Mike Portnoy’s return to Dream Theater has resulted in numerous uncertainties, with two of the biggest being whether a sequel to 1999’s Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is possible and if the band will continue to play Mike Mangini-era material in concert. During a Q&A session at this year’s Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp “Metalmania III” event, the legendary drummer gave his thoughts on both topics while also discussing some general feelings about the reunion.

When asked by a fan if their upcoming 16th studio album will be a direct follow-up to the fan-favorite conceptual opus, Portnoy explained:

We haven't talked about it yet, but that would be the obvious thing. But, maybe because it's the obvious thing, we wouldn't do it. But you never know. . . . It definitely would be fun to do, but I think, uh – I don't know. We're gonna start from scratch and reconnect and just go into the studio and live together. After all – we're in a different phase of our lives, you know? When I left the band 13 years ago, we were all in our 40s. Now, we're all in our 50s and 60s. It's gonna be interesting to see how, you know, we kind of exist now in this new world. So, yeah, I'm just looking forward to being with the guys and making music together again.

The sequel to “Metropolis—Part I: "The Miracle and the Sleeper’” from 1992’s landmark Images & Words, Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory is commonly regarded as both Dream Theater’s greatest LP and one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time. Thus, a continuation of those musical and narrative themes would likely be met with a mixture of excitement and hesitation/skepticism regarding how it’ll compare to its predecessors.

Afterward, another audience member inquired about whether Dream Theater will keep playing songs they recorded with his replacement (Mangini) in concert. Humbly, Portnoy replied:

It's too soon to tell. I mean, when I left the band . . . I was the one writing the setlist and things like that. So, we haven't even discussed what the new dynamic is gonna be. So, I'm open to it, of course, so I surely would do it if that's what they wanna do. It's definitely gonna be a different dynamic.

I think when I left all those years ago, I was running a lot of stuff, and I think now they've gotten so used to working more as a collective band that I think it's a very different dynamic now that I'm gonna have to find my place in and without stepping on anybody's toes. I have to respect that they've been doing it all this time without me, so whatever they wanna do, I'm up for it. But, that being said, there is so much music of ours to come back and play that – personally, I look forward to revisiting all that stuff, but if they wanna do the newer stuff as well, whatever they want is fine with me.

READ MORE: Original Dream Theater Singer Charlie Dominici Dies at 72, Band Pays Tribute

Along the way, Portnoy also shared some general reflections on coming back to the group after over a decade:

Well, it's been 13 years now, and it's crazy how time flies. But, the last couple of years – I guess during the pandemic – I reconnected with [Dream Theater guitarist/co-founder] John Petrucci. Once we were in lockdown and all of my 87 bands couldn't tour, and Dream Theater couldn't tour, John Petrucci was doing a solo album [2020’s 'Terminal Velocity'] and he asked me to play on it. From there, we decided we wanted to do another LTE [Liquid Tension Experiment] album, which is with [Dream Theater keyboardist] Jordan Rudess. Shortly after that, John asked me to go on tour with him.

So, it just seems like, you know, we've been kind of reconnecting through the last few years. We have such a long history – almost 40 years now – together, and our families grew up together, our wives played in a band together [Meanstreak], and our kids grew up together. So, honestly, it just felt like it was the right thing and the right time

[Our kids] literally grew up all together . . . in the top bunks across from each other on the bus. My daughter and John's daughter have lived together in New York for the last four or five years. Yeah, there's so much family history beyond just the music that it just felt like the time was right to do it.

When Portnoy’s return was officially announced about a month ago, all five members – as well as Mangini – commented on the decision. Likewise, many fans were overjoyed at the news, and Mangini has since carried on by releasing his debut solo LP: Invisible Signs.

So, are you eagerly anticipating Metropolis Pt. 3 or would you rather Dream Theater leave that part of their legacy alone? How do you feel about Portnoy coming back to the band he co-founded? Let us know!

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