Recorded and published in 1994, this live concert covered a selection of songs from Dragon Quests I through V (with the most emphasis being put on V). The arrangements are usually the same as those applied to the “Symphonic Suite” albums, though I did notice a few differences, particularly with solos (and solo instruments) chosen for this particular performance.
A surprising inclusion to this live album was “King Dragon” from the first Dragon Quest. What was truly surprising about it was that I enjoyed this recording of it. I generally despise this song in symphonic form: too loud and bombastic, lacking in any true dynamic, obstructing what little melody is there. In this recording, you can really tell what all is happening with each instrumental section, and it is somehow enjoyable in a “wow, chaos is cool” kind of way.
It may seem like Dragon Quest IV got the short end of the stick, but as we all know, “Comrades” is a 10 minute medley of every character theme in the game, so that alone certainly helps bolster the amount of DQIV found on the album.
One thing that annoyed me is that, though this is listed as a “Live Best” album, the audience clapping was cut from each track. This is one of my favorite things to hear in a live album, because you can gauge for yourself how pleased the crowd was with each particular track, and how excited they were at the beginning and end of the full performance.
There are far too many Dragon Quest albums out there for any reasonable collector to get them all. This is one I would, generally, leave off the list of “worth collecting.” But I could be wrong. Check out the samples and decide for yourself.