Dream Theater Keyboardist Shares Honest Opinion on Mike Portnoy Attending Band’s Show, Reveals How They Reacted to It

It’s been a long time now since Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater. Nonetheless, some of the band’s fanbase still mourns his departure from the lineup. There have been some obvious strained relationships between Theater members and Portnoy. But that all changed when Mike Portnoy decided to visit a Dream Theater show. He even had some nice things to say about Mike Mangini, his replacement in DT.

In a recent interview with Sea of Tranquility, Dream Theater’s keyboard player and bearded wizard Jordan Rudess spoke up on the matter, explaining what it was like to have Portnoy, a founding member of the band, watching them live from the audience. Jordan offered (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“Well, Mike and I have been friends [in the years since his departure]. Nothing really interrupted that. There was definitely a rough period, but that’s obvious. It was great. It was brave of him. I’m sure it took some — I don’t know what the word is — some courage, or whatever, to put himself in that position, ’cause it’s a little awkward, especially ’cause there were some different guys with different situations going on, different relationships.

“So he was, like, ‘I’m going,’ and I think it’s awesome that he did that. And it meant a lot — it meant a lot to everybody. It meant a lot to all of us, and it also managed to smooth out some of the relationships, as everybody knows; you see everything online. But it was great to see him. And I’m so glad he came. And it must be cool to go see a Dream Theater show. [Laughs]”

Of course, things weren’t that awkward for Rudess and John Petrucci since they’re collaborating with Portnoy in Liquid Tension Experiment. The prog supergroup, also featuring Tony Levin, released their third album in 2021.


Dream Theater are currently touring Europe in support of their latest album “A View from the Top of the World.” Released in October 2021, it eventually brought the band their first Grammy Award after three nominations. The band won in the Best Metal Performance category for “The Alien” off of the record.

Dream Theater - The Alien (Official Video)

Photo: Kuba Bożanowski (Jordan Rudess (2952798883)), Factor Metal (MIKE PORTNOY @ Teatro ABC (37990299841))

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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