Some years ago, the most that you could expect from a band in terms of an audio-visual release would be a DVD, in the best case with some behind the scenes footage and interviews. If back then someone told me that there would be an application that would run on my phone, where you would be able to change cameras and perspectives in real time and watch whatever part of the stage you want, I would be at least skeptical.
But here we are, with technology moving forward in a fast pace, and helping in creating innovative and exciting new application, that give us a whole new level of interactivity with our favorite music. Mativision, the company behind all this highly technical innovations, has created a very robust app that not only provides the user with the 360 footage from the Luna Park concert, but also serves as a portal of communication with the band, so you can always be up to date with Dream Theater's news.
Let's get to the application itself. Of course, the main attraction is the "Live At Luna Park 360". This part of the app gives you the choice of downloading each song separately, with many songs already available and more coming each week until the full setlist is available. Personally, I was interested to start with more technically demanding songs like "Outcry" and "Bridges In The Sky", so I could focus on each member on difficult parts and see how they manage to get through them. I have to admit that even though I had watched the trailer for the app, I didn't expect to be so amazed while using it. Even though the image quality is not high definition (something expected given the amount of video required for each song), changing cameras and rotating them is so fluid and responsive without losing sync, it's really impressive. I have to say that even though the touch controls work flawlessly, the gyroscope function is not so accurate (at least that was the case with my devices) and in the end I didn't use it so much.
On each song, you get to choose between six cameras, each of them with a 360º field of view. This gives you endless possibilities on choosing a view point, and you get to see some very "in the moment" parts of the concert, from the funny faces that Mike Mangini and Jordan Rudess exchange, to the drum tech coming to tighten a loose cymbal after Mike's signal. It's a unique experience that makes you feel like you're on the stage and actually a part of the concert. For the musicians that are interested in watching a particular member, this app is ideal since four of the cameras are placed strategically near the four instrumentalists of the band, while the other two are near the front-center part of the stage where James LaBrie is interacting with the crowd, and with a simple rotation you get to see the enthusiastic Argentinian crowd.
The app of course has many more features, including a full discography (that doesn't include the official bootlegs), pictures from the tour, videos from the official Dream Theater youtube channel, current tour dates, as well as news from the band. At last, you can connect to the official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Overall, this experiment is more than successful. The application is an incredible innovation, which is targeted mainly at diehard fans who want to invest some time into exploring all the interesting moments of a Dream Theater concert. From an interactivity and ease of use point of view, this is something so exciting and new that should not be missing from the collection of a Dream Theater fan, even if they have already bought the "Live At Luna Park" DVD, this is something on a whole new level.
Hopefully we'll see this technology getting more popular in the future, I think that this type of presentation is a new medium of delivering a live album, it doesn't substitute a well-directed DVD but it is probably the closest experience to being if not on the stage, at least in the concert itself.