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Petrucci/Rudess, John/Jordan: An Evening With ...

On June 10, 2000, Dream Theater mates John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess took the stage at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, N.Y., for an evening of unrehearsed, largely improvised guitar and piano music. Translation: Not Metal.

Petrucci's guitar is the more dominant instrument, even during acoustic pieces, yet none of the nine songs here would sound the same without Rudess' elegant and fluid playing. (Incidentally, the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center was the venue where Rudess recorded his solo-piano record 4NYC on Sept. 24, 2001, as a tribute album of sorts to humanity's resilience.)

This set originally released by Sound Mind Music before Steve Vai heard it and recently reissued it on his own Favored Nations label opens with "Furia Taurina," a spooky piece that evolves into a Latin-style hoedown featuring furious picking by Petrucci, who later opts for electric fusion on the slow-building "Hang 11." Rudess and Petrucci pass through many moods on "Truth," while the New Age mysticism of "From Within" and the melodic beauty of "The Rena Song" eventually give way to a touch of aggression on both "In the Moment" and "Black Ice." With a little tinkering, both would make decent metal songs. The shredfest studio version of "Bite of the Mosquito" closes the album by flirting with neoclassical metal.

But this CD is clearly not about metal music; it's about revealing another side of two musicians both classically trained on their instruments at an early age who, yes, happen to play metal but who also have more talent in their fingers than many headbangers have in their entire bodies.

Track Listing:
1) Furia Taurina (10:10)
2) Truth (9:48)
3) Fife and Drum (9:30)
4) State of Grace (5:45)
5) Hang 11 (11:38)
6) From Within (5:21)
7) The Rena Song (7:03)
8) In the Moment (6:27)
9) Black Ice (10:54)
10) Bite of the Mosquito (Studio Version) (1:53)

Added: December 10th 2008
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Favored Nations
Hits: 2588
Language: english

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Petrucci/Rudess, John/Jordan: An Evening With ...
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-12-10 20:49:00
My Score:

On the evening of June 10th, 2000 at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, New York, a group of people were given the great pleasure of spending the evening listening to a pair of the greatest musicians on the planet today. For on that night, two guys went on stage and dazzled an audience with their respective gifts. This would be Mr. John Petrucci with his guitars and Mr. Jordan Rudess behind the keyboards. Yes they are 2/5 of the progressive rock unit, Dream Theater. Their brilliance with that group is well known and cherished world wide. Stepping outside of that world they bring their talents to a new audience with some of the most dynamic instrumental music ever heard.

For fans of Dream Theater this is a chance to broaden your thinking when it comes to the musicians you hold so dear. For fans of both classical and jazz style music, prepare to be amazed!

Every song on here was written by the pair. From the opening number "Furia Taurina" where Petrucci shows his unquestionable talent with a flamenco style acoustic guitar and flying fingers, this album shows the multitude of talent in this pair. This is never more evident than when first Rudess then Petrucci takes center stage with the powerful song "Truth". Here Rudess stirs the inner fires with a very classical motif before Petrucci electrifies the audience when he changes gears and gives them a very Dream Theater like guitar solo. Rudess takes over once again and they segue into a melodic passage that has the audience clapping along. Petrucci then picks up the acoustic once more to lend a richness to the magnificent keyboards. As the music swells, he picks up the electric yet again, sending this song soaring before it all comes in for a landing. This is breath taking music that is not performed by just anyone. It is reserved for those that can be called the true artist of their craft.

The music on this album ranges from the elegant beauty of such pieces as "State Of Grace" and "From Within", to the majesty that Petrucci provides with his dynamic playing in such pieces as "In The Moment" and "Black Ice". There is no finer guitarist alive than John Petrucci. I have often heard that he is a technical master but does not put any feeling into his music. That is pure hogwash. I can give you example after example of how he makes the guitar burn right into the center of your soul. This album does that from start to end.

But Petrucci is only half the team. Jordan Rudess is a great keyboard artist and he does it with such ease that many cannot appreciate his talent. Well this record should put all that to rest too! Listen to him and Petrucci parallel each other on the totally enjoyable song "Fife and Drum" and you will also come to the conclusion that this guy is one of the elite players of our time.

This album is like a fine wine. Or more like a whole wine cellar. Each piece on here is vintage but each has its unique flavor and bouquet. The only difference is that you cannot make a wrong selection from the album because of what you are serving. All are true masterpieces in their own right.

The last selection on the album is the only studio cut. This 1:53, I think, was put on here just to remind all of us fledgling guitarist's at whose feet we should bow. "Bite Of The Mosquito" is the most intense piece of guitar work I think that has ever been recorded. My Guitar World magazine (back when the CD was included) had Petrucci teaching how to play this. Like, ha! As if us mere mortal human beings would ever be able to master this work. Even when he plays it at a fraction of the speed it is still such a technically challenging piece of work that I could only hope to play it in my wildest dreams.

There are very few albums that can wow me the way that this one does. A love of the guitar does help in that respect. But this is such a great album in so many ways. There are not very many artists that can carry a concert without uttering a word. Petrucci and Rudess can. There are even fewer that can mesmerize a crowd for that length of time. Petrucci and Rudess can.

Being from one of the greatest progressive bands ever, you would expect them to be nothing short of fabulous but these two exceed any expectation that you might have.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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