Live At Budokan

       While the phrase "Live at Budokan" instantly brings to mind Cheap Trick (and that commercial where Bob Dole declared that his favorite album was Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan), Dream Theater decided to make a live album called Live at Budokan, too.

       The downside to this album is that it was from a tour supporting Train of Thought, which means most of that horrible album gets played. The lyrics "I've been trying to justify you / in the end, I will just defy you" should never have been written, let alone performed live. Thankfully, the band does decide add some goodies to the mix, including an extended Deep Purple-esque musical break during Beyond this Life. The real version of Hollow Years makes an appearance, I call it the real version because the album version is pretty much a radio edit.

       Some of the better Liquid Tension Experiment songs make their way into the Instrumedly, and both New Millenium and Only A Matter of Time (both top 5 DT songs) made the set list.

       Dream Theater will always be better live than in studio, and this album proves it. Even during the dark days after Train of Thought and before Black Clouds and Silver Linings, they mananged to hold my interest.