comfortably Numb” (performed with Queensryche in 2003) fill out the bonus track list, while sound check footage and an interview with DT drummer Mike Portnoy about the cover album concept round out the whole package.

Dream Theater can genuinely not be accused of never giving their fans as much as possible. Between a frantic release and touring schedule, frequent live album and DVD releases, and now the band’s own official bootleg label, Dream Theater has ensured that their fans are able to witness some of the most unique performances the group has to offer. Their Dark Side of the Moon DVD is an incredibly enjoyable release that should be of interest to Pink Floyd fans as well as Dream Theater’s own die-hard fan base.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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