Eagle Rock Entertainment has done something to which few if any other record labels can do. Somehow, some way, Eagle Rock Entertainment has managed to raise the bar over and over with each one of its new live releases. It seemed like after 2012, there was no way that it could top itself. Then 2013 came along and it inexplicably topped itself over and over again. And now, it has done just that once more with the brand new release of Live in Tokyo from virtuosos Mike Portnoy (Ex-Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic), Billy Sheehan (Talas, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), Tony McAlpine, and Derek Sherinian (Planet X, Ex-Dream Theater, Platypus). This new live release is one more incredible release from Eagle Rock that continues to prove why this company is at the front of the pack when it comes to live recordings. And it’s now available on double-disc CD, DVD, and Blu-ray as well as digitally.
Whether one is a fan of Dream Theater, Planet X, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth, or even every one of the projects in which these top talents has ever taken part, this live recording is an absolute must for audiences on either side of the fence. The ninety-minute plus performance covers material from each of the artists’ body of work. It opens with a bang with the first movement of Dream Theater’s famed A Change of Seasons EP before seguing into the hit ‘Acid Rain’ from Portnoy’s Liquid Tension Experiment side project. Both songs were the perfect choice to open the performance as they waste no time setting the tone for the rest of the night. Regardless of which side one takes on the split between Portnoy and his now former brothers in Dream Theater, there is no denying that he hasn’t lost a single step since his decision to step out on his own. And if one were listening to these two songs without seeing that it wasn’t Liquid Tension Experiment or Dream Theater, they would instantly think it was both. That’s the level of talent displayed not just by Portnoy, but by his band mates in this performance.
The opening pair of performances from this recording’s set list are incredible to say the least. They’re just the tip of the iceberg as audiences will note. Whether in the slower, more groove oriented ‘Stratus’, the manic energy of Sherinian’s own composition, ‘Apocalypse 1470 B.C.’ or another of Dream Theater’s hits, ‘Lines in the Sand’all four musicians on stage proved what makes them such highly respected individuals. McAlpine and Sheehan may have never been members of Dream Theater, but they showed that they know Dream Theater’s catalogue. Had John Petrucci and John Myung been in attendance, they would have been smiling. The same can be said of Sherinian’s band mates from Planet X of Portnoy and company in ‘Apocalypse 1470 B.C.’ And the band’s take on composer Georges Bizet’s ‘Farandole’ is truly something to behold. Collectively, these four men have crafted a show that is anything but a tribute band or cover band. Rather, what they have done is crafted a show celebrating the other and their work.
The songs chosen for this performance present four musicians that are at the top of their game. And the quality of the recording both on its visual and audio side is top notch, too. The audio and video mix on the DVD and Blu-ray is perfectly balanced. This is especially noteworthy being that this performance was recorded at an indoor venue. Indoor venues present their own problems for recording even at a professional level because the sound is contained in such a finite space. It could so easily cause the mix to become “muddy.” But Simon Phillips and company overcame that boundary with ease both on the visual and audio side of the recording. Those behind the cameras deserve just as much credit as anyone for capturing the concert. The angles of the shots put home viewers right up in the drum throne with Mike Portnoy and alongside his band mates. At other times, the wide angle crowd shots are just right in capturing the enjoyment of the audience. Viewers can see the genuine appreciation of the audience in attendance for what each musician presented. It serves to heighten the overall viewing experience even more. And together with that expertly mixed video and audio, it all comes together to make Portnoy Sheehan McAlpine Sherinian Live in Tokyo one more bar higher set by Eagle Rock Entertainment, and a definite must for any fan of each member’s bands past and present. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.
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