Progressive rock titans DREAM THEATER -- James LaBrie (vocals), John Myung (bass), John Petrucci (guitar, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, vocals) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards, Continuum) -- continue their global assault with a March 5-24 tour of South America and Mexico. The trek will encompass 11 shows in six countries, with first-time visits to Lima, Peru and Porto Alegre, Brazil.

In an interview below with Mike Portnoy, the drummer discusses the band’s deep admiration for their fans in Mexico and South America. In Santiago, Chile in 2006, DREAM THEATER played to their largest audience ever (20,000) as a headlining act, a show that was released as a DVD on Portnoy’s YtseJam Records.

The concerts in South America and Mexico -- to be opened by Bigelf -- will follow a monumental year of touring for the band in connection with their 10th studio release BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS, for which they achieved a #1 debut on the Billboard European chart and 12 Top Ten album chart debuts around the world including the U.S.

In 2009, the legendary progressive metal masters -- who’ve sold in excess of 10,000,000 records and DVD's worldwide -- broke records in Europe, playing to festival crowds of over 80,000 fans and made their debut appearance in Israel in front of 10,000 fans. Next came their headlining North American 'Progressive Nation' tour, followed by their overseas September/October 2009 'Progressive Nation' headlining trek reaching 15 countries. They finished the year with a December down under swing with seven shows in Australia and New Zealand.

2009 was also a watermark year for DREAM THEATER as a recording act. Beyond the aforementioned worldwide chart debuts, BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS -- a highlight of their 25-year career -- was praised by Mojo magazine’s Paul Elliott in a July 2009 review: “…their lofty ideals remain intact. By modern criteria, Black Clouds & Silver Linings is as highbrow as The Mars Volta, as grandiose as Muse and as heavy as Metallica.” A video of the album’s “Wither” was shot in 2009 on location in the U.K. (London, Manchester), France (Paris, Lille) and Netherlands (Rotterdam):

DREAM THEATER were also honored with the "Spirit Of Prog" achievement award at the 2009 Classic Rock Awards in London (November 2).

Q&A with Mike Portnoy about the March 2010 shows in South America and Mexico

Dream Theater has an upcoming headline tour of South America and Mexico where the band has built a fan base from previous gigs and sold many records. Can you talk about an experience of playing there before--and the bond that exists with your fans there?

“Our South American audience has become one of the biggest and most passionate for Dream Theater on the planet! We first experienced the intense love affair when we played Brazil for the first times in 1997 and 1998...when we finally returned in 2005, we were able to visit Argentina, Venezuela and Chile as well as Brazil and were overwhelmed by the incredible responses. Our first show in Santiago Chile still remains the biggest headlining show the band has done to date with over 20,000 insane fans showing up for a three -hour "Evening With" Dream Theater.”

The Mexico City show is about ¾ sold already and it’s an 8,000 capacity venue. That has to be amping up Dream Theater.

“This will be our fifth time playing National Auditorium in Mexico City (having previously sold the venue out in 2000, 2002, 2006 & 2008)....it is always a highlight for us....you can never go wrong with 10,000 intense, passionate Mexican fans!!”

The upcoming trek will mark your first shows in Lima, Peru and Porto Alegre, Brazil…which underlines the band’s growing popularity. It’s very notable that the band will perform in South American venues with capacities ranging from 6,000 to 15,000. Can you talk about how the global market keeps expanding for Dream Theater?

“We always look forward to playing new cities and countries for the first time....after almost 20 years on the road, they are becoming far and few between for us...so it's always very special for us. There's nothing more rewarding than playing a song we've played over 1,000 times through the years but seeing the excitement on the faces of the audience that are hearing it in person for the very first time!”

You have invited Bigelf to open all these shows for you. What excites you about them?

“It's been my personal mission to help Bigelf get the exposure they've been waiting 15 years to receive. I fell in love with them within the first minute of hearing their sound. They are like all of my favorite classic bands wrapped in one: The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Queen, etc. I have taken them under my wings and brought them on tour with DT throughout North America and Europe and am now pleased to have them join us in South America. I hope our fans welcome them with open arms and open ears. They are not a technical band like DT, but anybody with good taste in music should be able to appreciate them and fall for them just as I have!”

DREAM THEATER - SOUTH AMERICA/MEXICO 2010 TOUR DATES

Date

 Location

 Venue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri

Mar 05, 2010

 Monterrey, Mexico

 Esenica

 

Sun

Mar 07, 2010

 Mexico City, Mexico

 National Auditorium

 

Mon

Mar 08, 2010

 Guadalajara, Mexico

 Diana Theater

 

Thu

Mar 11, 2010

 Santiago, Chile

 Movistar Arena

 

Sat

Mar 13, 2010

 Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Luna Park

 

Tue

Mar 16, 2010

 Porto Alegre, Brazil

 Pepsi On Stage

 

Thu

Mar 18, 2010

 Curitiba, Brazil

 Master Hall

 

Fri

Mar 19, 2010

 Sao Paulo, Brazil

 Credicard Hall

 

Sat

Mar 20, 2010

 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 Citibank Hall

 

Mon

Mar 22, 2010

 Lima, Peru

 Jockey Club

 

Wed

Mar 24, 2010

 Caracas, Venezuela

 Poliedro