Iconic drummer and former member of DREAM THEATER, Mike Portnoy performed the band’s “12 Step Suite” in its entirety for the first time ever on the Cruise To The Edge, which sailed out of Tampa, Florida on February 7. The music documents the musician’s battle with alcoholism, and is an ensemble of five songs recorded by DREAM THEATER from 2002 to 2009, with titles that reflect his struggles: “The Glass Prison”, “This Dying Soul”, “The Root Of All Evil”, “Repentance” and “The Shattered Fortress”.
Video footage of the pre-show acoustic rehearsal can be seen below.
The February 10 concert, which was staged under the MIKE PORTNOY’S SHATTERED FORTRESS banner, featured the following setlist:
First set: LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT material
Drums: Mike Portnoy
Bass, chapman stick: Tony Levin
Keyboards: Diego Tejeida
Guitar: Eric Gillette
02. Acid Rain
03. Universal Mind
Second set: “12 Step Suite”
Drums: Mike Portnoy
Bass: Conner Green
Keys: Diego Tejeida
Guitars: Richard Henshall, Charlie Griffiths, Eric Gillette
Lead vocals on “The Glass Prison”: Ross Jennings
Lead vocals on “This Dying Soul”: Daniel Gildenlöw
Lead vocals on “The Root Of All Evil”: Ted Leonard
Lead vocals on “Repentence”: Mike Portnoy
Lead vocals on “The Shattered Fortress”: Ross Jennings
Backing vocals: all of the above vocalists, plus Eric Gillette and Charlie Griffiths
Portnoy, who also celebrated his 50th birthday on Cruise To The Edge, said that it was always part of his master plan to perform “12 Step Suite” in its entirety live on stage with DREAM THEATER. However, his 2010 exit from the band made that impossible, until now.
“I would love nothing more than to perform it with [DREAM THEATER],” he told The National Student. “But they’ve made it clear that they have no intention in reuniting at any point. So, life is short; this is going to be my 50th birthday and it just felt like the right time and place to finally play this music.”
He continued: “I wrote all five of these songs with the intention of them being performed from start to finish, and I would have loved nothing more than to be doing it with DREAM THEATER. But it’s obviously not on the cards for them. I can’t sit around waiting for a reunion that may not happen.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than thirty years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI). Portnoy later revealed that he tried to rejoin DREAM THEATER, only to be rebuffed.