MIKE PORTNOY Attends DREAM THEATER Concert In New York City, Gets Shoutout From JAMES LABRIE
March 5, 2022
Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy attended the group's concert last night (Friday, March 4) at Beacon Theatre in New York City. It was the first time Portnoy witnessed his former bandmates perform live since his exit from the iconic progressive metal outfit more than 11 years ago.
According to DREAM THEATER fans who attended last night's show, singer James LaBrie gave Portnoy a shoutout from the stage and Mike waved. Several fans also took pictures of Portnoy at the venue, with Mike and his wife reportedly watching the performance from near the Beacon Theatre soundboard.
Earlier today, Portnoy shared a few backstage photos from last night's concert and he included the following message: "After 36 years, I finally got to see my 1st DREAM THEATER show last night! It was a wonderful evening and it was such a pleasure to spend time with my old friends again".
Current DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Mangini shared a backstage picture of him with Portnoy and he wrote: "What a great moment. And as usual, we had fun catching up."
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER 37 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, STEVE VAI).
Portnoy was a guest on DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci's second solo album, "Terminal Velocity", which was released in August 2020 via Sound Mind Music/The Orchard. The effort marked the first time Petrucci and Portnoy recorded together in over a decade, as well as their first time playing together since Portnoy departed DREAM THEATER. John later shot down speculation among DREAM THEATER fans that it's only a matter of time before Portnoy returns to the band, telling Spain's Metal Hammer: "I think it's really important for everybody's sake — for fans to understand this. I think it's important, out of respect for both drummers — for Mike Mangini and Mike Portnoy — that there's no misconstrued thing: 'Oh, this means something else.' This is [Portnoy] playing on my solo album, which is a really happy moment for me… I don't want people to get the wrong idea. I don't wanna create any drama or weirdness, because it's all positive. I made a solo album — finally, after 15 years — and I got my friend to play drums on it, who I haven't played with in 10 years. So that's the vibe."
In a 2017 interview with Rockhok, Portnoy insisted that had "no longing to reunite" with DREAM THEATER but said that he would return to his former band "for the fans." He explained: "The ball's in their court, to be honest. I have no longing to reunite with them; it's not something I necessarily am looking to do or want to do. I'm very content with all the eighty-seven bands I currently have going, so it's something I need. But I would do it for the fans, because I'm a very sentimental person and I have a lot of great, fond memories of those guys and the times. I'm a sentimental guy, so I would never close the door on it. So, really, the ball's in their court, honestly. [But] if you're asking me the odds [of a reunion happening], I would say, don't bet on it, because I know their personalities as well and I don't think they're the type that are looking backwards."
A couple of years ago, Portnoy 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."
Since the 2010 departure of Portnoy, Petrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for DREAM THEATER, including 2016's controversial double concept album, "The Astonishing", 2019's "Distance Over Time" and the band's latest LP, 2021's "A View From The Top Of The World".
LaBrie discussed his relationship with Portnoy in a November 2021 interview with Radio Forrest. He said at the time: "I haven't spoken to Mike, to be quite honest, since he left the band. So I think that pretty much says it all."
LaBrie had previously seemingly closed the door on the possibility of a DREAM THEATER reunion with Portnoy, telling Chile's Radio Futuro in an August 2013 interview: "That possibility, I don't see it ever happening; it's not gonna happen. Because, first and foremost, Mike Mangini is a full-fledged member of the band now, he's a phenomenal drummer and he's doing everything that we could possibly want as a drummer in a band. He's helping us realize exactly what we wanna do right now musically. And he will be our drummer until the day that we finish doing this, when we conclude. Mike Portnoy was a big part of our past, but I think that's where it's going to remain. He was a drummer from the past. And as far as presently and into the future, it will be Mike Mangini, and we all feel very strongly about that. He's an incredible drummer, he's an incredible asset to the band, and he is fulfilling our wildest dreams as far as what we're doing musically and what we're doing with each album. So that's the way it stands."
After 36 years, I finally got to see my 1st Dream Theater show last night! 🤣 It was a wonderful evening and it was such a pleasure to spend time with my old friends again ☮️🙏
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