Wow, this is a pretty hard one (that's what she said).
There are a couple, but the one that made the most impact on me is the Status Quo gig at the NEC Birmingham 1982. It's on video and love that registration. Closely behind it is the final (also on video) gig of the End of the Road tour in 1984. The ambiance of that last one is very low, but it's the last gig (not counting live aid) of the orginal line up (ok ok... not the same drummer, but it had a huge impact on te sound nevertheless).
Another one is the Queen gig in Wembley in 1986. Seems so epic! Also the Dire Straits gig on Alchemy Live and On The Night are gigs i was at, because they're so magical!
Last, but no least: the Freddy Mercury Tribute in Wembley is very epic as well!
I hate the sound of that Mapex kit. Toms sound dead and the snare is crancked way too high. But the bass drums sound very nice.
The kit on I&W sounds nice, but the triggered snare is just a big no. If i listen to the remixes of "Greatist Hit", it's almost the opposite in my ears. The original triggered snare sounds open and wide, the un-triggered snare sounds dead compared to it. It's the same sound on the LIT video, but i don't like metal snares. And that clear Control Sound is not something i'm a fan of (although it sounds better on his signature snares with the CIM dvd). I love the drum sounds on WDADU more then I&W, same kit and cymbals on both, but the drums on WDADU sound a litte more alive. Only the cymbals on WDADU are too soft in the mix.
Having said that, my favourite drumkit sound is on Systematic Chaos. Nice resonant and fat toms with the right amount of attack. Well, on the metal side. The Bonham side is not my cup of tea, sounds too big and i don't like the big metal 14x6.5 snare on that side. I do like the larger octobans on the Mirage and BC&SL (recording) kit, opposed to the "medium" set of octobans he used on the previous kits (exept the mapex, which sound to shallow in my opinion).
I don't think it their best, but i do love the song. Epic metal through the entire song and the instrumental part is amazing! Time signatures shifting is rediculous tempo's, that's what i like. Also, the building tension in the song is really nicely done. If you love double bass, this is a killer song. I dare even to say this is the most heavy song they've ever written.
Oh, about the vocals: i love how James sings "i am the last" with that low "growl" kind of tone (on the Chaos in Motion DVD), better then those higher outcries (i see what i did there) in youtube vids.
The one that pops to mind is Peruvian Skies on OIALT. So much more powerful and played with feeling compared to FII. Love that rendition of the song. Having said that, i like the Sacrificed Sons and Octvarium live versions (Score) more as well. The instrumental part in SS is a tad faster and i like that more. In 8V Jordan uses that huge ass organ thingy and i love the sound of that when they go into the instrumental section.
Oh, love the Budokan versions of New Millenium and Trail of Tears as well. Compared to FII, they sound much more "airy" and not so dry.
I really like SC. I became a fan after TOT was released (December 2003 or so), so the first new Dream Theater album for me was Octavarium. Having been listening to the other records for 2 years or so, 8V was something else. I like it, but it was an album of extremes to me (a pop song, prog rock songs, an epic, an alternative rock song and a balls metal song) and not what i expected. Still, i listened to it a lot! But when SC came out, i fell in love immediately. It was prog metal all around! I love how powerful the songs were and there wasn't a dull moment in the album. Ok, Repentance is pretty slow, but it's very moody. Anyway, i'm one of the fans that love this album and i think it's one of the best in the 6DOIT-BCSL decade (2000-2009)
Wait... James, what?
Hey everyone! The band i drum for has put songs online. It would be great if you would take a listen and tell me what you think! All songs are instrumental songs by the way.