DVD Review: Dream Theater / Live At Luna Park
I don’t think anyone could have predicted back in 2010 how loud the fallout from Mike Portnoy’s departure from Dream Theater and subsequent hire in 2011 of drummer extraordinaire Mike Mangini to replace him would be felt. Whether it’s due to mis-connections, miscommunication or misconceptions one thing was for sure – there was going to be change in the Dream Theater lineup and fans could either jump on board the new mighty sturdy bandwagon or stay afloat in the past waiting for a ship to pass in the night with a gunboat aboard hoping to hold the other members of Dream Theater hostage and demand Portnoy come back. With the album A Dramatic Turn of Events I think most fans could agree that not much was changing within the DT camp and the album brought forth the first Grammy nomination for best hard rock/heavy metal performance for On The Back’s of Angels in the bands history. You cannot argue with success.
On August 19 and 20th 2011 Dream Theater filmed two shows in Buenos Aries, Argentina which became the basis for the Live At Luna Park DVD released here in the US on November 5. This was the final leg of that first tour with Mangini and highlights not only how well he fits in but also how much the rest of the band has matured well over time and have aged gracefully without losing any of their edge.
Although the set list relies heavily on the first album with Mangini A Dramatic Turn of Events there is also some really interesting choices of songs from the past. I really enjoyed these versions of “6:00”, “A Fortune in Lies”, “The Silent Man”, Surrounded”, “The Spirit Carries On” and ‘Caught In A Web”. The picture and sound quality are better on this live DVD than on any other in the DT collection. Oddly the crowd doesn’t seem to play a major factor in the show in terms of them being overly enthusiastic or loud but on the other hand they don’t take anything from it either.
There are some great bonus features on the DVD including a documentary, trailer, behind the scenes footage and a cartoon intro. The most unique bonus feature allows the user to switch camera angels on the song “Outcry”. Much more fun than I first heard about it. Bluray is the way to go with the 5.1 sound.
For any new fans to Dream Theater this would be one of my first choices for anyone looking to have a comprehensive piece of DT history because it is the first tour with Mangini and every era of the band’s recording history is represented. The band has never played better and even the most ardent critic following the departure of Portnoy must admit that all is not that bad when you have someone of the talent level of a Mike Mangini taking his place. Although you could never replace what Portnoy brought to the table of in terms of his intangible qualities as a passionate leader, friend to the fanabse in terms of his Ytze Jam cd’s and dvd’s by allowing his fandom to effect business decisions you cannot go wrong with Mangini from a technical standpoint.