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The Roadrunner years

Systematic Chaos and Greatest Hit (2006–2008)

For the first time in their career, the band decided to take the summer off after their show at Radio City Music Hall. In September 2006, Dream Theater entered Avatar Studios to record their follow-up to Octavarium with legendary studio engineer Paul Northfield. Dream Theater's ninth studio album, Systematic Chaos, was released on June 5, 2007. The record marked their first with new label Roadrunner Records, which in 2010 would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the band's previous label Atlantic Records. Roadrunner implemented increased promotion for the album and Systematic Chaos duly reached number 19 on the Billboard 200. It also oversaw the release of a video for "Constant Motion" on July 14, the band's first music video since Hollow Years in 1997. The album was bookended by the two parts of "In the Presence of Enemies", an epic duology written and conceived as a single piece but split into two halves for the purposes of the album. The other six tracks included the most recent part of Portnoy's continuing AA Saga with the song "Repentance".

In the same year, the first version of Rich Wilson's Lifting Shadows, an authorized history of the band's first twenty years, was released.

The 2007–2008 Chaos in Motion Tour started off in Italy. Dream Theater played in the Gods of Metal concert on June 3, 2007., as well as various other European festivals including the Netherlands' Fields of Rock Festival, UK's Download Festival, the French festival Hellfest Summer Open Air  alongside MegadethKornMastodon and Slayer. The North American leg of the tour began on July 24 in San DiegoCalifornia and wrapped up on August 26 in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania. They played with opening acts Redemption and Into Eternity. The Chaos In Motion Tour continued for the rest of the year and into 2008, playing shows in AsiaSouth America and, for the first time, Australia.

On April 1, 2008, a two-disc compilation album entitled Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) was released by the band. The title jokingly references the song "Pull Me Under", the band's only significant radio hit. It also includes three song re-mixes from their second album, Images and Words, five edited versions of previously released songs, and a track from a single B-side. Unlike most greatest hits compilations, Dream Theater was actively involved with the album, coming up with the track listing that they felt best represented their musical careers.

After the release of Greatest Hit, drummer Mike Portnoy organized a new tour called Progressive Nation 2008. Unlike previous Dream Theater tours, performances were held in cities that they had not visited before in the past (such as Vancouver, Canada) or cities they had not played in for several years. This tour also marked the first time, since the release of Images and Words, where the group performed in small venues and performance halls.

In September 2008, the band released a DVD set called, Chaos in Motion 2007–2008, featuring songs recorded at several shows during the Chaos in Motion tour.

Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2008–2010)

On October 7, 2008, Dream Theater returned to Avatar Studios to begin work on their tenth album, resuming their relationship with Paul Northfield to engineer and mix the record. The album, entitled Black Clouds & Silver Linings, was released on June 23, 2009. In addition to the standard CD, the album was made available on vinyl LP, as well as a 3-disc Special Edition CD that includes the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs from artists such as Queen and Rainbow. On July 1, 2009, the album debuted at No. 6 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart, with first week sales totalling 40,285, making their highest entry on the chart. The album featured "The Shattered Fortress", the last in Mike Portnoy's series of songs about his 12-step recovery from alcoholism, as well as the song "The Best of Times", described by Portnoy as "a real heavy personal subject about my dad who passed away during the making of the album ... He was battling cancer throughout its making."

The band also embarked on a second Progressive Nation tour, including the tour's first performances in Europe. OpethUnexpect and Bigelf supported Dream Theater in Europe, while Zappa Plays ZappaPain Of Salvation, and Beardfish were slated to perform on the North American leg. However, Pain of Salvation and Beardfish were unable to tour with Dream Theater and Zappa Plays Zappa because of financial troubles within their respective record labels. The two new bands that filled the vacated slots for the Progressive Nation 2009 tour in North America were Bigelf and 

Scale the Summit with Bigelf performing on both European and North American legs.

After the Progressive Nation Tour, Dream Theater re-entered the studio to write and record a brand new instrumental track for inclusion on the God of War III soundtrack EP God of War: Blood & Metal. The track, entitled "Raw Dog" (God (of) War reversed), marked the first time that the band has written and recorded an exclusive track for an outside project. "Raw Dog" includes the first ever commercially recorded harpejji track, performed by Jordan Rudess, as well as Dream Theater's final recorded performance with Mike Portnoy on drums. In December 2009, during their Black Clouds & Silver Linings tour whilst visiting Australia, Dream Theater appeared with one support act, Pain of Salvation. In March 2010, they toured South America with Bigelf. Afterwards, during the summer of 2010, Dream Theater supported Iron Maiden on the US and Canadian legs of their summer tour which were the last shows DT played during 2010.

Mike Portnoy's departure (2010–2011)

On September 8, 2010, Mike Portnoy announced that he would be leaving Dream Theater, citing better relationships in other projects, burnout, and his desire for a break as reasons. Elaborating on the situation for MusicRadarJohn Petrucci revealed that originally, Portnoy did not want to leave the band; he only wanted to take a five-year break. He eventually dropped this number to around one year. Only after the rest of the band rejected his proposal did Portnoy decide to quit.

After Portnoy left Dream Theater, relationships between him and his former bandmates became strained. In February 2011, Portnoy complained that no one from the band was returning his calls and e-mails. However, later Portnoy commented that both Petrucci and Rudess were the only members that stayed in touch with him. Tensions became especially high when Portnoy called James LaBrie "disrespectful" for comments LaBrie made during an interview, stating that Dream Theater were "not sad at all" that Portnoy was no longer a band member. As of July 12, 2011, LaBrie has not remained in touch with Portnoy. At one point, false reports surfaced that Portnoy had sued Dream Theater. Portnoy has since stated that he would rejoin the band in a heartbeat, stating: "They are the ones that have closed the door on it. I’ve only needed a break, and I’ve had that break. So I’m ready, willing and able. But I honestly don’t think they ever will; they’ve closed their door on it and I think they’re too headstrong in having to prove themselves without me. So I wouldn’t count on it. But my door is always open."

A little more than a month after Portnoy's departure, Dream Theater began auditioning for a new drummer in New York City. The drummers invited to audition were Mike ManginiDerek RoddyThomas LangVirgil Donati

Marco MinnemannAquiles Priester, and Peter Wildoer. The candidates were notified whether they had been chosen on November 5; however, the results of the audition were not made public until April 2011 via a three-part YouTube documentary series called The Spirit Carries On. In the last episode of the series, it was revealed that Mangini was the drummer selected. Petrucci later explained that Portnoy approached them to rejoin after they had selected Mangini; Mangini by this time had left his job as a professor at Berklee and committed to Dream Theater full-time, so Portnoy's offer was re-buffed.

A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011–2012)

Dream Theater entered Cove City Sound Studios to begin working on a new album on January 3, 2011. Writing was completed on March 2 and done without Mangini. On April 14, LaBrie began tracking vocals and by June 28, the album's mixing and mastering by Andy Wallace were finished. Released worldwide on September 12 and in the United States on September 13, A Dramatic Turn of Events debuted at number one in some countries and attained the eighth position on the Billboard 200, the band's second ever top ten debut position on that chart after Black Clouds & Silver Linings. Although the album received mixed reviews, it won numerous awards from music publications and its lead single, "On the Backs of Angels", was nominated for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards, representing the band's first ever Grammy nomination.

Dream Theater kicked off their tour in support of A Dramatic Turn of Events on July 4, 2011 in Rome, Italy. The second leg of the tour took place in North America, where the band headlined with Trivium. After a short break to conclude 2011, the band returned to Europe with Periphery, to Asia with Andy McKee, to North America with Crimson Projekct and then to South America for the final leg of the tour. On August 19 and 20, two shows were recorded at Luna Park in Buenos AiresArgentina for a live Blu-ray release by Over the Edge Productions. After a six-month delay, Live at Luna Park was released on November 5, 2013, by Eagle Rock Entertainment. The tour concluded on September 1, 2012, in BrasíliaBrazil.

On December 25, 2013, at 06:00:00 EST, as a holiday gift to the fans, Dream Theater released a free electronic 2-CD set of live tracks that were not recorded for Live at Luna Park from their 2011-2012 tour in FLAC format via BitTorrent. The release date and time are an allusion to their 1994 song 6:00, the intro of which contains a repeated sample of the line "Six o'clock on a Christmas morning" as spoken by Helena Carroll in The Dead. Dream Theater's July 19, 2012 cover performance of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man with Crimson Project is notably omitted from this release due to copyright concerns.

Self-titled album (2013–2014)

Writing for Dream Theater's twelfth studio album commenced on A Dramatic Tour of Events. During soundchecks, the band would jam and record their ideas, and John Petrucci would bring in material he wrote independently. Following the conclusion of the tour, the band took a break but continued writing. They reconvened in early 2013 to enter the studio.

In December 2012, Dream Theater re-signed with Roadrunner Records. The band's self-titled twelfth album was released on September 23, 2013 as part of the new agreement with Roadrunner. The album sold more than 34,000 copies in its first week and landed on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 7, the band's third consecutive top 10 album. In addition, the album cracked the top 10 in 24 countries including Japan, Germany, Argentina, The Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Australia and United Kingdom. Dream Theater's seventh live album, Live at Luna Park, was released on November 5, 2013.

On July 8, 2014, Dream Theater released The Studio Albums 1992–2011, a box set spanning all albums from Images and Words to A Dramatic Turn of Events.

On September 30, 2014, Dream Theater released their eighth live album and film, Breaking the Fourth Wall, which was recorded live from The Boston Opera House on March 25, 2014. During this concert, the band were joined by the Berklee World Strings and the Berklee Concert Choir, directed by Eren Başbuğ, for the second half of the set. The set list for the tour featured the entire second half of Awake, in celebration of the album's 20th anniversary, including the song "Space-Dye Vest", which had never been performed live. The set list closed with a performance of four songs from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, in celebration of the album's 15th anniversary. The Along for the Ride Tour concluded on October 30, 2014.

The Astonishing (2016–present)

On January 6, 2014, John Petrucci said that Dream Theater are already "planting seeds for album No. 13". He commented: "There are some song ideas and little things like that -- nothing really official, but the seeds just start to get planted. One of the great things about this career is that you have the opportunity every time to go in and start again with a blank slate and think, 'What can we do differently? How can we make this better? Where can we go from here?' Every album has a story, and to constantly have a fresh opportunity to do it is really satisfying."

The band headed into the studio in February 2015 to record its thirteenth album. The album, titled The Astonishing was released on January 29, 2016. It is a concept album set in a dystopian future society devoid of real music, centering on a conflict between a group of rebels and an oppressive empire. Two singles, "The Gift of Music" and "Moment of Betrayal" were released on December 3, 2015 and January 22, 2016, respectively.

Live performances 

Throughout their career, Dream Theater's live shows have gradually become bigger, longer, and more diverse. Prior to Portnoy's departure, Dream Theater "rotated" its set lists to ensure that fans who attended multiple shows in the same area will not see too many (or any) songs repeated. Portnoy, who constructed the set lists, would take into account the set list from the last time the band was in a particular city for the benefit of fans who saw the band on successive tours.

Some of Dream Theater's more notable touring partners included Porcupine TreeSymphony XBetween the Buried and MeDeep Purple, Emerson, Lake & PalmerIron Maidenthe Dixie DregsJoe SatrianiKing's X, Marillion, MegadethTriviumIn FlamesPain of Salvation,  Opeth, Queensrÿche, RiversideSpock's BeardFear FactoryEnchant,  3Yes and Zappa Plays Zappa. In 2005, Dream Theater toured North America with the Gigantour festival, co-headlining with Megadeth, and have played with Megadeth and Iron Maiden physically on stage.

The band's full world tours, since Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, have predominantly been so-called "Evening with..." tours, in which the band performs for at least three hours with an intermission and no opening act. The show that was recorded for Live Scenes From New York was nearly four hours in length, and resulted in Portnoy almost being hospitalized after acquiring severe food poisoning from the food he ate before the show.

There is also a significant amount of humor, casualness, and improvisation attached to a Dream Theater concert. In the midst of "A Change of Seasons" it is quite common for themes such as those for Major League Baseball  and The Simpsons to be quoted, and Rudess routinely modifies his solo section in the song and others, often playing the ragtime section of "When the Water Breaks" from Liquid Tension Experiment 2. Several songs included on Once in a LIVETime include snippets of others' pieces, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." Other quotations include "Mary Had a Little Lamb" during "Endless Sacrifice" on the Gigantour, a calliope-inspired break between verses of "Under a Glass Moon", a quote of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina"'s main melody played by Petrucci while performing the intro solo of "Through Her Eyes" in Buenos Aires, the Turkish March at a concert in Istanbul, and the opening riff of Rush's, "A Passage to Bangkok" at a show in BangkokThailand. On the "20th Anniversary World Tour" Rudess has even thrown in a short "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" theme in a break during "Endless Sacrifice," and during a concert in Israel he started a spontaneous "Hava Nagila" later accompanied by the rest of the band.

Occasionally, a member of the audience is picked at random to perform on stage, an example of which can be seen during Portnoy's drum solo on the Live at Budokan DVD. There have also been many impromptu renditions of "Happy Birthday" when a member of the band or crew has a birthday corresponding to a tour date, which normally results in a birthday cake being thrown at the subject.

  Perhaps the best example of Dream Theater's unpredictable concert structure came during Derek Sherinian's time with the band. At selected shows the band members all swapped instruments and performed an encore as the fictitious band dubbed Nightmare Cinema. They usually performed a cover of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers," and, on one occasion, Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution," At some shows, Sherinian, Petrucci and Portnoy would take the stage together under the name "Nicky Lemons and the Migraine Brothers." Sherinian, wearing a feather boa and novelty sunglasses, would perform a pop-punk song entitled "I Don't Like You" with Petrucci and Portnoy backing. In Chaos in Motion tour, in several concerts before "Trial of Tears," Portnoy and Petrucci would change positions.

In the Score and Chaos in Motion DVDs, an animation has accompanied certain parts of the songs, showing the band playing along to the music as cartoon characters. On the Score DVD, during the song Octavarium, the band is seen performing in an octagonal shaped maze. As the animation continues Jordan Rudess spontaneously turns into Santa Claus and John Petrucci catches fire. In "The Dark Eternal Night" from the Chaos in Motion DVD, the band battles against a monster by shooting fireballs from guitars, throwing drum sticks, and screaming.

Shows and concerts

Dream Theater played and recorded a live performance at the Nippon Budokan Hall on April 26, 2004. It was later released as Live at Budokan on October 5, 2004.

Dream Theater's largest audience as a headlining act was 20,000 in Santiago, Chile on December 6, 2005. This was during their first tour of South American countries other than Brazil (which they had visited in 1997 and 1998). The show was released on DVD through Portnoy's YtseJam Records.

In 2007, after their show in Salt Lake City on July 30, Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. signed a proclamation officially marking July 30, 2007 as Dream Theater Day in the state of Utah.

In 2008 Dream Theater started the Progressive Nation 2008 tour, along with OpethBetween the Buried and Me, and 3. The tour is the brainchild of Mike Portnoy, who stated, "I've been wanting to assemble a package tour like this for many years now. With all of the festivals and package tours that go through America, I've been talking with our manager and agent for over 10 years now about doing something that focuses on the more progressive, musician-oriented side of hard rock and metal. I decided it was time to stop talking the talk, lace up and finally walk the walk."

On February 13, 2009, Dream Theater announced the official line up for their Progressive Nation 2009 tour. The tour was originally set to feature bands including Swedish bands Beardfish and Pain of Salvation, as well as Zappa plays Zappa. On June 22, 2009, Mike Portnoy announced that Pain of Salvation and Beardfish would not be touring the North American leg of the Progressive Nation 2009 tour because of record label complications. In the same announcement, Portnoy stated that the bands Scale the Summit  and Bigelf would replace Pain of Salvation and Beardfish on the tour. This lineup change has put Bigelf on both the North American and European legs of the Progressive Nation 2009 tour. The tour's North American leg ran throughout July and August 2009. On March 26, 2009 it was announced that Dream Theater would take the Progressive Nation tour to Europe for the first time alongside OpethBigelf and Unexpect. The tour ran throughout September and October 2009.

In June/July 2010 Dream Theater were the opening band for Iron Maiden during the first leg of their Final Frontier Tour which included Madison Square Garden as one of the many venues. On December 7, 2010, Dream Theater announced on their website that they would be headlining the High Voltage Festival alongside Judas Priest in 2011. In July 2011 they started A Dramatic Tour of Events to promote A Dramatic Turn of Events. In January 2014, they started the Along for the Ride Tour to promote their self-titled album.

Cover songs

Dream Theater have covered other artists' work throughout their career. They have performed cover songs live and in studio, with many of those live performances being recorded for official release. A Change of Seasons features Elton JohnDeep PurpleLed ZeppelinPink FloydKansas, QueenJourneyDixie Dregs, and Genesis live covers. Through YtseJam Records, the band have also released full album live cover performances of Metallica's Master of Puppets, Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast (album), Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and Deep Purple's, Made in Japan. The special edition of Black Clouds & Silver Linings includes a bonus disc with Rainbow, Queen, Dixie Dregs, ZebraKing Crimson, and Iron Maiden  covers. Other notable artists covered by Dream Theater include Black Sabbath, Ozzy OsbournePanteraRushThe Who, and Yes.

Logo and imagery

Despite the band's being forced to change their name, Dream Theater adopted a custom logo (known as the Majesty symbol) and wordmark which has appeared on the vast majority of their promotional material and on the front cover of every Dream Theater studio album. The Majesty symbol is derived from Mary, Queen of Scots' mark, which was re-worked by Charlie Dominici  for use on the album artwork for When Dream and Day Unite.

In September 2010, a fan of Dream Theater discovered that all of the letters of "DOMINICI" fit together perfectly into the Majesty symbol. When Charlie discovered this, he laughed and mentioned that "it only took them 25 years to figure out the 'Dominici Code!'" This has earlier also been discovered as shown on the comment section of DTFAQ and in the DTNorway Podcast Episode 2 from 2008, with Charlie Dominici.

Musical style

AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described Dream Theater's music as a "dense blend of progressive rock and post-Halen metal". The band is well noted for being one of the early progenitors of the progressive metal genre. The original members, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and John Myung, have strong influences from progressive rock bands such as RushYes, and Pink Floyd, heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, various speed metal bands, and even the glam metal of the day. This synthesis created a unique metal that was not traditional of the day: it had distorted guitars and fast riffing, but the music focused more on technical proficiency and precise execution than on heavy metal riffs. The band's music has focused on three main elements: metal, melody, and progressive roots. Mike Portnoy has also stated that the band's slower songs are in appreciation of artists such as Peter GabrielU2, and Journey. Dream Theater's music also borrows elements from the 1970s and '80s art rock sound of musicians such as Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Electric Light Orchestrathe Moody Blues, and Procol Harum.

Dream Theater's more recent albums such as A Dramatic Turn of Events  and Dream Theater lean heavily towards hard rock, while still maintaining their trademark progressive rock and metal sound, whereas their 2003 album Train of Thought showcased a darker, heavier, sometimes more straightforward metal sound, and much of their progressive rock sound was absent, replaced by metal elements such as riffing and shredding. This decision was inspired by the positive feedback received from their previous heavier songs on stage. 1999's Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was praised for its display of old-fashioned progressive rock, and was influenced by classic conceptual rock records such as the BeatlesSgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandPink Floyd's The Wall and The Final CutThe Who's Tommy, and Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Dream Theater's music occasionally borrows elements of other musical styles including symphonic rocksymphonic metalarena rocksoft rock, and classical music

Oficial Website


Dream Theater have released a series of official bootlegs, demos and other rarities through YtseJam Records, headed by Portnoy.


The Majesty Demos (1985–1986)

When Dream and Day Unite Demos (1987–1989)

Images and Words Demos (/1989–1991)

Awake Demos (1994)

Falling Into Infinity Demos (1996–1997)  

Train of Thought Instrumental Demos (2003)

 Studio docu

The Making of Falling Into Infinity

The Making of Scenes From a Memory


Live albums

New York City – (1993) (CD)

Tokyo, Japan – (1995) (CD)

Old Bridge, New Jersey (1996) (CD)

Los Angeles, California (1998) (CD)

Bucharest, Romania – (2002) (DVD)

When Dream and Day Reunite – (2004) (CD/DVD)

Santiago, Chile - (2005) (DVD)

Happy Holidays (2013) (digital download)

Cover albums

Master of Puppets (CD)

The Number of the Beast (CD)

Made in Japan (CD)Uncovered 2003–2005 (CD)

The Dark Side of the Moon (CD/DVD)



John Myung – bassChapman Stick  (1985–present)

John Petrucci – guitarbacking vocals (1985–present)

James LaBrie – lead vocals 


Jordan Rudess keyboardskeytarContinuumharpejjilap steel guitariPad music apps (including Morphwiz & GeoSynth),iPhone app Bebot, seaboard (1999–present)

Mike Mangini – drumspercussion  (2010–present)

Former members

Mike Portnoy – drums, backing vocals, percussion (1985–2010)

Kevin Moore – keyboards (1986–94)

Chris Collins – lead vocals (1986)

Charlie Dominici – lead vocals (1987–1989)  

Steve Stone – lead vocals (1990)

Derek Sherinian – keyboards (1995–98)   

Studio albums

When Dream and Day Unite (1989)

Images and Words (1992)

Awake (1994)

Falling into Infinity (1997)

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence  (2002)

Train of Thought (2003)

Octavarium (2005)

Systematic Chaos (2007)

Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)

A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)

Dream Theater (2013)

The Astonishing (2016)  

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Live Play all   

01 Bridges in the sky   

02 6.00   

03 The dark eternal light   

04 This is the live   

05 The root of all evil   

06 Lost not forgotten   

07 Drum solo   

08 A fortune of lies   

09 The silent man   

10 Beneath the surface   

11 Keyboard solo   

12 Surrounded   

13 On the backs of angels   

14 War inside my head   

15 The test that stumped them all   

16 Guitar solo   

17 Metropolis Pt. 1   

18 The spirit carries on   

19 Outcry