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"Just when you figured Dream Theater could not get any better, they drop another bombshell with the release of Distant Memories – Live in London.  It’s 100% unadulterated perfection from start to finish in a year that’s seen its fair share of failure, disappointments, along with a complete shutdown of the live music industry.  If this Dream Theater release doesn’t get your juices flowing for live music’s return in 2021, nothing will..!"

It was just a few short years ago that Dream Theater hit the road in support of their latest studio album, Distance Over Time. In addition to hearing this masterpiece live, fans were also were treated to the critically acclaimed, Metropolis Part 2 – Scenes From a Memory, in its entirety.  As one of the band’s initial live music photographers on that tour, I can honestly say I had never experienced a concert like that before.  The lighting was perfect, the sound quality was off the charts, and the musicianship (as one might expect) was second to none.   And after capturing two full Dream Theater shows at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, I honestly felt I never would experience a live performance like that again.  To my surprise, Dream Theater had the forethought to capture this tour’s brilliance and finally released their latest live installment, Distant Memories – Live in London

From the first notes of “Untethered Angel” to the final crescendo of “Pale Blue Dot”, it was clear that James LaBrie (Vocals), John Petrucci (Guitars), Jordan Rudess (Keyboards), John Myung (Bass), and Mike Mangini (Drums) were all dialed in for this one.  The chemistry that I felt lacked on The Astonishing Album (and subsequent tour) roared back to life on this one and quite possibly may have taken it to a whole new level (if that’s even remotely possible). Then just when you thought it could not get any better, fans were treated to a near perfect recreation of Metropolis Part 2 – Scenes From a Memory.  Nearly 20 years since its initial release, this opus is still the standard-bearer for past and present concept albums and their live version of this opus was nothing short of progressive perfection.

What stood out the most about Distant Memories – Live in London, was the albums cinematic brilliance.  Throughout the release, there was a noticeable tension that ebbed and flowed within each song.  One moment you are pushing the boundaries of what musical instruments are capable of, the next moment you are free-floating in a dreamlike state.  And this one isn’t a ‘one-trick’ pony by any means.  It’s replicated over and over in unique and innovative ways that keeps listeners engaged throughout the entire live performance.  I found myself going back to the well many times and each time walked away with a new favorite. I'm sure you'll feel the same way.

At the end of the day, I believe that Dream Theater is once again sitting on a progressive goldmine with their latest release, Distant Memories – Live in London.   It has everything fans would want in a live album and so much more.  The amazing musicianship that LaBrie, Petrucci, Rudess, Myung, and Mangini have harnessed on this album sets it apart from other live performances in their legendary discography (and that’s no small feat).  Pound for pound, Distant Memories – Live in London, is one of Dream Theater’s finest live recordings to date and is poised for greatness in the not-so-distant future. 


As always, rock on my friends!     Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  9.4 out of 10

Artist:  Dream Theater,  Album: Distance Over Time,   Release Date: November 27th, 2020,  Label:  InsideOutMusic / Sony Music

Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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