Dream Theater - 1995 A Change Of Seasons

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ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: A Change Of Seasons
LABEL: East West
SERIAL: 61842-2
YEAR: 1995

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: James LaBrie - vocals * John Petrucci - guitars * Derek Sherinian - keyboards * Mike Portnoy - drums * John Myung - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Change Of Seasons * 02 Funeral For A Friend - Love Lies Bleeding * 03 Perfect Strangers * 04 The Rover - Achilles Last Stand - The Song Remains The Same * 05 The Big Medley

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Time for a quick history lesson? 'A Change Of Seasons' is actually a song that was demoed somewhere in 1991 and even played live several times in 1990 as an instrumental and 1993 with LaBrie.

The band had intentions of putting it on 'Images And Words' back when they were recording, but the producers said no to sticking a huge epic in the middle of the album and the band grudgingly shelved the song.

However, they do have the best fans in the world, the fans which went to the show and recorded bootlegs, so they pestered the band with letters about that one magnificent epic that was never put on an official release.

In 1995, they decided to revise the song and release it alongside a slew of live covers. In order to avoid this being perceived as the new Dream Theater studio album, they tagged it as an EP even though the CD runs for 57 minutes.

The Songs

This version of 'A Change Of Seasons' differs a lot from the one they played live beforehand - a guitar solo's been replaced, all the keyboard parts Kevin Moore composed were replaced with Derek Sherinian's contributions, the lyrics were changed around a little and the vocal melodies were fully fleshed out, with immaculate results.

The star of the show was definitely James LaBrie, who managed to pull out a stunning performance despite still suffering from the injury which dramatically threatened to end his career.

Reportedly, he was asked to perform the full 25-minute-epic in one take by the producer David Prater, with whom they decided to work with to recreate the studio feel from 'Images And Words' (even though they didn't have a pleasant experience with him while recording that album).

The singer was more than a little pissed off, although that certainly helped with the angry, defiant feelings conjured up in my favourite section of the song, 'Another World'.

'Funeral For A Friend-Love Lies Bleeding' is the first in the row of the superb covers recorded, and seeing how Elton John is the very favourite musician of their then-keyboardist Sherinian, it makes sense that his performance on it is stellar.

'Perfect Strangers' managed to surpass Deep Purple's original song, and it showcases how much of an influence Ian Gillan was on James LaBrie's generation of singers - sometimes you'd swear you were listening to his characteristic wail.

'The Rover-Achilles Last Stand - The Song Remains The Same' was, admittedly, never too interesting for me because I am as far away from being a fan of Led Zeppelin as possible (please don't stone me), but it is cool to hear classic John Petrucci licks in a little more old fashioned rock'n'roll environment.

'The Big Medley' is probably the best cover on the CD, mostly instrumental (and it was back when I first heard it that I learned the meaning of the word 'medley') - the best parts of it have got to be the segue from 'Carry On My Wayward Son' to 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and the Journey segment where James sang so smoothly, as if walking on clouds and strumming chords that would please the Lord, you'd hardly believe he ever was injured in the first place.

In Summary

An essential thing to have in your collection if you're interested in Dream Theater. Well, to be honest, I'd probably say that about some 90% of their unofficially released bootlegs and whatnot, but I'm a bit of a completionist, so suit yourself. One thing's for sure: it's a great listen.


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