Eagle Rock Keeps Raising The Bar With Prog Rock Supergroup’s New Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

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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Dream Theater discusses the ups and downs of life on the road

Good morning, everyone.  I hope that your week is going well so far.  I think I’m actually catching up on all these reviews that I’ve got.  Though my desk at home would make me think otherwise.  But I digress.  Dream Theater recently sat down for an interview about life on the road.  And thanks to my contacts, I’m happy to be able to share that interview with you this morning in its entirety.  So while you’re downing that morning cup of coffee , why not check out this brand new interview? 

1. How do you navigate the challenge of keeping in touch with loved ones while traveling?

John Petrucci (Guitar and Vocals):  While international data plans on cell phones and Wi-Fi access just about everywhere have made this a lot easier than it was 10 years ago, it can still be difficult. It’s especially hard when the time zone I’m in is so off from New York, like Asia or Australia for example. Being flipped around by 180 degrees is confusing for everyone! Sometimes a quick text or FB message just to connect can be just the thing to bridge the gap between phone calls or Skype sessions. Obviously the best thing is when my family joins me on tour!

Jordan Rudess (Keyboards and Continuum): I try every form of communication tool available. Been through Treos, Blackberrys  iPhones, Ipads, Nooks–tablets of all shapes and sizes and computers–all for the purpose of connecting with the loved ones. There is not an app or communication software that has gone untouched by these hands.

Jon Myung (Bass): I pretty much have Skype running on my laptop when stationary and either leave a voicemail or e-mail before my kids go to bed for the night.

Mike Mangini (Drums):  The way that I navigate keeping in touch with loved ones while I am on the road is to carefully time when I use Skype to speak with my wife and kids while putting off other emails and Internet-related things for downtime.

 

2. Do you unpack or live out of your suitcase on the road?

JP: With the exception of setting up my computer and devices each day, I find that it’s best not to spread out too much and to keep things in the suitcase. This way there is less of a chance of leaving something behind.

JR:  Usually it is pretty much right outta the suitcase!!

JM: Definitely live out of my suitcase, it’s like a personal locker.

MM: I have learned not to unpack my suitcase and to never put things in the drawers or closets for fear of forgetting items (again).

 

3. On a day off in a city, what do you do with your time? How do you find out which restaurants to go to?

JP: The first thing I do is find a gym and get a good workout in. I also find that I can usually fit in a healthy practice or writing session. The privacy of a hotel room coupled with the occasional jet lag makes for a very creative headspace! Honestly, sometimes it’s great to just relax and catch up on some TV shows or watch a movie. There are amazing restaurants all around the world and usually we communicate with one another as to which cool spot someone may have stumbled upon in town. Sometimes just a quick e-mail to say that the room service is good works as well!

JR:  I try to do a walk in every town I get to. It’s really important to me that I get out in the light because otherwise I feel trapped and start getting this weird dark feeling! As far as restaurants, I usually ask the concierge at the hotel or just walk until I feel the vibe.

JM: I usually ask around for a good place locally or sometime venture out by foot and see where I land; the rest of the time it’s getting quality sleep.

MM: When I have a day off in a city, I normally stay in the room to eat, sleep and catch up on emails and news. That has changed as I’ve gotten my golf game back. Now I look to play golf when it is possible…Dinner usually entails meeting up with a band or crew members. The iPad comes in handy for finding restaurants, but personal recommendations are the way to go.

 

4.  Have you ever had a rough time going through customs?

JP: It’s sort of hit or miss. Usually things go pretty smoothly with no questions asked. Other times, however, seemingly for no reason, they will pull you aside and go through every bag in detail. It’s a real pain and when you’re traveling with a group of 20 or more people–it becomes a major inconvenience!

JR: It’s always interesting. There is the time the Pirate tried smuggling in some bananas, but I’ll let him tell you about that if he likes.

JM: In general it goes smoothly–no real complaints from me.

MM:  I have been harassed by customs agents three times after i told them that I was a musician each time. One agent told me that his son was a musician and that “all musicians do drugs.”  I did everything to bite my tongue and not ask him if he arrested his son since “all musicians do drugs.” 

 

5. Is there one item that you always bring on tour to remind you of home?

JP: It’s difficult being away from my home, wife and kids. Everything reminds me of them! I do have hundreds of pictures in my photo library on my phone and computer that I constantly scroll through to help bring me closer.

JR: There are many. And they are all gadget-related and start with i……

JM: Just pictures and videos on my iPhone–it helps keep things in perspective.

MM: One item that I bring on tour to remind of home is a written note from my children.

 

6. What is your favorite album or songs to play on the long travel days?

JP: Travel days are great for catching up on new music that I’ve been looking forward to checking out. Just sitting on an airplane for hours with no distractions (apart from those annoying captain addresses) ensures a great listening environment and my undivided attention.

JR: These days it’s Apparat’s album The Devil’s Walk

JM: Lately, I have found myself listening to the Diamond Eyes album by the Deftones.

MM: My favorite music to listen to these days on long touring travel days is Planet X.

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