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Dream Theater: Live at Budokan Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 18, 2011
  • List Price: $19.98

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BestBuy.com:
Dream Theater: Live at Budokan - Dolby Dts

Purchase Dream Theater: Live at Budokan on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:2/5]

No matter how hard I try, I cannot get myself to like Dream Theater. They just always sound like a bad 80s hair metal band with pretensions of being Rush or Yes. In fact, their “songs” are just endless noodling on instruments, some hard rock riffs and heavy-handed production that is overly reliant on keyboards. Nevertheless, this guys have a following, and have had one since the 1980s. They also seem to be quite big in Japan, but, really, who isn’t?

Dream Theater: Live at Budokan captures the band in concert at Japan’s famous Budokan in the heart of Tokyo, built for the 1964 Summer Olympics. On tour for their Train of Thought album, it’s tortuously long concert hitting over four-hours in length. One song bleeds into the next, starting with the opening tracks “As I Am,” “This Dying Soul,” and “Beyond this Life,” before finally hitting a somewhat memorably melodic tune, “Hallow Years,” which sound suspiciously like Europe’s “Carrie.”

When you realize that there are only eighteen songs in the setlist and it takes them over four hours to get through them all, that is when you realize exactly what I mean by “noodling.” Dream Theater is in love with the long instrumental passage that lets the band members show off their skills. Sure, these guys can play, but just not for me. This is a show strictly for fans.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original HD production of Dream Theater: Live at Budokan was captured in 2004 at 1080i and arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. The seven-year-old production definitely shows some deficits of an early HD image, but generally speaking it looks fairly detailed, picking up the strings on on guitars and basses and the keys on keyboards with little artifacts. The production could certainly stand to have less quick cuts and pans, but it is nonetheless a good one.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Definitely keep to the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for this disc as the mix is superb. The sound is absolutely spacious with a tremendous amount of stereo separation across the front and the surround channels are utilized for some discrete keyboard sound effects while also on occasion to help pan instruments all the way off to the sides, having equal levels in both front and and corresponding surround channels panned hard left or right. Low frequencies are pretty deep, but they remain tight, vocals are upfront and the midrange never sounds boxy. The one issue I have is that the high frequencies sometimes sound just a little but tizzy.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There are a host of behind-the-scenes featurettes that offer some interviews with band members and a few musical performances, but they are all in standard definition.

The supplements:

  • Riding the Train of Thought Documentary (1.33:1; 00:29:51)
  • John Petrucci Guitar World (1.33:1; 00:06:28)
  • Jordan Rudess Keyboard World (1.33:1; 00:06:44)
  • Mike Portnoy Drum Solo (00:12:10)
  • The Dream Theater Chronicles 2004 Tour Opening Video (1.33:1; 00:05:45)
  • Instrumedley Multiangle Bonus (1.33:1; 00:12:09)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Unless you are really a fan of this progressive metal band’s music, you might find yourself bored to tears and nodding off with the music blaring in your face, as I did, while you watch this show. Despite an excellent lossless 5.1 mix and respectable HD production, I have to say avoid this unless you know you are a fan.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005JJSGBW[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Dream Theater: Live at Budokan - Dolby Dts

Purchase Dream Theater: Live at Budokan on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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