Dream Theater - Distant Memories: Live In London review

Prog metal icons keep to the script in fun but inessential live release.

Dream Theater
(Image: © InsideOut Music)

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Dream Theater have already notched up eight live albums – do they really need another one? Recorded at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in February 2020, this one finds the prog metal godfathers showcasing tracks from 2018’s Distance Over Time, while at the same time celebrating 20 years of their concept opus Scenes From A Memory.

A full rendition of the latter is the jewel in the crown here; its opening twin attack of Overture 1928 and Strange Deja Vu is a joyous slap across the face, while the flit between the stomping Home into the wacky Dance Of Eternity is breathless but brilliant. Outside of Scenes the setlist isn’t the most rewarding for diehards –
A Nightmare To Remember is the standout – but the instrumental wizardry is spot on. Some of the highs belted out by vocalist James LaBrie are a sticking point, though, often getting lost in the ether.

Unlike some of their earlier live albums, extracurricular solos, jams or eccentric add-ons are kept to a minimum here, so come closing time you’re left pondering if it’s really worth the effort. But then these are bloody good tunes played by a bloody good band, so who’s to complain? 

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A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.