Prog-metal legends, Dream Theater, have built a career on spectacular musicianship while remaining melodic. When the group hit the road on their "A Dramatic Tour Of Events" tour -- their first with former Extreme drummer, Mike Mangini -- they finished before a series of enthusiastic crowds in South America. The band filmed two nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and those make up the new Blu-ray, Dream Theater -- Live At Luna Park.
The band took the stage, amidst images of a man on a unicycle, to the ominous drones of "Bridges In The Sky." Singer James LaBrie offers a sinister vocal over a heavy, pulsating detuned riff that evolves into a melodic chorus before breaking into an extended guitar and keyboard jam courtesy of John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess respectively. While known for their musical prowess, Dream Theater also has a penchant for memorable, sing-along choruses that separate them from many of their prog-influenced peers.
"6:00" follows and can best be described as prog funk. Sampled voices follow an intricate drum and keyboard intro. The band locks into a thick groove with much unison playing from Rudess and Petrucci. Monster movie images grace the screen during "The Dark Eternal Night." With its heavy, detuned riffs and numerous start/stops and times changes, the song is nearly the band's attempt at a proggier Pantera, yet they reel the listener back in with its hooky chorus.
The anthemic "Lost But Not Forgotten" opens with pretty piano before Petrucci joins with a stadium rock riff. Before the band gets too commercial, however, Petrucci offers a dizzying array of arpeggios before returning to the main riff. For his part, LaBrie gives a strong, if eerie, vocal that elevates the track.
The band offers a nice change of pace on the acoustic "The Silent Man" and "Beneath The Surface." Here the band showcases their songwriting, rather than playing, chops as they are accompanied by strings and deliver pop that wouldn't seem out of place on recent Goo Goo Dolls albums. If there has been a knock on this band, it is that in spite of some of their big choruses, they sometimes focus on their playing more than their songwriting, but these two tracks in particular prove they can knock out a good song without 12 time changes, too. Along those lines, "The Spirit Carries On" is a piano ballad that ponders the mysteries of life. LaBrie gives a strong vocal performance that moves at least one female member of the audience nearly to tears.
More recent fare, such as "On The Backs Of Angels," finds the band delivering their trademark mix of melodic rock and sophisticated riffs while the more vintage, "The Test That Stumped Them All," is a ferocious track with a lightning fast guitar and keyboard intro. Petrucci adds an exotic solo to the mix on this powerful track. The band finishes the show with a strong version of their biggest hit, "Pull Me Under."
The video is presented in 1080i High Definition Widescreen 16x9 (1.78:1) and looks great. Audio options include DTS HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. Bonus features include a documentary about the tour, a trailer, behind the scenes footage, a cartoon intro and a multi-angle version of the song "Outcry."
For over two decades, Dream Theater has been at the forefront of progressive metal, mixing big playing with big choruses. On Live At Luna Park, they give fans a healthy dose of what made them popular in the first place.