Dear Mr. Mangini,
Dream Theater has been providing the sound track for my life for over two decades now and I want to thank you for stepping in to continue that sound track. You must understand that I have listened to every chord, note, beat, pause, lyric, and harmonic of the entire body of work from this band for years, without tiring of it. I don't just know the music, it has become a part of me, echoing in my head when there are no speakers to amplify the music.
When I read that Mr. Portnoy was leaving the band I was shattered. The music stopped, and I like many of the fans from which I have read posts from, felt the same. I felt lost and afraid of the unknown future for this part of my life that I enjoy so much. But you stepped in, masterfully, to provide the continuation of the music that has shaped so much of my life. I cannot tell you the absolute relief I felt when I listen to your words saying "This is not just a gig to me", because it is not just a band to me.
I implore you to bring all of your creative spirit to pour in to the music. Let us know you for the music you bring to us from within. But please more than anything else I can say here, let me personally welcome you to the family, that is this band and the fans.
Great job on "A Dramatic Turn of Events" and see you in Chicago very soon.