Dream Theater

Dream Theater is a progressive metal band formed by three students at the Berklee College of Music in 1985. In the 22 years since their inception, they have become one of the most commercially successful progressive bands since the height of progressive rock in the mid-1970s, despite being relatively unknown in mainstream pop/rock circles. Their two highest selling albums are Images and Words (1992), which was awarded a gold record and is consistently regarded as a seminal progressive metal release, although it reached only #61 on the Billboard 200 charts; and Awake (1994) which reached #32 on the Billboard 200. Dream Theater has sold over 2 million albums in the U.S., and over 6 million albums and DVDs worldwide.

The band is well known for the technical proficiency of each instrumentalist, winning many awards from music magazines. They are highly respected by many of rock and metal's biggest names, leading to collaborations between Dream Theater members and many other well known musicians. In a famous example, guitarist John Petrucci was named as the third player on the G3 tour with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, following in the footsteps of Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, Yngwie Malmsteen and other influential guitarists.

Dream Theater was formed in 1985 by guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy while catching mice and pidgeons to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Kevin Moore, a high school band-mate of Petrucci's, was recruited to play keyboards and Chris Collins was enlisted as vocalist.

The quintet settled on the name Majesty for their newly-formed group (a name inspired by Portnoy's description of the closing section of "Bastille Day" by Rush), and the three Berklee attendees dropped out to concentrate on the band.

Their first major recording project was The Majesty demos, a collection of ideas and demos that were released in 1986. The initial run of 1,000 sold out within six months, and dubbed copies of the cassette spread quickly through the progressive metal scene all over the world.

However, in November 1986, after a few months of writing and performing together, Chris Collins left the band due to creative differences with the other members. 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 playing more shows in and around the New York City area, and gained a considerable amount of exposure for a band that had not yet released an album.

Shortly after Dominici joined the band, they were forced to change their name when another band named Majesty threatened legal action. Various names were contemplated until Portnoy's father suggested the name Dream Theater, the name of a now demolished movie theater in Monterey, California.

They signed their first record contract, with Mechanic (a division of MCA), in 1988 and set out to record their debut album.

When Dream and Day Unite was released in 1989 to far less fanfare than was anticipated by anyone in the band [citation needed]. Mechanic ended up breaking the majority of the financial promises they had made to the band before signing their contract, so they were restricted to playing gigs around NYC to promote the release. The promotional tour for the album consisted of just five concerts, all of which were in New York or Rhode Island.

After the fourth of these gigs, Dominici was fired. Shortly after, however, 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 two more years before Dream Theater had another full-time singer.

Following Dominici's firing, 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 the time until they had secured a replacement vocalist, they wrote the majority of the music for what would become their second album, Images and Words.

In their search for a new singer they auditioned over 200 people, among them former Fates Warning front man John Arch, but all were turned down for various reasons. In 1991 a tape arrived from Canadian band Winter Rose's singer Kevin James LaBrie, who was immediately flown to New York for a proper audition. After a short jam session he was hired as full-time singer, and started using his middle name, James, as his first to avoid confusion with Kevin Moore.

For the next few months, the band resumed gigging and worked on vocal parts for all the music that they had written to that point. ATCO Records (now EastWest) signed Dream Theater to a seven album contract on the strength of their reputation and a three song demo (later made available as The ATCO Demos through the Dream Theater fan club).

The first album to be released under their new record contract was Images and Words in 1992, the first of many Dream Theater albums to be recorded at BearTracks Studios. The song "Pull Me Under" gained a lot of radio airplay, and as a result the label commissioned a video clip for its promotion, which had moderate MTV rotation.

The success of "Pull Me Under", combined with relentless touring throughout the U.S. and Japan, helped Images and Words to achieve gold record certification in the States and platinum in Japan. The album received much critical acclaim and is seen as a landmark album in the development of progressive metal. The album is still the most commercially successful of all Dream Theater's releases.

A tour of Europe followed in 1993, which included a show at London's famed Marquee jazz club. That show was recorded and released as Live at the Marquee, Dream Theater's first official live album, and a video compilation of their Japanese concerts (mixed in with some documentary-style footage of the off-stage portion of the tour) was released as Images and Words: Live in Tokyo.

Keen to work on fresh material, Dream Theater retreated to the studio in May 1994. The 1994 sessions were the first in which Dream Theater as a whole wrote music together that was specifically for an album, with Images and Words being entirely composed without a vocalist and with an uncertain future as far as recording was concerned.

Awake was released in October 1994. It featured a distinctly heavier sound than the band's previous releases, which caused criticism among long time fans, but was still well-received by critics and gained Dream Theater a new breed of fans. Shortly before the album was mixed, Moore announced to the rest of the band that he wished to concentrate on his own musical interests and would be quitting Dream Theater. This rocked a band that had enjoyed just two years of stability after a tumultuous first half-decade, but Moore was no longer interested in the life of a touring musician nor the brand of progressive metal Dream Theater performed, so the two parties went their separate ways.

As a result of that news, the band had to scramble to find a replacement keyboardist instead of jumping head-first into touring mode.

Jordan Rudess, an up-and-coming keyboardist who was relatively unknown in rock music circles to that point, was invited to play a trial performance with Dream Theater in the hopes that he would join the band. The gig, in Burbank, California, went well but Rudess decided to accept an invitation from The Dixie Dregs to perform with them instead. Derek Sherinian was brought on as a hired gun, and by the conclusion of the Awake promotional tour Sherinian was Dream Theater's new full-time keyboardist.

After a petition from fans to EastWest, the group recorded their previously unreleased song "A Change of Seasons", which had been written in 1989 and was originally to appear on Images and Words, and distributed it as an EP with a collection of live cover tracks. After a short run of small "one-off" concerts to promote the EP, Dream Theater entered the studio once more to write their next album.

In all, almost two CDs worth of material were written during the sessions including a 20 minute long follow-up to the Images and Words song "Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper". The label, however, did not allow the release of a double album because they felt that a 140-minute record would not be digestible by the general public, so half the songs had to be cut.

In addition to, and as a function of, pressuring the band into adopting a more mainstream sound, EastWest recruited writer/producer Desmond Child to work with Petrucci on re-writing the lyrics to his demo "You Or Me". The whole band substantially reworked the music to that song, and it appeared on the album as "You Not Me" in a form that was barely reminiscent of the original.

The material that made it onto the album proper was released as Falling Into Infinity, which received a mixed reception from traditional Dream Theater fans [citation needed]. Despite the album containing some very progressive-sounding songs, tracks like "Hollow Years" and "You Not Me" prompted some to believe it was the dawn of a new, mainstream-sounding Dream Theater, just as the release of Empire had previously heralded the same shift for Queensrÿche . The album was both a critical and commercial disappointment but in recent years the album has been rehabilitated to an extent, and interest was rekindled when Portnoy indicated that the unused songs - including more traditionally progressive cuts such as "Raise the Knife" - would be released through Portnoy's YtseJam Records.

During the European leg of the Falling 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 chronicled the time from when Kevin Moore left the band right up to the Falling Into Infinity promotional tour.

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 that was eventually settled on consisted of Portnoy on drums, Petrucci on guitar, Tony Levin of King Crimson on bass, and Jordan Rudess, who had finished with the Dixie Dregs by that time, on keyboards. 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 them in Dream Theater. They extended an invitation for him to join them in 1999, and he accepted the offer to become the third full-time Dream Theater keyboardist. Unfortunately for Sherinian, this meant that he was out of a job, though he later admitted that after the initial disappointment, he saw his axing as a positive and would later move on to have a very successful solo career.

Armed with yet another new member, Dream Theater entered BearTracks Studio once again to write and record their next album. Perhaps as a response to the backlash over Falling Into Infinity, this time their record label gave the band complete freedom with their music. The follow-up to "Metropolis Part 1" of Images and Words, which was written during the Falling Into Infinity sessions (but not used on that album), was taken off the shelf as the first composition for them to work on.

They decided to rewrite and expand the 20-minute song with a fresh, new band member into a complete concept album, with the 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 knew before its release were a track list that had been leaked against the band's wishes, and a release date. They knew nothing of the title, the music, or even the fact that it would be a concept album. In 1999, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was released to high critical acclaim. It was hailed as Dream Theater's masterpiece by many fans, and critics alike, despite only reaching #73 on the charts. Scenes From A Memory is often compared to Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime, another seminal progressive metal concept album released a decade earlier.

A world tour that followed led the band into more countries than they had ever toured before, taking over a year to complete. For one extra special show, at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, actor Kent Broadhurst was hired to play the role of the hypnotherapist, and gospel choir led by Theresa Thomason, (also present on the MP2 album as guest singers) was enlisted to play in certain sections of the show. This show, the last North American date of the tour, was recorded for the band's first DVD release. After many technical delays, Dream Theater fans finally got their hands on the DVD, entitled Metropolis 2000, in early 2001. Shortly after its release, the band announced that an audio version of the concert, with the entire four-hour long set list (much of which had to be cut from the DVD to save space), would be released shortly thereafter.

The cover for the CD version of the concert, titled Live Scenes From New York, showed one of Dream Theater's early logos (the Images And Words-era burning heart, modeled on the Sacred Heart) modified to show an apple instead of the heart, as an allusion to the Big Apple nickname given to New York City. In the flames above the apple was shown the New York City skyline, including the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In an unfortunate coincidence, the album was released on September 11, 2001 - the same day as the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The album was immediately recalled, but many copies were snapped up by Dream Theater collectors as a very rare piece of Dream Theater's history. It was re-released with revised artwork a short time later.

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 6-14 minutes in length, and the second disc was devoted entirely to the 42-minute title track, split into 8 parts, which is to date the longest song Dream Theater have written.

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence ended up being received very well by critics and the press. It was the most publicized of Dream Theater's albums since Awake, debuting on the Billboard charts at #46 and the Billboard Internet charts at #1.

Throughout the next year and a half they toured the world once more, with an expanded live show including a select few special "album cover" gigs, in which they played Metallica's Master of Puppets and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast in their entirety.

At the completion of their promotional tour and various side projects, Dream Theater entered the studio to record what would become Train of Thought, their heaviest album to that point, written in a mere three weeks. The album was a critical success but it had a polarizing effect, alienating a fair portion of Dream Theater's fans who enjoyed the traditional progressive rock influence from bands such as Yes or King Crimson more than Dream Theater's modern muses like Tool and Metallica[citation needed]. Regardless, it expanded the band's fan base into new territory, that of mainstream heavy metal and alternative metal.

Their next move was to release another live CD/DVD combination, this time recorded at the famous Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan on their Train of Thought world tour. Live at Budokan was released on October 5, 2004, and further propelled Dream Theater's reputation as one of the premier live acts in progressive metal.

Upon the completion of their Train of Thought promotional tour in 2004, Dream Theater entered the Hit Factory studios in New York City to record their eighth album. As it turned out, they would be the last group ever to record in that famous studio, and after they wrapped up their final session, the lights were turned off at the studio forever.

The latest album, Octavarium, was released on June 7, 2005 and took the band's sound in yet another new direction. Among its eight songs is a continuation of Portnoy's "Alcoholics Anonymous" suite ("The Root of All Evil", steps 6-7 in the 12-step plan), as well as the title track itself, an epic rivaling A Change of Seasons and which spans several musical styles in its 24-minute running time. Like nearly every album by the band, Octavarium has received mixed reviews from fans and been the subject of spirited debate. In particular, some fans thought that the band wore its musical influences too prominently on their sleeves (e.g. "Never Enough" has been compared to Muse's Stockholm Syndrome and the relatively radio-friendly "I Walk Beside You," which combines a sound reminiscent of U2 and Coldplay. Octavarium was the last album under their seven-album deal with Elektra Records, and the band subsequently left the label.

Dream Theater toured extensively throughout 2005 and 2006 to celebrate their 20th Anniversary as a band, including a headlining spot on Gigantour. During a show on August 2, 2005 in Dallas, the band paid tribute to Pantera's late guitar virtuoso Dimebag Darrell by performing Cemetery Gates as an encore; what made the performance even more remarkable was the unexpected appearance of fellow musicians Russell Allen, Burton C. Bell and Dave Mustaine, who joined the band on stage to perform parts of the song.

Dream Theater later departed from Gigantour and continued their own series of concerts; including a show at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 1st, 2006 with "the Octavarium Orchestra". The show was recorded for a CD/DVD called Score, released on August 29, 2006 through Rhino Records.

On February 8, 2007, it was announced that Dream Theater has signed with Roadrunner Records and will be releasing their ninth studio album in June 2007, titled Systematic Chaos

On Mike Portnoy's official website, it was reported that on January 26, 2007 the band had finished recording on their ninth studio album, Systematic Chaos. The band entered Avatar Studios in New York City on September 1, 2006 with sound engineer Paul Northfield. In a Christmas video Mike Portnoy made for his forum members, the band was seen discussing the first song off the new album (which promises to be another Dream Theater 'epic'), that had the working title "The Pumpkin King". On February 8, 2007, Dream Theater announced the signing of their new contract with Roadrunner Records. Six days later, on February 14, 2007, It was revealed that the final mix was signed off. The album will be released on June 4, 2007.

The 2007/2008 World tour will start off in Italy. Dream Theater will have a headlining spot in the Gods Of Metal concert. This first concert will take place on June 3rd 2007. Other bands there are Heaven and Hell, Blind Guardian, Dimmu Borgir, Porcupine Tree, Symphony X, Anathema, Sadist and DGM.

A number of unique songwriting techniques have been employed by Dream Theater, most notably in the latter part of their career when they were afforded greater ability to experiment by their record label.

Beginning with Train of Thought the band began deliberately inserting small, hidden elements to their music and packaging for the benefit of the more dedicated fans. The most famous of these is the so-called "nugget" placed in "In the Name of God", which was a sample of the phrase "eat my ass and balls" (a famous Mike Portnoy quote) in morse code hidden deep within the mix of that song. Ever since, Dream Theater fans have actively looked for these small quirks that are usually of little interest to a casual fan.

Some of the notable techniques used by Dream Theater through their career include:

* The sound of phonograph static at the end of "Finally Free" on Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is the same as the sound at the beginning of "The Glass Prison" on their next album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. And the last chord that fades out at the end of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is the same chord that fades in to "As I Am" on the next album, Train of Thought. And the piano note played at the end of "In the Name of God" on Train of Thought is the same piano note that opens "The Root of All Evil" on their next album, Octavarium. However, Octavarium ends with the same piano note with which the album started.

* The three sections of "The Glass Prison" on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, the two sections of "This Dying Soul" on Train of Thought, and the two sections of "The Root of All Evil" on Octavarium comprise the first seven movements of a twelve-movement suite with lyrics by Mike Portnoy chronicling his involvement in the twelve steps of Bill Wilson's Alcoholics Anonymous program. The three songs all share riffs, musical themes and lyrics. Portnoy has stated his desire to perform the twelve movements in succession after the suite is completed, and each track thus far has been dedicated to Wilson. The songs are also lyrically and musically related to "The Mirror" and "Lie" on Awake, of which "The Mirror" also deals explicitly with Portnoy's alcoholism.

* Dream Theater often uses a songwriting technique where sections of the song are expanded each time they are used. An example of this is in "6:00" from Awake. After the intro, they almost play the chorus, but back away from it and start the next verse (timestamp 1:33). And when the chorus should come around the next time, they play it, but only part of it (timestamp 2:11). The song continues for a while and when it returns to the chorus, they play the entire thing (timestamp 4:41). This technique can also be found in "Peruvian Skies", "Blind Faith", "Endless Sacrifice", among others.

* Musical quotations (which is taking a musical theme, manipulating it and placing it in another musical context), a technique made famous by Charles Ives, has been employed in the past:
o The theme for "Wait for Sleep" is quoted later in "Learning to Live" (timestamp 8:11) and also twice in "Just Let Me Breathe" (timestamps 3:39 and 5:21)
o The theme for "Learning to Live" is quoted in "Another Day" (timestamp 2:53)
o The theme for "Space-Dye Vest" is used several times throughout the album Awake.
o One of the main melodies from "The Mirror" is used in the outro of "Lie" on Awake (timestamp 5:14).
o One of the melodies and lines in "Metropolis Pt 1 (The Miracle and the Sleeper)"(timestamp 8:28) is repeated in "Overture 1928" (timestamp 1:34) from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory and in the second chorus of "Home"(timestamp 6:49) , with only one word changed. Additionally, some of the lyrics in "Metropolis Pt 1" are spoken in "Home" (timestamp 5:17). Essentially, the entire Scenes from a Memory album is full of musical / lyrical / conceptual quotations from "Metropolis Pt 1", and "The Dance of Eternity" is actually constructed from variations of the musical elements building up the original track. In addition to this Mike Portnoy during the intro of "Home" plays the rhythm of "Metropolis Pt 1" on the hi-hat (timestamp 2:35). He explains concepts like this on his instructional DVD "Liquid Drum Theater".
o Pieces of each song in the album Octavarium play in the background of section IV (intervals (timestamp 18:40)) of the song "Octavarium":
+ Root: "Take all of me" from The Root of All Evil (timestamp 3:03)
+ Second: "Don't let the day go by" from The Answer Lies Within (timestamp 4:21)
+ Third: A clip from These Walls
+ Fourth: "I walk beside you" from I Walk Beside You (timestamp 1:06)
+ Fifth: "Hysteria" from Panic Attack (timestamp 3:55)
+ Sixth: "What would you say" from Never Enough (timestamp 2:49) ( this is the most obvious one)
+ Seventh: A clip from Sacrificed Sons
+ Octave: "Side effects appear" from Octavarium (timestamp 11:52)
o Non-Dream Theater musical quotations:
+ Liquid Tension Experiment's "Acid Rain" is quoted twice in "Fatal Tragedy" (timestamps 4:21 and 6:33)[citation needed]
+ The melody line of Teddy Bears Picnic is quoted in "Sacrificed Sons" (timestamp 7:02)
+ Jingle Bells is quoted in "Octavarium" (timestamp 17:47)
+ Battle Hymn of the Republic is quoted in the background of "In the Name of God" (timestamp 12:56)
o Non-Dream Theater lyrical quotations:
+ The third section of the song "Octavarium", called Full Circle is Mike Portnoy's ode to progressive rock as the lyrics consist of word-jokes listing his favourite songs, bands and more, like The Beatles' Day Tripper, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Get Back, Genesis' Supper's Ready and Cinema Show, Pink Floyd's Careful With That Axe Eugene and Yes' Machine Messiah, as well as My Generation (The Who), Show Me The Way (Peter Frampton), Light My Fire (The Doors), Day For Night (Spock's Beard), Gabba Gabba Hey (From the song "Pinhead" by The Ramones), and Hey Hey My My (Neil Young).
+ Also in "Octavarium" (timestamp 14:03) a sample of someone saying "This is where we came in" plays. This sample is most likely referencing Pink Floyd's "The Wall." At the end of The Wall, you can hear a voice saying "Isn't this where..." and at the beginning the same voice says "...we came in?" This is probably emphasis of Octavarium's focus on how things go in cycles and repeat.

* Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, the band's sixth full-length studio release, contains six songs and contains a reference to the number six in its title. Train of Thought, the band's seventh full-length studio release, contains seven songs. Octavarium, the band's eighth full-length release, contains eight songs and its title is derived from octo, the Latin word meaning eight, as well as the musical term of an octave, which is the distance between a note and itself higher or lower in pitch, which is "eight" notes up or down in almost any diatonic scale. The title track from this disc is also 24 minutes long, a multiple of 8, and the fourth movement (8/2) of the song is comprised of 8 sections, all stepping up by a single interval. The cover design also includes various references to the numbers 5 and 8, e.g. a set of white rectangles and black rectangles, indicating an octave on a piano. In the inlay of the album, there is also a picture of 2 Domino-pieces - the front one has 3 pips in the top square and 2 in the bottom, and the Domino-piece in the back has 5 in the top square and 3 in the bottom. These four numbers can be added in various ways to get the sums 5 or 8 (3 + 2 + 3 = 8; 3 + 2 = 5; 5 + 3 = 8; etc.) This theme is continued throughout the album art inside the CD booklet, consisting of other pictorial references to the number 8 including an octopus with one tentacle gripping a paddle with Dream Theater's logo on it, and a black spider in the centre of an octagonal maze.

* The song "Octavarium" was originally intended to end with a flute that echoes the same theme it had much earlier in the song, but that was changed to the same piano note that begins the album Octavarium. At some point between producing the album and printing the CDs, it was decided to change the ending of the song in order to emphasize the circular motif that exists throughout the album. (The earlier version with the flute at the very end was leaked and is circulating through the Internet.) Mike Portnoy has also noted that it ended the stress of having to connect each album's ending to the next album's beginning, as mentioned above. Therefore, Systematic Chaos will not start with the ending of Octavarium.

* A detailed analysis of the "nuggets" found in Octavarium (quoted by drummer Mike Portnoy as being "one giant nugget") has been published on an independent website.

Throughout their career, Dream Theater's live shows have gradually become bigger, longer, more diverse, and less restrictive. The most obvious example of this is their rotational set list policy. That is, every single night of every tour has its set list devised by Portnoy using a meticulous process that ensures it is unique. Factors such as set lists from previous cities are taken into account to ensure that people who see Dream Theater multiple times within the same area will not see the same songs performed twice, and even the set list from the last time the band was in a particular city is taken into account for the benefit of fans who see the band on successive tours.

For this to be possible, the band prepares to play the majority of its catalogue at any performance, depending on what Portnoy decides to program for that night. This process also requires the employment of a very complex lighting system to load pre-configured lighting cues based on the possible individual songs.

Being known for their significant musical versatility, Dream Theater has performed with a very diverse range of acts. Some of their more notable touring partners include Deep Purple, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Iron Maiden, Joe Satriani, King's X, Marillion, Megadeth, In Flames, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Queensrÿche, Spock's Beard, Fear Factory, Enchant, Symphony X, and Yes. In 2005, Dream Theater toured North America with the Gigantour festival, co-headlining with Megadeth.

Length is another unique element of Dream Theater concerts. Their 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 (LaBrie humorously apologized to the audience for the "short set" after the show), and resulted in Portnoy almost being hospitalized.

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 this song and others, often playing the ragtime section of "When the Water Breaks" from Liquid Tension Experiment 2. 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," and the Turkish March at a concert in Istanbul. On the most recent "20th Anniversary World Tour" Rudess has even thrown in a short "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" theme in a break during "Endless Sacrifice". During the playing of "As I Am" in Bangkok in January of 2006, Rudess played a very choppy and amateurish major scale back and forth several times before the instrumental break.

It is also not unheard of for a member of the audience to be picked out 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 have a birthday corresponding to a tour date, which normally results in a birthday cake being thrown over the subject.

Perhaps the most extreme example of Dream Theater's unpredictable concert structure is that during Derek Sherinian's time with the band, at selected shows the band members all swapped instruments and performed an encore as the fictitious Nightmare Cinema (the approximate opposite of "Dream Theater"). They usually performed a cover of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers", and, on one occasion, Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution".

Similarly, 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.

Early on in their career, Dream Theater adopted a custom logo (known as the Majesty symbol) and word mark which has appeared on the vast majority of their promotional material since, with at least one of the official marks appearing on the front cover of every major release to date, with the exception of Once in a LIVEtime (see explanation below). Even after the band dropped the Majesty name the symbol remained as their official mark, and it is viewed by the Dream Theater fan community in much the same way as the four symbols of each member of Led Zeppelin are embraced by fans of that band. It is common to see people with Majesty symbol tattoos at Dream Theater concerts.

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.

The fact that neither the logo, nor the word mark appeared on the cover of Once In A LIVEtime nor companion video/DVD release 5 Years in a LIVEtime was interpreted by some fans as evidence that the band had sold out and strayed from their roots with their more "modernized" fonts[citation needed], but by the time it had reclaimed its place on the cover of Scenes From a Memory the unhappiness was largely forgotten. (The actual reason was that Storm Thorgerson, the legendary graphic designer for both aforementioned albums, doesn't like to work with a pre-existing font.) It has since appeared on every subsequent release. (The Falling Into Infinity cover had the logo, but not the wordmark.)

Dream Theater is one of the most actively bootlegged bands in the progressive metal genre. Since their very first gigs in New York as Majesty, fans have recorded almost every single show that Dream Theater have played (occasionally there are three or four versions of a single concert), and some very elaborate and professional recordings have been released.

However, not every member in the band tolerates the release of Dream Theater bootlegs. Portnoy is definitely the most pro-bootlegging member, since he was an avid collector of many bootlegs in his younger days and keeps his own personal archive of Dream Theater material in his basement. Petrucci and LaBrie have voiced opposition to people recording their concerts. Petrucci takes issue with bootleggers because he prefers audience members to concentrate on the musicians on stage, and not the level adjustments on their recording device. LaBrie, on the other hand, argues that bootlegging takes ownership and control over Dream Theater's performances away from the band themselves and into the hands of the public. Myung has expressed mild opposition to bootlegging, but in some interviews has mentioned that he does not particularly take great issue with it.

Regardless of their personal opinions, each member of the band still autographs any bootleg that is presented to them for a signature. As a result, fans tend to show a great amount of respect to Portnoy's wishes whenever he announces that recordings of a certain show are not to be shared in collector circles, usually due to plans to release professional recordings of that particular show commercially.

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

Dream Theater have been well known for covering other artists' work throughout the entirety of their career, and they took this practice to a whole new level during the promotional tour for Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. At three special gigs, one each in Barcelona, Chicago and New York City, they covered Metallica's Master of Puppets album in its entirety after a full set of Dream Theater material. This came as a complete shock to fans as there was no sign that this was to occur, other than it being announced that the gigs involved, which were the second of a two-night stand in each city, would be "extra special". This tradition can most likely be traced back to one of Mike Portnoy's favorite bands, Phish, who began covering entire albums from other artists each Halloween beginning in 1994.

Portnoy devised this "album cover" as the first in a series of gigs to be played as tributes to bands that had been influential in the formation and development of Dream Theater. The covers set divided many fans who attended the shows, with some people saying that they went to a Dream Theater concert to see original music and not another artist's work. Others, however, said that it was a bonus and not a replacement for a normal Dream Theater concert, since an ordinary gig had been played the night before. The next time an album cover gig was to occur this negativity was more subdued, since most fans knew what was to occur at the gig and were aware that they would not be seeing an entire night of Dream Theater material.

On the next leg of the tour they covered Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast and received a similar reaction to Master of Puppets, although it was already known that a cover was to be performed that night because the tour itinerary included two successive gigs in a single city.

On October 11th, 2005, Dream Theater covered Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, their third classic album cover. Dream Theater's official webpage stated that the second sets of the second nights in Amsterdam, London, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Tokyo (October 11th, October 25th, December 4th, December 11th and January 13th respectively), and also the second set of the January 15th show in Osaka, would be a classic album covered in its entirety. Dark Side of the Moon was played again on October 25th in London. However, in Buenos Aires (December 4th) and São Paulo (December 11th) the 'classic album' played was Dream Theater's own Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, to make up for not having visited Argentina and Brazil in their Metropolis 2000 tour.

On January 13th, 2006 (Tokyo) and on the 15th (Osaka), Dream Theater covered Deep Purple's live album Made in Japan, their fourth classic album cover.

Mike Portnoy says that he has one more cover show planned, but refuses to reveal when it will occur, or what album will be covered. There is much debate in Dream Theater fan circles about what album will be covered, and even what genre that album will fall under.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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