Jordan Rudess says that it was "very exciting" to perform with his former DREAM THEATER bandmate Mike Portnoy on a progressive rock cruise more than a year ago.
In February 2019, Rudess and Portnoy reunited on stage for the first time in almost nine years during the Cruise To The Edge to perform "Instrumedley" from DREAM THEATER / LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. They were joined by NEAL MORSE BAND guitarist Eric Gillette and HAKEN bassist Conner Green.
Rudess spoke about his onstage reunion with Portnoy while filming a video message on Cameo, which lets users hire celebrities to record brief, personalized video messages about virtually any topic.
Asked what it was like jamming with Mike on "Instrumedley", Jordan said (see video below): "It was very exciting, actually, to get back together again and play. It was a lot of preparation, but all the vibes were really good. We had a good time, and the preparation was cool, because it was interesting to go back and learn that piece again; it's a hard piece, that's for sure. But the only challenge of it is when I got to the boat, it was difficult to do a proper soundcheck; that part was hard. But we had a great time and the audience loved it. It was really, really fun."
"Instrumedley" contains excerpts of DREAM THEATER's "The Dance Of Eternity", "Metropolis", "Erotomania", "A Change Of Seasons", "Ytse Jam", "Hells Kitchen" and LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT's "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind". LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT is the instrumental progressive rock/metal project featuring Rudess, Portnoy and DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci alongside progressive rock icon Tony Levin (bass) of KING CRIMSON and PETER GABRIEL fame.
In February 2019, Rudess discussed his Cruise To The Edge encounter with Portnoy during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation", which is hosted by Eddie Trunk. The keyboardist said: "I think it's really nice. People whose music you love, you wanna see them getting along. So, even from my perspective, I see John and Mike together, and I'm, like, yeah, that makes sense. They were so close. They made so much music together."
He continued: "I told Mike the other night. I said, 'The way I look at our relationship is that we've toured around the world together numerous times, we've written all this music together, we've been on tour buses everywhere. How many people in this lifetime that we're in can you be that close to and have that many experiences with?"
Although Portnoy and his former bandmates in DREAM THEATER engaged in a public war of words following his exit from the group, Rudess said that he harbors no resentment toward his longtime friend.
"When Portnoy left the band, there was tension — natural tension — because it was a big deal," Jordan told "Trunk Nation". "But what's really important to me is finding that… especially somebody who I care about, who I had so much life experience with. And he's a really great guy. There are so many wonderful things about him. So I wanna enjoy that.
"People will say, 'Oh my God! DREAM THEATER is gonna have Portnoy back in the band.' That's not what it's about," Rudess added. "This is about people and people who spent a lot of time together being able to be close together and be friends."
Rudess acknowledged that some of his other DREAM THEATER bandmates have "their own feelings" about maintaining a connection with their former drummer. "But Mike and I enjoyed hanging out and chatting about old times and all the stuff," he said. "So it was really cool."
In November 2017, Mike told Loud that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to expand his musical horizons. "[I didn't] want to go to my grave and just be the drummer from DREAM THEATER," he said. "I knew there was way more to what I had to offer."
Last month, Rudess said that "it looks very good" that LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT will regroup in the not-too-distant future.
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT has not performed live since 2008, when it embarked on a brief tour commemorating the tenth anniversary of its self-titled debut.