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Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John PetrucciJohn Myung, and Mike Portnoy while they attended Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. They subsequently dropped out of their studies to concentrate further on the band that would ultimately become Dream Theater. Though a number of lineup changes followed, the three original members remained together along with James LaBrie and Jordan Rudess until September 8, 2010, when Portnoy left the band. In October 2010, the band held auditions for a drummer to replace Portnoy. Mike Mangini was announced as the new permanent drummer on April 29, 2011.

The band is well known for the technical proficiency of its instrumentalists, who have won many awards from music instruction magazines. Guitarist John Petrucci has been named as the third player on the G3 tour six times, more than any invited players. In 2009 he was named the No. 2 best metal guitarist by Joel McIver in his book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Fastest Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine. Jordan Rudess is considered to be one of the greatest keyboard players of all time by many publications like MusicRadar. Former drummer Mike Portnoy has won 26 awards from Modern Drummer magazine and is also the second youngest person (at the age of 37) to be inducted into the Rock Drummer Hall of Fame. His replacement Mike Mangini has also previously set 5 WFD records. John Myung was voted the greatest bassist of all time in a poll conducted by MusicRadar in August through September 2010. The band was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

The band's highest-selling album is the gold-selling Images and Words (1992), which reached No. 61 on the Billboard 200 chart. Both the 1994 release Awake and their 2002 release Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence also entered the charts at No. 32 and No. 46 respectively and received mostly positive reviews. Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was ranked number 95 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of The greatest 100 guitar albums of all time. It is ranked as the 15th Greatest Concept Album (as of March 2003) by Classic Rock Magazine and as the number one all-time progressive album by Rolling Stone (as of July 2012). Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence also led to Dream Theater becoming the initial band reviewed in the music section of Entertainment Weekly during its opening week of release, despite the magazine generally preferring more mainstream music.

The band's eleventh studio album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, was released on September 13, 2011. On November 30, 2011, the album's lead single, "On the Backs of Angels", was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance" category, marking the band's first ever Grammy nomination. Dream Theater's self-titled twelfth studio album was released on September 23, 2013 and earned their second Grammy Award  nomination, this time for “Best Metal Performance”, for the album's first single, "The Enemy Inside".

On April 9, 2013, Images and Words won Loudwire's fan voted March Metal Madness for world's best metal album beating albums by DioAC/DC, Judas PriestMegadeth and Metallica. As of 2011, Dream Theater has sold over 12 million records worldwide.

Early years (1985–1990)

Formation

Dream Theater was formed in Massachusetts in 1985 when guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung, and drummer Mike Portnoy decided to form a band while attending the Berklee College of Music. The trio started by covering Rush and Iron Maiden songs in the rehearsal rooms at Berklee.

Myung, Petrucci, and Portnoy joined together on the name Majesty for their newly formed group. According to the The Score So Far... documentary, they were waiting in line for tickets to a Rush concert at the Berklee Performance Center while listening to the band on a boom box. Portnoy commented that the ending of the song "Bastille Day" (from the album Caress of Steel) sounded "majestic". It was then decided that Majesty would be the band's name.

The trio then set out to fill the remaining positions in the group. Petrucci asked his high school band-mate Kevin Moore to play the keyboard. After he accepted the position, another friend from home, Chris Collins, was recruited as lead vocalist after band members heard him sing a cover of "Queen of the Reich" by Queensrÿche. During this time, Portnoy, Petrucci, and Myung's hectic schedules forced them to abandon their studies to concentrate on their music, as they did not feel they could learn more in college. Moore also left his college, SUNY Fredonia, to concentrate on the band.

The beginning months of 1986 were filled with various concert dates in and around the New York City area. During this time, the band recorded a collection of demos, titled The Majesty Demos. The initial run of 1,000 sold out within six months, and dubbed copies of the cassette became popular within the progressive metal scene. The Majesty Demos are still available in their original tape format today, despite being released officially on CD, through Mike Portnoy's YtseJam Records.

In November 1986, after a few months of writing and performing together, Chris Collins was fired. After a year of trying to find a replacement, Charlie Dominici, who was far older and more experienced than anyone else in the band, successfully auditioned for the group. With the stability that Dominici's appointment brought to Majesty, they began to increase the number of shows played in the New York City area, gaining a considerable amount of exposure.

Shortly after hiring Dominici, a Las Vegas group also named Majesty threatened legal action for intellectual property infringement related to the use of their name, so the band was forced to adopt a new moniker. Various possibilities were proposed and tested, among them Glasser, Magus, and M1, which were all rejected, though the band did go as Glasser for about a week, though fans reacted poorly to this decision. Eventually, Portnoy's father suggested the name Dream Theater, the name of a small theater in Monterey, California, and the name stuck.

When Dream and Day Unite (1988–1990)

With their new name and band stability, Dream Theater concentrated on writing more material while playing more concerts in New York and in neighboring states. This eventually attracted the attention of Mechanic Records, a division of MCA. Dream Theater signed their first record contract with Mechanic on June 23, 1988 and set out to record their debut album. The band recorded the album at Kajem Victory Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Recording the basic tracks took about 10 days, and the entire album was completed in about 3 weeks.

When Dream and Day Unite was released in 1989 to far less fanfare than the band had anticipated. Mechanic ended up breaking the majority of the financial promises they had made to Dream Theater prior to signing their contract, so the band was restricted to playing around New York City. The promotional tour for the album consisted of just five concerts, all of which were relatively local. Their first show was at Sundance in Bay Shore, New York opening for the classic rock power trio Zebra.

After the fourth show, Charlie Dominici was let go because the band was starting to feel the limitations of his voice based upon the vocal style they wanted. The band was looking for a singer with a style more like Bruce Dickinson or Geoff Tate, and Dominici's stage presence was not what they wanted for a front man. Shortly after, however, the band Marillion asked Dream Theater to open for them at a gig at the Ritz in New York, so Dominici was given the opportunity to perform one last time. It would be another two years before Dream Theater had a replacement vocalist.

The Atlantic years   

The addition of James LaBrie and Images and Words (1991–1993)

Following Dominici's departure, Dream Theater fought successfully to be released from their contract with Mechanic, and set about auditioning singers and writing material for their next album. In their search for a new singer, they auditioned over 200 people, among them former Fates Warning front man John Arch. John ultimately decided that his personal commitments were more important and he opted not to join the band. In mid-1990, at a gig in New York, Dream Theater introduced Steve Stone as their new singer. Stone had successfully recorded demos with Dream Theater, but he was fired following a single, ill-fated live performance. According to Mike Portnoy, Stone moved around the stage in a rather odd manner, seemingly doing a bad impression of Bruce Dickinson. Additionally, he shouted "Scream for me Long Beach!" several times throughout the show (Dickinson can be heard saying this on Iron Maiden's live album Live After Death), although they were actually performing in Bayshore. It was five months before Dream Theater played another show, this time all-instrumental (under the name YtseJam). Until 1991, the band remained focused in an attempt to hire another singer and writing additional music. It was during this period that they wrote the majority of what would become Images and Words (1992).

In January 1991, the band received a demo tape from Kevin James LaBrie, of glam metal band Winter Rose. The band had received the tape just before they were about to commit to another singer. The band was so impressed by his demo that he was flown from Canada to New York for an audition. LaBrie jammed on three songs with the band, and was immediately hired to fill the vocalist position. Once recruited, LaBrie decided to drop his first name to avoid confusion with the other Kevin in the band. For the next few months, the band returned to playing live shows (still mostly around NYC), while working on vocal parts for the music written before acquiring LaBrie. 

Derek Shulman and Atco Records (now EastWest), a division of Elektra Records, signed Dream Theater to a seven album contract based on a three song demo (later made available as "The Atco Demos" through the Dream Theater fan club).

The first album to be recorded under their new record contract was Images and Words (1992). For promotion, the label released a CD Single and video clip for the song "Another Day", but neither made significant commercial impact. The song "Pull Me Under", however, managed to garner a high level of radio airplay without any organized promotion from the band or their label. In response, ATCO produced a video clip for "Pull Me Under", which saw heavy rotation on MTV. A third video clip was produced for "Take the Time", but it was not nearly as successful as "Pull Me Under".

The success of "Pull Me Under", combined with relentless touring throughout the U.S. and Japan, caused Images and Words to achieve gold record certification in the States and platinum status in Japan. A tour of Europe followed in 1993, which included a show at London's famed Marquee Club. The show was recorded and released as Live at the Marquee, Dream Theater's first official live album. Additionally, a video compilation of their Japanese concerts (mixed in with documentary-style footage of the off-stage portion of the tour) was released as Images and Words: Live in Tokyo.

Awake and Kevin Moore's departure (1994–1995)

Eager to work on fresh material, Dream Theater retreated to the studio in May 1994. Awake, Dream Theater's third studio album, was released on October 4, 1994 amidst a storm of fan controversy. Shortly before the album was mixed, Moore had announced to the rest of the band that he would be quitting Dream Theater to concentrate on his own musical interests, since he was no longer interested in touring or the style of music which Dream Theater performed. As a result, the band had to scramble to find a replacement keyboardist before a tour could be considered.

Former Yngwie Malmsteen/Dio keyboardist Jens Johansson, who would go on to become a member of Stratovarius, was among the biggest names to audition, but the band members were eager to fill the position with keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Portnoy and Petrucci had come across Rudess in Keyboard Magazine, where he was recognized as "best new talent" in the readers' poll. The two invited him to play a trial gig with the band at the Concrete Foundations Forum in Burbank, California. Although the show was a success, and Rudess was asked to fill the keyboardist position permanently, he opted to tour with The Dixie Dregs instead, since it granted him more personal latitude. Dream Theater hired fellow Berklee alumnus Derek Sherinian, who had previously toured and recorded with Alice Cooper  and KISS, to fill in for the Waking Up the World Tour. By the conclusion of the tour, the band decided to take Sherinian on as Moore's full-time replacement.

A Change of SeasonsFalling Into Infinity (1995–1998)

Once again finding themselves with a new member, Dream Theater did not immediately start working on new material. Fans around the world, united on the YtseJam Mailing List (the most popular form of communication between Dream Theater fans at that point), had begun to put pressure on the band to officially release the song "A Change of Seasons". This had been written in 1989 and was intended to be a part of Images and Words, but at almost 17 minutes, it was deemed too long for studio placement. It had nevertheless been performed live by the band, who continued to revise it in the years leading up to 1995.

The petition was successful, and the group entered BearTracks Studios in New York in May 1995 to rewrite and record the now 23-minute-long song with Sherinian contributing significantly to the final product. The band released "A Change of Seasons" as an EP along with a collection of cover songs from a live show recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London earlier that year.

After a brief run of small concerts and a short break, the band released a special Christmas CD through their official fan club, consisting of rare live tracks recorded during the band's early years. They continued releasing a new CD each Christmas until 2005.

Meanwhile, there were several changes at EastWest, and Dream Theater's main contact within the label was fired. As a result, the new team at the company were unaccustomed to the relationship Dream Theater had with former EastWest personnel, and they pressured them to write an album that was more accessible. In mid-1997, they entered the studio to write their next album. In addition to pressuring the band to adopt a more mainstream sound, EastWest recruited writer/producer Desmond Child to work with Petrucci on polishing the lyrics to his song "You or Me". The whole band substantially reworked the song, and it appeared on the album as "You Not Me" with a chorus that bore little resemblance to the original. Child also had a noticeable impact on the album, with a shift towards less complex and more radio-friendly compositions.

The band wrote almost two CDs worth of material, including a 20-minute-long follow-up to the Images and Words song "Metropolis–Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper". The label, however, did not allow the release of a double album because it felt that a 140-minute record would not be well received by the general public. James LaBrie also felt that the CD should be a single disc. The unused songs were later released in the Ytsejam Records release The Falling Into Infinity Demos.

The material that made it onto the album proper was released as Falling Into Infinity, which received a mixed reception from fans who were more familiar with the band's earlier sound. While the album was moderately progressive-sounding, tracks such as "Hollow Years" and "You Not Me" prompted some to believe it was the dawn of a new, mainstream-sounding Dream Theater. Overall, the album was both a critical and commercial disappointment. Although Portnoy did not speak out publicly at the time, he later revealed in the 2004 DVD commentary for 5 Years in a Livetime, that he had been so discouraged during this period that he had considered disbanding Dream Theater altogether.

During the European leg of the Touring Into Infinity world tour, two shows were recorded for a live album entitled Once in a LIVEtime, in France and The Netherlands. The album was released at around the same time as the video 5 Years in a Livetime, which covered the years from Kevin Moore's departure to the Falling Into Infinity promotional tour.

Addition of Jordan Rudess and Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999–2000)

In 1997, Magna Carta Records' Mike Varney invited Portnoy to assemble a progressive 'supergroup' to work on an album, which would become the first in a long string of side-projects for the members of Dream Theater. The lineup consisted of Portnoy on drums, Petrucci on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who had finished with the Dixie Dregs. The band assumed the name Liquid Tension Experiment, and would act as a medium through which Portnoy and Petrucci could once again court Rudess to join Dream Theater. In 1999, he accepted an offer to become the third full-time Dream Theater keyboardist, replacing Sherinian.

With yet another new member, Dream Theater entered BearTracks Studio once again to write and record their next album. As a result of an ultimatum from Portnoy, the label gave the band complete creative control. The band began by revisiting the follow-up to "Metropolis–Part I", which had been partially written during the Falling Into Infinity sessions but which had not been completed or used on that album. They decided to expand the 20-minute song into a complete concept album, with a story revolving around themes such as reincarnation, murder and betrayal. To avoid stirring up the fan base, a tight veil of secrecy enveloped the writing and recording process. The only things fans were privy to prior to its release were a track list that had been leaked against the band's wishes, and a release date. In 1999, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was released to high critical acclaim, being lauded as the band's masterpiece, despite only reaching No. 73 on the US album chart.

The album was mixed by David Bottrill, but only a few of his mixes made it on the final album. The bulk was remixed by Kevin Shirley, who had produced their previous album, Falling into Infinity. The rest of the mixes can be heard in the band's official bootleg The Making of Scenes from a Memory.

The subsequent Metropolis 2000 world tour was by far their largest to date, and took over a year to complete. The concerts reflected the theatrical aspect of the album, with the first half of each show comprising the entire Scenes From a Memory album accompanied by a film showing dramatized portions of the story projected onto a video screen behind the stage. For the last date of the North American leg, at the Roseland Ballroom  in New York City, actors were hired to play characters in the story, and a gospel choir was enlisted to perform in some sections of the performance. The show was filmed and eventually released in early 2001 as the band's first DVD release, Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York, which was certified Gold in the US on Nov 8, 2002.

Since several songs from the second half of the four-hour show had to be cut from the DVD to save space, the band also released the full show on the live CD Live Scenes from New York. The original cover depicted one of Dream Theater's early logos (the Images and Words-era burning heart, modeled on the Sacred Heart of Christ) modified to show an apple (as in "Big Apple") instead of the heart, and the New York skyline, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center, in the flame above it. In an unfortunate coincidence, the album was released on the same date as the September 11 attacks. The album was quickly recalled by the band and was re-released with revised artwork later, although the few copies which were sold with the original artwork have since become rare collector's items.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2001–2002)

Putting the whole ordeal behind them, Dream Theater once again entered BearTracks Studios to record their sixth studio album. Four years after they first petitioned EastWest to allow them to release a double album, they finally got their chance with Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The first disc consisted of five tracks of 7–13 minutes in length, and the second disc was devoted entirely to the 42-minute title track, which remains to date the longest song Dream Theater has written. Many of the song's melodies and musical themes originated in an instrumental piece, written by Rudess, which would eventually become the song's "Overture". Those themes were then expanded by the rest of the band to form individual chapters in a complete story.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence was very well received by critics and the press. It was the most publicized of Dream Theater's albums since Awake, debuting on the Billboard charts at No. 46 and the Billboard Internet charts at No. 1. The subsequent world tour included a select few special "album cover" gigs (see Cover songs section, below), in which they played Metallica's Master of Puppets and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast in their entirety.

Train of Thought (2003–2004)

In 2003, Dream Theater entered the studio to write and record another album. Unlike Scenes from a Memory, which had been written and recorded simultaneously in the studio, the band took a different approach by setting aside three weeks for writing prior to recording. In the middle of the recording sessions for the album, a special tour with two other progressive metal bands, Queensrÿche and Fates Warning, was undertaken in North America. Referred to in the band's promotional material as the "Escape from the Studio American tour", the tour featured Queensrÿche and Dream Theater as co-headlining acts with Fates Warning performing supporting act duties. As a finale for each concert there was an extended encore in which both Dream Theater and Queensrÿche performed together on stage simultaneously, often playing cover songs.

At the completion of the tour, Dream Theater returned to the studio to finish the recording of their seventh album, Train of Thought. In contrast to the extended songs of their previous album, the band aimed to write a more song-oriented album, inspired in part by covering the Master of Puppets and Number of the Beast albums on their previous concert tour. Although the album was a critical success, its more straightforward metal sound alienated many of the band's existing fans, who had been attracted by the band's roots in progressive rock. During this time they also re-released their first two live videos for the first time on DVD, entitled "Images and Words: Live in Tokyo/5 Years in a Livetime" on June 29, 2004, through Rhino Records. This release was certified Platinum on March 22, 2006.

Another world tour followed, named Train of Thought Tour. A modest North American tour was completed by the two bands, which Dream Theater supported Yes, a band which had been a major influence on their own musical style. After which Dream Theater continued to tour the world with their so-called "An Evening With Dream Theater" shows. The latter were captured in another live CD/DVD release, recorded at the famous Nippon Budokan Hall  in Tokyo, Japan on their Train of Thought TourLive at Budokan was released on October 5, 2004, and was certified Platinum in the US on January 26, 2005.

Octavarium (2005–2006)

After their Train of Thought promotional tour, Dream Theater entered the Hit Factory studios in NYC to record their eighth album. They would in fact become the final group to use the famous studio, which closed on April 1, 2005.

Octavarium was released on June 7, 2005, and took the band's sound in yet another new direction. Its eight songs included a continuation of Portnoy's "Twelve-step" saga ("The Root of All Evil", steps 6-7 in the 12-step plan), as well as the title track, a musically versatile 24 minute epic rivaling "A Change of Seasons". Octavarium received mixed reviews from fans and has been the subject of spirited debate. Octavarium was the last album under their seven-album deal with Elektra Records, which had inherited the contract upon its absorption of EastWest Records.

Dream Theater started the Octavarium Tour extensively throughout 2005 and 2006 to celebrate their 20th Anniversary as a band, including a headlining spot on Gigantour alongside Megadeth and put together by frontman Dave Mustaine, also featuring Fear FactoryNevermore and Symphony X. During a show on August 2, 2005 in Dallas, the band paid tribute to Pantera's late guitarist Dimebag Darrell by performing the song "Cemetery Gates" as an encore. In addition was the unexpected appearance of fellow musicians Russell Allen (Symphony X vocalist), Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory vocalist) and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth vocalist/guitarist), who joined the band on stage to perform parts of the song.

Dream Theater later departed from Gigantour 2005 a few dates before it ended and continued on with their own series of concerts, several of which were recorded and released for the band's fanclubs. The 20th anniversary tour concluded with a show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 1, 2006. Though the show had minimal promotion, it was sold out days after tickets were made available. This show, which was recorded for a CD/DVD called Score released on August 29, 2006 through Rhino Records, featured songs from the band's entire history, as well a second half accompanied by a full symphony orchestra (the "Octavarium Orchestra"). This release was the band's third Live DVD release to be certified Platinum in the US on Oct 11, 2006.

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Ballads   Play all  


Heavy   Play all   


Another day   

Hollow years    

Moment of betrayal    

Our new world   

Hymn of a thousand voices  

The gift of music   

The dance of eternity    

Ellumination theory   

Wither   

Octavarium    

Pull me under   

The looking glass   

Trough her eyes   

The spirit carries on   

Forsaken   

Strange Deja vu    

Far from heaven   

Anna Lee   

The count of Tuscany   

A change of seasons   

Disapear   

Space dye vest   

The dance of instrumentals    

Endless sacrifice   

Wish you where here   

A rite of passage   

Constant motion   

Live at Budokan 2004