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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Dream Theater

Chaos In Motion DVD

Review by Greg Olma

I like being a Dream Theater fan. Not only do you get great music, but they tour a lot and lately, they seem to put out a visual record of every tour. I like this album, tour, DVD cycle that they are on so for me, the more product the better. Anyone who has purchased a Dream Theater DVD can attest that the band really try to give value for the money. You get the main feature but you also get a ton of bonus material and Chaos In Motion 2007-2008 is no different. Spanning two discs, you get the concert footage on the first disc and the second disc is all bonus material. All in all, the whole package contains over 3 hours of prog which is a lot for one sitting.

Now, since Dream Theater is one of my favorites, I tend to be a bit harsher on their releases than some of the other bands I listen to. That’s not to say that I specifically look for flaws but when they set the bar so high, I can’t help but compare Chaos In Motion 2007-2008 to other DVDs they have put out in the past. There are many good points to this DVD and they far outweigh the bad points. Some of the highlights are the inclusion of Systematic Chaos material but that is a “gimme” since the footage is from that tour. The material is so good that it is great to finally have live visuals of those songs. Also, visually, this DVD differs because the cinematography is more raw and there is a little bounce to the filming. The overall feel is more real and less produced but that has its bad part too (more on that later). As far as the performance is concerned, it is what you would expect from Dream Theater, near perfection. As mentioned earlier, there is a ton of bonus material ranging from good to not essential. It starts off with a 90 minute documentary on the Chaos In Motion Tour that is broken into 4 parts. Part 1 consists of the band being interviewed and that is always worth watching and getting a glimpse into our heros. Parts 2 through 4 are less essential unless you really care about the crew or you are a musician and you like seeing the stage being set up. Next, we get 4 promo videos which include 2 different version of “Forsaken." To make sure that we DT fans have it all, they include the live screen footage. Add a Mike Portnoy tour of the stage and backstage along with a photo gallery and you wind up with a packed bonus disk. Like I said, not all of it is essential but it is good to have.

I did mention that there were a couple of parts that I did find some flaws with. One of them is the cinematography. Even though it is raw and a bit more gritty, a newer fan might find it a little low budget compared to something like Score. I would recommend this release to someone who is already a fan. The second is the main show is broken up with interview segments that take away from the “concert experience”. I personally like the show to go straight through without interruption. All in all, these are minor complaints and I am being a bit harsh because they set the bar so high. My recommendation would be, if you are a new fan, start with Score but if you have the other DVDs, then Chaos In Motion 2007-2008 is going to fit nicely into the collection.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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