As headliner for ProgPower USA XVIII, on Friday, September 8, 2017, the event announced Mike Portnoy will play live, for the first time, his famous twelve-step suite. See the video announcement below.
What has been known in the community as The Twelve-Step Suite is apparently now officially titled The Shattered Fortress, or Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress. Treating about Mike‘s alcoholism rehabilitation process, this album-encompassing epic – consisting of twelve parts divided into five songs – first began on Dream Theater’s 2002 album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence with “The Glass Prison”. This song had a strong impact on the band and their fans, as it was the heaviest song they made, at the time, and urged them to write Train of Thought, where “heavy” would be the centre of attention. Even if The Glass Prison is the first part of the suite, there’s also “Lie” and “The Mirror”, which appear on Dream Theater’s 1994 Awake album, that are considered precursors to the Twelve-Step Suite, as they treat of Mike‘s alcoholism problem at the time, but are not part of it.
The four next albums each bore a part of the suite: Train of Thought‘s “This Dying Soul”, Octavarium‘s “The Root of All Evil”, Systematic Chaos‘ “Repentance”, and Black Clouds & Silver Linings‘ “The Shattered Fortress”. Culminating at almost 60 minutes in length, the five songs have never been played live back to back, even if they each have been played live separately. This ought to change, as Mike Portnoy and ProgPower USA XVIII have announced the whole song will be played live next year. This will be without the help of Dream Theater, apparently, as Mike only vaguely referred to “great friends, great musicians”. Only time will tell who will join Mike Portnoy on the stage, but, without mentioning names, there are some obvious guesses to be made by looking at his circle of musicians and friends…
Let’s hope they film that performance!
PS: On a side note, it was pretty funny and awful at the same time to see the totally wrong video synchronization of him playing drums to the background song. It was painful!