Review: Live Scenes From New York

Live Scenes From New York is another triple disc three hour live concert album from the progressive metal band Dream Theater. This album is a bargain considering the cheap price I got it for but much like every other lengthy Dream Theater live album, it has some flaws.

Funnily enough, the flaws with this record are the same as Live At Budokan and that is the simple fact that it is too bloody long. The record sits at three hours and seven minutes long. Now if you’re travelling or doing something, this is a good companion record to have on in the background but to sit through the entire concert in one go is one hell of a slog.

Of course, that does not mean that Live Scenes From New York is a bad live record. In fact I would say that it is miles ahead of Live At Budokan in terms of the bands over all performance and sound. The band sound extremely tight as they blast their way through the entire Scenes From A Memory album and a vast selection of fan favourites. There’s some great renditions of A Change of Seasons, Metropolis Pt. 1 and Home. They’re heavy, features some excellent playing from the band and are exactly what you’d want to hear from them live.

The big selling point for this is the previously mentioned play through of Scenes From A Memory. The songs for the most part sound much more lively on the live stage and it is worth owning it to hear these songs live. The first six songs flow wonderfully with some excellent pacing. Unfortunately this does not last as the group hit a dead end with a rather pointless instrumental.

The John & Theresa Solo Spot is absolutely horrendous. The guitar playing is fine but the lead vocals sounds like a fart whispering through the butt cheeks of the great ancient one Cthulhu. This woman’s voice is thin and she most certainly can’t sing soul, at least not on this track. If I could remove this warble fest from the album, I would do it in a heart beat.

This track is not the only dud on the record. Through Her Eyes and The Spirit Carries On are incredibly tacky songs with cheesy lyrics, a half arsed whispered vocal performance from LaBrie and the former has some god awful sounding electronic drum play back. Unfortunately Theresa Thomason is back to provide her vocals for The Spirit Carries On and it is cringe worthy. She can clearly sing but her technique is not good at all. She tries desperately to over sing every passage and ends up sounding like a remarkably bad Christina Aguilera clone.

Aside from these tracks, the album is a top notch live recording that has a nice heavy sound. Unfortunately during some of the quieter melodic parts, there is a noticeable humming sound in the left channel which is rather distracting. To my ears, it sounds like one of the musicians is getting feedback in one of his amps, but that is just my opinion. Either way, the error is there and does become a nuisance in a few minor moments.

Live Scenes From New York is worth picking up for Dream Theater fans, though I imagine most fans own it already. You most definitely get your moneys worth out of the three disc selection. Personally speaking, I would have released the Scenes From A Memory as it’s own live album and had both sets as double disc companion albums. The overall pacing would have been far less fatiguing.

Rating : 8 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Regression (Disc 1)
  2. Overture 1928 (Disc 1)
  3. Strange Déjá Vú (Disc 1)
  4. Through My Words (Disc 1)
  5. Fatal Tragedy (Disc 1)
  6. Beyond This Life (Disc 1)
  7. John & Theresa Solo Spot (Disc 1)
  8. Through Her Eyes (Disc 1)
  9. Home (Disc 1)
  10. The Dance of Eternity (Disc 1)
  11. One Last Time (Disc 2)
  12. The Spirit Carries On (Disc 2)
  13. Finally Free (Disc 2)
  14. Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper (Disc 2)
  15. The Mirror (Disc 2)
  16. Just Let Me Breathe (Disc 2)
  17. Acid Rain (Disc 2)
  18. Caught In A New Millennium (Disc 2)
  19. Another Day (Disc 2)
  20. Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo (Disc 2)
  21. Erotomania (Disc 3)
  22. Voices (Disc 3)
  23. The Silent Man (Disc 3)
  24. Learning To Live (Disc 3)
  25. A Change of Seasons (Disc 3)