While browsing videos online today I struck gold. When searching for To Live Forever, I was able to find a bunch of auditions for a new lead singer for the greatest band in the history of the world - Dream Theater. Dream Theater recorded their first album with a guy named Charlie Dominici. I hate to say it, but he really wasn't very good. And I'm not a fan of the current singer - James LaBrie - but he's a lot better than Charlie. Anyway, there were clips of auditions for 4 or 5 different guys and even though the quality wasn't very good it was pretty interesting to hear. The band certainly would have a different feel with somebody else.
Anyway, on to To Live Forever. This is a fantastic extended live version from Tokyo. For those of you familiar with Dream Theater, when I say extended, I mean extended. They aren't known for their short songs, rather their unapologetic self indulgence. Personally, I love it, but at the same time I know it's not everybody's cup of tea. In this one you're subjected to some extended wailing from James LaBrie that I could have done without, but once you get past that you're treated to a long guitar solo from John Petrucci. John is so good that I actually find myself discouraged by listening to him play. I feel like I should quit playing myself because there's no way I could ever be anywhere near that good. That aside, there's a stretch from about the 7:00 minute mark to about the 8:15 mark that I really enjoy. It's a little bit of a bluesy riff that has a catchy groove to it. I could probably listen to that guy just noodle all day long.
To Live Forever is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs even though it was an unreleased non-album track. Granted I don't really have my finger on the pulse of popular culture, but this is one of the songs that could have had some commercial success. That could have doubled their success! Note the tongue in cheek album that they put out last year - Dream Theater's Greatest Hit. This video still features original keyboard player Kevin Moore who I miss. He wrote, in my opinion, some of their best songs (including this one) before he left the band to move to Costa Rica and eventually Istanbul and record music under the name Chroma Key. He seems to have had some psychological issues to deal with and his current music is a lot more experimental, and even many of the songs he wrote with Dream Theater were more introspective, particularly Space Dye Vest which really struck a chord with me and I'll probably write about some other day.
One last treat before I let you go: here is a demo of the best Beattles cover material you'll ever hear, courtesy of Dream Theater.