• FAQ home
    • » Dream Theater - Performing Live

Dream Theater - Performing Live

  1. Did Mike or Dream Theater ever play at _______? Did Dream Theater ever completely perform A Change of Seasons, etc. live? faq id: 54
  2. Are the covers that Dream Theater has played live done spontaneously or is it planned? faq id: 55
  3. Will Dream Theater consider having [insert favorite band here] open up for them on their next tour? faq id: 56
  4. Will 'Nightmare Cinema' ever perform again? faq id: 57
  5. Who determines who will open for Dream Theater on tour? Does Dream Theater pick the opening acts or are they “political” moves by the record labels? faq id: 58
  6. Who has opened for Dream Theater in the past? faq id: 59
  7. Where are the rest of the audience photos (from the first US leg of the M2000 tour)? faq id: 60
  8. Who can I contact if I want to set up a Dream Theater gig? faq id: 61
  9. What's strange or unique on your Tour Rider? faq id: 62
  10. Who puts together the music that is played over the PA before and after a Dream Theater show? faq id: 63
  11. Who has joined Dream Theater on stage in the past and songs did they perform? faq id: 64
  12. What are some of the things that Mike misses while touring overseas? faq id: 65
  13. Who were some of the guests invited to the Dream Theater’s special gigs (1/31/95, 6/22/98, 6/25/98, 8/30/00) that were not able to make it? What are some of the songs that were planned for those shows that were not performed? faq id: 67
  14. Any thoughts to doing another ‘Uncovered’ type show where Dream Theater just does select covers from different bands like they did back in ‘95? faq id: 281
  15. What’s the story with the second show being played in a specific city (where DT plays multiple nights in the same city, on the same leg of the tour)? faq id: 300
  16. Will Dream Theater ever cover the entire Master of Puppets album again? faq id: 301
  17. What are all the aspects involved in covering an entire album by another band? What does Mike take into consideration when picking an album? faq id: 302
  18. With doing covers live, why does Dream Theater pretty much do straight-ahead covers and not inject more of their own style? faq id: 303
  19. Any chance of bringing Pain of Salvation to the US on a future tour? faq id: 336
  20. How did Dream Theater end up touring with Queensryche, if Mike has something against them – is it for the money? faq id: 360
  21. Would Dream Theater ever consider touring with Chromakey or Planet X? faq id: 361
  22. How closely does Dream Theater try to reproduce live, what was done in the studio?
    Why doesn’t Dream Theater improvise more?
    faq id: 362
  23. Does Mike prefer playing longer shows or shorter shows? faq id: 363
  24. On tour, who was the worst band Dream Theater ever had to deal with? What happened? faq id: 364
  25. Since Mike always seems to come out during the opening band’s set, what has he done with the various bands? faq id: 365
  26. How did Mike end up writing all the setlists?
    How did Mike end up handling a lot of DT’s decision making?
    faq id: 366
  27. How does Mike determine what songs will be in a setlist? faq id: 367
  28. Does Mike like to play old songs or does he prefer to play more new songs? faq id: 368
  29. How do the rest of the band feel about playing songs from the Majesty era and When Dream and Day Unite? faq id: 369
  30. Why does Dream Theater decide to sometimes open for other bands or co-headline shows since they’ve already established themselves? faq id: 370
  31. Why doesn’t Mike do a drum solo at concerts anymore? faq id: 371
  32. How much rehearsing does Dream Theater do before going on tour? faq id: 372
  33. Where did the audience participation bit during Mike’s drum solo (on Touring Into Infinity, as seen on Mike’s Liquid Drum Theater video) originate from – was it spontaneous or planned all along? faq id: 373
  34. Why didn't James ever play drums with Nightmare Cinema since he says he played drums when he was younger? Does Mike have a problem with him (or anyone else) playing his drums? faq id: 374

Questions and Answers

  1. Did Mike or Dream Theater ever play at _______? Did Dream Theater ever completely perform A Change of Seasons, etc. live? faq id: 54
    Click Here for a Tourography to find out where he/they have performed. And yes, A Change of Seasons has been played in full all over the world.

  2. Are the covers that Dream Theater has played live done spontaneously or is it planned? faq id: 55
    MP: 95% of the time it is spontaneous, random and usually sparked by me. After a doing a spontaneous one several times (like Whole Lotta Love at the end of Learning To Live) the guys are on their toes and we start to incorporate it randomly when I feel like it. We had a fun thing on the Falling Into Infinity [tour] for a while...at one break point in Metropolis every night, one of us would start a cover riff and the others would be expected to jump in and play along. There were some very interesting ones! (from Rush to Nirvana - alot of times with me singing!)

  3. Will Dream Theater consider having [insert favorite band here] open up for them on their next tour? faq id: 56
    MP: Please don’t begin a million threads of “How about ____ as an opening act” as there are ALOT of variables involved in such decisions and ultimately we begin with asking bands that I like and I have a good list handy already, so you won’t likely suggest anything I haven’t thought of already!

  4. Will 'Nightmare Cinema' ever perform again? faq id: 57
    MP: Not likely, as Nightmare Cinema was something very much part of “the Derek era.”

  5. Who determines who will open for Dream Theater on tour? Does Dream Theater pick the opening acts or are they “political” moves by the record labels? faq id: 58
    MP: In the early days, before we “carried” an opening band - the club owners would just put local bands on the bill (we had nothing to do with them). From 1993 on, we decided what opening bands we would carry on tour with us (the Galactic Cowboys was the first time we did that). Although it obviously something I discuss with the other band members, management and our booking agent – usually it happens to be *me* who ultimately picks our opening acts. There were only 3 cases where we were kinda *forced* into carrying a particular opening act by our management or agents at the time: (every once in a while there are politics that are unavoidable!) Big Wreck, Full On The Mouth & Star People (all of whom were nice guys, but were not *my* picks)

  6. Who has opened for Dream Theater in the past? faq id: 59
    MP : Galactic Cowboys, Damn the Machine, I Mother Earth, Fates Warning, Echolyn, Rudess/Morgenstein, Einstein, Vanden Plas, Enchant, Threshold, Big Wreck, Full On The Mouth, Tiles, The Dixie Dregs, Star People, Spock’s Beard, Watchtower, Porcupine, Pain of Salvation, King’s X. We also have co-headlined with Joe Satriani and will be co-headlining with Queensryche this summer.

  7. Where are the rest of the audience photos (from the first US leg of the M2000 tour)? faq id: 60
    MP: It wasn't until the European leg in March that I had the idea of consistantly doing that every night. I did it a select few times on the US tour (House Of Blues, Roseland), but I never included them with the other audience shots because they were kind of “one-offs.” If I stumble across 'em, I'll have Dave post them for you! Many audience pics can be found in the MULTIMEDIA section.

  8. Who can I contact if I want to set up a Dream Theater gig? faq id: 61
    MP: Our agents are: Steve Martin at The Agency Group in New York City (for U.S.) Derek Kemp at The Agency Group in London (for outside of U.S.)

  9. What's strange or unique on your Tour Rider? faq id: 62
    MP: Our tour rider is pretty normal for any touring progressive metal act: 2 cases of assorted soft drinks 2 cases of bottled water 3 dozen powder white towels 2 tubes of Preparation H 1 gallon of imported monkey semen an assorted fruit and vegetable tray a pair of Pamela Anderson’s underwear (preferably soiled) a pair of Carmen Elektra’s underwear (preferably soiled) a pair of Fabio’s underwear (preferably soiled - our lighting tech has a strange fetish) One dozen goldfish in a fishtank filled with Mr. Pibb One dozen piranhas in a fishtank filled with Dr. Pepper One blindfold One fishing rod An assortment of various cookies An assortment of various chocolates A midget albino clown who speaks fluent Greek 2 Garbage Cans and internet access so the drummer can go online to deal with the many VERY important issues piling up on his website. Seriously, I actually do always request an oxygen mask when we play in Denver because of the elevation.

  10. Who puts together the music that is played over the PA before and after a Dream Theater show? faq id: 63
    MP: I always make the tapes of all the house music you hear before, during and after a Dream Theater show.

  11. Who has joined Dream Theater on stage in the past and songs did they perform? faq id: 64
    MP: 1. Ronnie Scotts guests 1/31/95 [Barney Greenway (Napalm Death) on Damage, Inc.; Steve Hogarth (Marillion) on Happiness is a Warm Gun and with Steve Rothery (Marillion) on Easter; Steve Howe (Yes) on an instrumental medley of Yes tracks) 2. Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden) in Salzburg, Austria 7/1/95 (Killers) 3. Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) in Ft.Lauderdale, FL 12/19/97 (drum duet), and in Pompano Beach, FL 8/22/02 (joining JP and JM for their “soccer match” during the Instrumedley) 4. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) in Los Angeles, CA 5/18/98 (Perfect Strangers, The Trooper, misc. Maiden excerpts) 5. Ray Alder (Fates Warning) same show in Los Angeles, CA 5/18/98 (Pull Me Under) 6. Spock’s Beard in Los Angeles, CA 8/21/00 (singing background vocals on The Spirit Carries On) 7. Galactic Cowboys most shows during May ‘93 (singing background vocals on Take The Time) 8. Ted & Paul (Enchant) in Bonn, Germany April ‘97 (Caught in a Web) 9. Jordan Rudess (pre-DT) several shows at the end June ‘98 (Paradigm Shift excerpt during guitar solo) 10. Rod Morgenstein several shows at the end of June ‘98 (drum duet) 11. Chris Jericho (WWF wrestler) in Toronto 3/20/02 (Pull Me Under) 12. Mike Mangini (ex-Extreme, ex-Steve Vai, Tribe of Judah) in Boston 3/22/02 (for a drum duet during the Rush jam outro following Take the Time) 13. Doug Pinnick (King’s X) all Aug and Sept 02 shows with Lines in the Sand in the setlist (reprising his “echo” vocals) 14. Galactic Cowboys in Houston, TX 8/18/02 (singing background vocals on Take the Time) 15. Joe Satriani in New York, NY 9/14/02 (for Take the Time and the Rush jam outro) there’s also several non-celebrities such as: 1. the Steve Stone set on 6/9/90 2. War Pigs in Glasgow, Scotland 10/18/00 (guy from audience) 3. War Pigs in Lubbock, TX 5/22/98 (drum tech Magee) 4. The Zoo in Germany 10/13/00 Trier, Germany (bass tech Michael Berger)

  12. What are some of the things that Mike misses while touring overseas? faq id: 65
    MP: Taco Bell is high on the list, home cooked meals, 24 Hour convenient stores/truck stops, American TV, Howard Stern, computer cable modems, Tower Records/shopping for Region 1 DVD's, and of course, most of all...my home! (Marlene, Melody, Max, Bongo & Stinky)

  13. Who were some of the guests invited to the Dream Theater’s special gigs (1/31/95, 6/22/98, 6/25/98, 8/30/00) that were not able to make it? What are some of the songs that were planned for those shows that were not performed? faq id: 67
    MP:These are the only ones that we rehearsed and ready, only to change at the last minute: 1/31/95 1. Bloodstone (Judas Priest) almost guested: Glen Tipton 2. Phantom of the Opera (Iron Maiden) almost guested: Ray Alder & Jim Matheos 3. Child in Time (Deep Purple) – played Perfect Strangers instead 4. In The Flesh (Pink Floyd) almost guested: Fish – played anyway without him 6/22/98 Fish would have been the only guest [to sing “Sugar Mice”]...although I did invite Kevin Moore, but that was not something that was in the works, it was merely an invitation should he decide to take it. In both cases [1/31/95 and 6/22/98], Fish was all set to join us and had to back out at the last minute because of other obligations. 6/25/98 No guests were ever planned... 8/30/00 No guests were planned at this show either, although Kevin Moore was again invited to join the band on stage – this time to play Space-Dye Vest and a 6-piece version of Learning to Live (with both Kevin and Jordan on keys) but unfortunately Kevin passed on the opportunity again.

  14. Any thoughts to doing another ‘Uncovered’ type show where Dream Theater just does select covers from different bands like they did back in ‘95? faq id: 281
    MP: No, I think the tradition of performing complete albums on the second of two-night stands will fulfill our interest paying tribute to different artists.

  15. What’s the story with the second show being played in a specific city (where DT plays multiple nights in the same city, on the same leg of the tour)? faq id: 300
    Answer: In cities where the band plays consecutive multiple shows, they are covering another band’s album in it’s entirety. So far, they have covered Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast”.

  16. Will Dream Theater ever cover the entire Master of Puppets album again? faq id: 301
    Answer: Not likely as Mike has said in the past that it’s a “been there, done that”

  17. What are all the aspects involved in covering an entire album by another band? What does Mike take into consideration when picking an album? faq id: 302
    MP: As you might know, I have the first five covers picked out already. I can’t say that all five of us are fans of all five albums. I don’t know if there are any albums out there that all five of us love. There might be some, but in the case of Master of Puppets, Jordan never had even heard that album. So there’s going to be some cases where not all five members are going to be influenced by a particular album, but the five that I’ve picked out already are definitely ones that have been a part of the band’s history. And I’m picking out albums and bands that really have to do with the formation of Dream Theater’s sound and style. Also, when choosing the albums, some of these ones that we will be doing in the future aren’t necessarily even my favorite albums by these bands. For instance, I would have preferred to do Iron Maiden’s “Piece of Mind” album, but I think it might have been a little bit too obscure for an entire audience to relate to. So, we may be going with a little more commercially known album by a band that was a big influence - in this case, Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast”.

  18. With doing covers live, why does Dream Theater pretty much do straight-ahead covers and not inject more of their own style? faq id: 303
    MP: I think it’s mainly time restraints for rehearsal purposes. It’s hard enough for us to rehearse these albums ‘straight.’ With Master of Puppets, we had to rehearse every night at soundcheck, and every day or every couple of days we would tackle a new song. We’d have to turn off the PA so that nobody outside could hear what we were doing. We’d have to practice just through our inner-ear monitors. It’s hard enough for every one to learn the songs as they are, so it’s hard when you’re on the road and have limited soundcheck time to really mess with the stuff too much. But in the case of Master of Puppets, we had to reinterpret the orchestration. We had to figure out who was going to play what guitar part and Jordan had to completely re-approach his instrument. I think no matter what we do, it’s going to sound a bit more like Dream Theater, there’s going to be keyboards, and James is going to sing differently. We did however rework our version of Maiden’s Gangland, so it’s never out of the question to try something different on occasion.

  19. Any chance of bringing Pain of Salvation to the US on a future tour? faq id: 336
    MP: I would love to bring PoS to the States but it is unlikely because PoS doesn’t have label support here in the US like they do in Europe in order to help them out financially. But I really love those guys, so hopefully they’ll make it here on their own...

  20. How did Dream Theater end up touring with Queensryche, if Mike has something against them – is it for the money? faq id: 360
    MP: Money has NOTHING to do with it. It is ALL about wanting to give the fans the best bill possible, and I know this is a line-up many of us (including me) have wanted to see for years. As far as any things said in the past about QR, I’ve learned in recovery that in order to continue growing up, I cannot afford to hold onto resentments. (Magna Carta may take a bit longer!)

  21. Would Dream Theater ever consider touring with Chromakey or Planet X? faq id: 361
    MP: Uh, I don’t think so. First of all, I don’t think Chroma Key will ever tour. And if they do, I don’t think Kevin (Moore) would ever want to tour with us. That’s just the way he is. I know that he’s trying to disassociate himself from us and the whole progressive metal world. So, I think that’s out of the question. As far as Planet X goes…you know Derek has even said to me that he would be willing to do it. but, I think it’s just a little awkward, maybe, on behalf of the other guys. I get along well with Derek, but I know there’s got to be some resentment after what happened in the past few years. So, I don’t think it’s a reality. I don’t think I would personally mind it, but there’s lots of people and lots of feelings involved.

  22. How closely does Dream Theater try to reproduce live, what was done in the studio?
    Why doesn’t Dream Theater improvise more?
    faq id: 362

    MP: Sonically, it’s very important to reproduce it as closely as possible. However, compositionally, I prefer to stray as much as possible. One of the great things about a live performance is to see a band improvise — it’s kind of pointless to hear a band play exactly what’s on the record. I’ve always appreciated bands like Led Zeppelin or Phish that are spontaneous onstage, and I try to incorporate that into our setlist as much as possible. At the same time, our music is very orchestrated and deliberate, so it’s hard to stray from that too much — we’re not a jam band like Phish, and there are moments when we really have to follow a structure. But segues and medleys are good opportunities for as many changes as possible.

  23. Does Mike prefer playing longer shows or shorter shows? faq id: 363
    MP: Physically I enjoy the shorter set. It’s less demanding, but artistically it’s far less satisfying for me. I do enjoy the three-hour shows because I know we’re delivering a satisfying set, sometimes to the point of overkill. But sometimes with these 80-minute sets, we get offstage and say, ‘We were just starting to tap into an energy and it’s all done with.’ When we play the three-hour shows, it’s draining. People have asked me, ‘Why do you torture yourself like this?’ The answer is, and I know it sounds really cliché, but it’s for the fans. Every time we play, we want them to walk away and say ‘That was the greatest show they could have given us.’

  24. On tour, who was the worst band Dream Theater ever had to deal with? What happened? faq id: 364
    MP: The first incident that comes to mind is from back in 1992, when we were just starting to tour and Pull Me Under was just starting to break...We were scheduled to play a show in San Francisco with Saigon Kick who also were getting some radio play at the time... Inevitably, there was the ego battle (mainly between our tour managers) about who was the headliner and who was the opener, who went on first, who soundchecked, etc. etc. Well after much bitching and moaning it was decided that we would "co-headline"...both bands would cut down their sets to an equal 75 minutes each, both bands would get soundchecks, and we agreed to go on first... We played our shortened set to a packed house and as soon as we finished, the entire audience left - leaving about 40 people in the audience!! Saigon Kick was so embarrassed they packed up and split without even playing a single note!

  25. Since Mike always seems to come out during the opening band’s set, what has he done with the various bands? faq id: 365
    MP: I used to go out with the Galactic Cowboys every night and I would jump around, mosh and sing to their song Pump Up the Space Suit. When Fates Warning was out with us, I used to hand Jim Matheos his acoustic guitar for Monument, and then with I Mother Earth, I used to go out and do a percussion solo during Rain Will Fall. Being that I’m friends with the guys in Spock’s Beard, when they would do June, I’d come out with a KISS mask on and play drums – I can’t remember how exactly it came about. I think it was mainly because Nick was out front singing.

  26. How did Mike end up writing all the setlists?
    How did Mike end up handling a lot of DT’s decision making?
    faq id: 366

    MP: Well, earlier on it used to be a battle and then through the years, I think everybody has just sort of left it in my lap. The way things in DT work is that whoever can fight the longest wins, and usually I win – I have the most tolerance to battle it out and beat the other guys down until they finally give in! Years back, we used to have a lot of battles, and now the guys have gotten very easy about it – they just let me completely choose, organize and arrange the setlists. It’s funny since there’s a good thousand DT fans out there – the collectors – that easily have more DT CDs than the other four members! I collect it all, but the other guys don’t really care – I mean they’ll collect a little here and there. But if you were to ask them what was the B-side of Hollow Years, I don’t think any of those four guys would be able to tell you! Basically, I choose all of those things and I do all of those sort of decisions, and they just trust me, knowing that I pay attention to that sort of thing.

  27. How does Mike determine what songs will be in a setlist? faq id: 367
    MP: For me, writing the perfect setlist is like solving a crossword puzzle or a jigsaw puzzle. I spend many many hours going through the various setlists, trying to balance each of the albums, trying to give different audiences things that maybe they haven’t heard like, especially when going through an area for the second time on the same tour. So every time we get into a town, I have to look back at the setlist for what we did the previous time, determine all the songs we didn’t play last time through and then create a setlist from those songs. I try to make sure that we’re offering a completely different setlist to the repeat visitors, because a lot of our fans like to go to multiple shows. At the same time, still balancing it enough that it will be something that will be satisfying for somebody that is seeing us for the first time. But every night is a completely different setlist and usually there is a method behind the madness of why certain songs are played on certain nights. [Note: that on older tours, there wasn’t as much of a variety of songs. Still to a lesser degree, Mike still used this same method]

  28. Does Mike like to play old songs or does he prefer to play more new songs? faq id: 368
    MP: I like playing the old stuff when they are more obscure. I’m sick to death when I’m playing Pull Me Under and Metropolis. I’m bored silly playing those songs, but I like playing any song that we hadn’t played for a while, whether it be an old one or a new one. So something like Anna Lee is fun because we don’t play it very often and I love to play The Killing Hand for the same reason. To me it’s all part of the band’s history, so whether it’s new or old I think it’s all relevant and I understand the fans like to hear the old songs.

  29. How do the rest of the band feel about playing songs from the Majesty era and When Dream and Day Unite? faq id: 369
    MP: Unfortunately, some guys really prefer playing newer stuff – they don’t like playing the older stuff. When it comes to the first album, John and John both are kind of bored with that – they want to move forward. And of course James and Jordan would have no reason to want to play those songs because they don’t feel very involved with it.

  30. Why does Dream Theater decide to sometimes open for other bands or co-headline shows since they’ve already established themselves? faq id: 370
    MP: We’ve been headlining and playing to our audience for quite a few years now. The reason we want to open for other bands is to play to some new people who don’t know who we are.

  31. Why doesn’t Mike do a drum solo at concerts anymore? faq id: 371
    Answer: Mike doesn’t do solos any more because he would rather use the time he has on stage to play with the entire band.

  32. How much rehearsing does Dream Theater do before going on tour? faq id: 372
    MP: Well, it’s a touchy subject, but under most conditions, I absolutely hate rehearsing because to me, there’s nothing more boring in the world than just sitting there in a room playing Metropolis ten times to the walls. In the past we tried to get away with as little rehearsal as possible, and get it done during sound checks and stuff. But usually I’ll e-mail everybody the setlists or song choices ahead of time, and everybody will get them together on their own and then usually there’s one rehearsal before leaving, or an extended rehearsal at the first gig or two! Beginning with the M2000 tour, we had to a lot more time for rehearsing – at least the whatever was the new album at the time – since we’ve never performed it from top to bottom. When we wrote Scenes and Six Degrees in the studio, we wrote bits and pieces, and did it as we went along, so before their respective tours, they were never performed in their entirety as a band.

  33. Where did the audience participation bit during Mike’s drum solo (on Touring Into Infinity, as seen on Mike’s Liquid Drum Theater video) originate from – was it spontaneous or planned all along? faq id: 373
    MP: It was completely spontaneous. In January 1998, we were in Nagoya and I was pissed off because the drums were set so far back on the stage – the stage was SO big – that I felt detached from the audience. So I said to Magee (drum tech on that tour) in between songs to find something for me to take out front, and if it wasn’t a drum, I said get me a box or a . So when it came time for my solo, Magee handed me this drum case and a pair of sticks and I went out front just to have some interaction with the people. It was such a good vibe and such a fun thing that it ended up sticking for the rest of the tour.

  34. Why didn't James ever play drums with Nightmare Cinema since he says he played drums when he was younger? Does Mike have a problem with him (or anyone else) playing his drums? faq id: 374
    MP: Contrary to whatever you may have heard, James does not play any instruments. Him claiming to have played drums when he was a kid is probably equivilent to when I took piano lessons between the age of 8-10....(but I don't consider myself a pianist!) In his 12 years of being in the band, he has never once sat behind my drums and played (other than hitting a cymbal on the downbeats of Take The Time live!), so I would take his abilities as a "drummer" with a heavy grain of salt! As it is, I loved doing Nightmare Cinema when JP played my kit, or anytime else anybody has jumped up and played my kit or shared the kit with me. And also why would I have been urging James onto using percussion live, when that's always been "my" department on the CD's???