Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Best Of Times

This song has three distinct movements that grab me.

The excellent melancholic intro which comes in again as a sad and tragic symphony around the 6.20 minute mark.

If you like Rush, you will like this song. That riff that comes in at the 2.45 mark, reminds me of “The Spirit Of Radio”. And you can’t escape the Rush’isms in the first verse vocal delivery and phrasing.

That Petrucci solo from the 10 minute mark to the end. It’s emotive, it’s sad, its hopeful, its classical and from the 10.50 minute mark, he shows why he is one of the most formidable guitarist when he decides to step on the pedal, ease off, and step on it again, to ease off again. And after 13 minutes, the song ends.

The lyrics are written by Mike Portnoy for his dad Howard Portnoy as he was dying of cancer. This song has never been played live by Dream Theater. When Portnoy was in the band it was too emotional for him to play it and after he left, it hasn’t been included in a set list without him. There is a demo version as well with Portnoy actually doing the vocals. It appeared as a the B-side to the “Wither” single.

But as a guitarist, I need to mention again, the ending solo from Petrucci. It’s emotional, it’s got shred, and a lot of melody. Basically you don’t want it to end.

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