Evening with John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess is an unheralded recording by Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment alumnus John Petrucci, and Jordan Rudess is a unique entry in the Dream Theater family discography. Recorded live in Nyack, New York, the duo performed a mixed set of acoustic and electric (guitar only) compositions. Both players are world-class musicians, but Rudess in particular demonstrates his well-rounded skills, proving why he is an in-demand session player for the likes of David Bowie and Paul Winter. Petrucci too is a fine musician, but lacks the harmonic and rhythmic sophistication to serve as a strong accompanist. This limitation does not prevent the session from being enjoyable, in fact, it is Petrucci's energetic soloing that provides the most excitement. It was obvious that both players had several ideas and styles they wanted to explore, which are done so with restraint and sensitivity. The opening "Furia Taurina" finds Petrucci displaying his DiMeola-like chops on acoustic guitar and ranks as one of his best recorded moments. The most interesting track proves to be "Fife & Drum," which is both technically challenging and musically stimulating. Dream Theater, the band, became successful for several reasons, but the primary ones being that of hard work and a constant desire to push themselves. It is obvious on this recording that these two fine players relish those same values, and while some cuts work better than others, the music here can truly be labeled "progressive."
AllMusic Review by Robert Taylor