The close of the Dramatic Tour of Events left me with thinking of one word; Wow! My memory of it is multilayered: from receiving the invitation to audition through my gear preparation for the record, the recording, all kinds of venues, and the fans' hands in the air during the tour. My overall feeling about it stems from one thing: the fans' acceptance of me from show #1 in Rome through the last show in Brasilia.
I believe very strongly that the drummer audition documentary single-handedly communicated the entire band's true intentions that happen to perfectly match the fans' needs: for Dream Theater to continue to exist and to continue making music. Personally, I put everything on the table for all to see. Normally, I would not plan to be emotional in front of millions of people, but it was the truth. If I weren't writing this right now, I'd simply submit any picture of me behind the drums at any show and say "just look at my face and you'll know how I feel."
Performing the shows as proficiently as possible was hard work. The challenge of performing each show so the songs sounded like the recordings was evident in my inner dialog while playing. I talked to myself all night, every night with phrases like, "here comes the five thing, then the short verse" in order to remember my way through the songs. A DT show is a mental challenge far beyond what I could have imagined, but because the music feels natural to me and because the whole band would communicate onstage so much, it provided the greatest joy of my career.
Some different kinds of a challenges appeared. Managing a wrist injury meant I couldn't do extra signings or shake hands sometimes. Staying in touch with friends pretty much disappeared, but they all understood. Video calling technology was a huge help as it single-handedly allowed my family to not feel so far away.
One of the surprises of the tour was the use of the time signature tests done at the audition. Being around a group of musicians that could adapt so quickly as a unit meant that new ideas were pouring out of us at sound checks and during warm ups for shows. Seeing the guys work around a riff, drum beat or a sung melody with such direction was very satisfying and helpful to me.
Finally, I can't express my gratitude enough to any fan, anyone in the DT organization, any kind of fate, family and endorsement company support, friendships or anything that has to do with my ending up as the drummer in a band with four of the greatest human beings. One could not ever dream up working with better people on and off the stage. The entire DT organization is like this. I'm telling you this from first-hand experience after experience just continuing to be professional, pleasant and simply focused on our making more and more music that is interesting, melodic, and relentlessly "Dream Theater." The intentions of the band are so "good" that it is no wonder that music just pours out of us the second we can get to our instruments, or good times occur each time an opportunity to eat dinner together arises no matter how tired we all are.
- Mike Mangini