The intro and the outro are two of the best musical pieces put together by Dream Theater.
For the start, Petrucci took the chord progression from the song “Another Day” (which was released on “Images And Words” in 1992), changed the phrasing, added a few extra bass notes and chord movements and made it into one of his best Dream Theater riffs. But it’s also the solo that he takes, which makes it even more memorable. And it builds and builds for the first 3 minutes and 27 seconds. To me, it’s essential listening. I call this Section A.
Then the vocal part comes in. I call this movement between 4.23 and the 11 minute mark Section B. Musically its brilliant. Melodically its brilliant.
Lyrically it falls down for a lot of people. And when you think of Dream Theater lyrics, sometimes they are great and sometimes they are loaded with cheese. Personally I don’t mind the cheese but this one has a lot of it. Get ready.
It’s about a trip years ago. The band went on a vino tour with a young eccentric man who became their guide. The young eccentric man had an older brother, who had a unique library, which served as inspiration for a few scenes in the “Hannibal” book.
And as part of this tour, they kept moving more away from the city and into the isolated country side of Tuscany.
Then their guide, introduced the band to his brother, a bearded historian, with a distinguished accent who didn’t mind sucking on his pipe. Dream Theater sleuths even worked out who the Count of Tuscany is and how he also appeared in the “Hannibal” movie.
And the guys in the band are now frightened for their lives, because they are offered a vintage glass of wine that gets better with age. But this offer of wine comes after the Count tells them the tale of French soldiers who hid in the barrels and never made it out of alive.
And then we are up to Section C of the song. This nature section between 11.01 to 14.19 could have been left out.
Because the last bit, known as Section D from 14.20 is one of those moments of awesomeness. The 6/8 time signature, the vocal melody, how it slowly percolates until it explodes, the lead break to finish it. Everything about this last section is addictive.
And the song ends with the Count saying to them to not be afraid, as these are stories passed down through generations.
The chapel and the saint
The soldiers and the wine
The fables and the tales
All handed down through time
Of course you’re free to go
Go and tell the world my story
Tell about my brother
Tell them about me
The Count of Tuscany