It’s always a nice feeling to have a live album come out from a tour that you’ve witnessed firsthand, especially when it is showcasing Dream Theater’s impressive ‘an evening with’ format, in this case with songs from ‘Distance over Time’ and their more recent records during act 1, and ‘Scenes from a Memory’ performed in its entirety after the break. ‘Distant Memories – Live in London’ is in fact the band’s first DVD since 2014’s orchestral ‘Breaking the Fourth Wall’, since there was no live release for neither ‘The Astonishing’ nor from the anniversary ‘Images and Words’ tour.
There’s really not much to say about the level of performance, at this point everybody knows who they’re dealing with. Off ‘Distance over Time’, both ‘Fall into the Light’ with the wonderful melodic middle section, and the more progressive ‘Barstool Warrior’ (perfectly combined with ‘In the Presence of Enemies – Part 1’) are great moments in the set, while my personal favorite from that album, ‘At Wit’s End’, gets played in the encore.
As far as ‘Scenes from a Memory’ goes, it really is performed at an unrelenting pace, with frontman James LaBrie only addressing the London crowd once, between ‘Through her Eyes’ (during which tribute is paid to fallen rock heroes on the video wall) and the always epic ‘Home’. 20 years later, 21 rather, the record could have been released yesterday or be expected to come out tomorrow.
Any objections? Well, I truly think LaBrie’s hair stylist should be fired effective immediately. All joking aside, there are some pre-recorded back-up vocals – only back-up vocals to be perfectly clear – which I consider unnecessary, maybe the product of excessive perfectionism. I would also prefer, as far as the visual component is concerned, a show where people in front of the stage would be standing up, the same way things were setup in Amsterdam – a show that rockpages.gr reported on.
How much do these things matter when you listen to and look at John Petrucci, his left foot on the monitor, in full ‘god mode’? A little or not at all.