Steadfast at the apex of the prog-metal heap, Dream Theater has reached the coveted position where it can do no wrong in the eyes and chops-hungry ears of its international fan base. LIVE AT BUDOKAN is the band's third full-length live offering, a mammoth three-CD affair with a set list that leans heavily towards the studio albums SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE (2002) and TRAIN OF THOUGHT (2003).
As with any Dream Theater concert, the crown jewel of LIVE AT BUDOKAN is its legendary "Instrumedley." The awe-inspiring epic puts the metallic virtuosos through a series of strung-together touchstone themes culled from both "Metropolis" pieces, "Erotomania," "A Change of Seasons," and "Ytse Jam," plus two excerpts drawn from Liquid Tension Experiment (an instrumental side-project featuring 3/5ths of Dream Theater). With this performance, there are notable upgrades in the group's live act. Vocalist James LaBrie gets better with each tour, and the background vocals have never sounded so spot-on. To top it all off, guitarist John Petrucci continues to push the six-string-shredding envelope to its furthest reaches with his rapid-fire soloing palette.