When Dream and Day Unite

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When Dream and Day Unite
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released March 6, 1989
Recorded July 18 – August 12, 1988
Studio Kajem/Victory Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock
Length 51:25[1]
Label Mechanic/MCA
Producer Terry Date, Dream Theater, Steve Sinclair
Dream Theater chronology
The Majesty Demos
When Dream and Day Unite
Images and Words
Singles from When Dream and Day Unite
  1. "Status Seeker"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Afterlife"
    Released: March 16, 1989 (1989-03-16)

When Dream and Day Unite is the debut studio album by American progressive metal/progressive rock band Dream Theater, released on March 6, 1989 through Mechanic/MCA Records. The album is composed mainly of material that originally surfaced during the band's early years as Majesty, and is the only Dream Theater album to feature Charlie Dominici on vocals, as James LaBrie replaced Dominici as the lead vocalist on subsequent albums.

Although this album does not have a title track, the quote "when dream and day unite" appears in the album's closing track "Only a Matter of Time".


The band originally formed in 1985 by founding members John Myung (bass), Mike Portnoy (drums), and John Petrucci (guitar) under the name Majesty, which was inspired by Portnoy's commentary on the ending of "Bastille Day" by Rush. After the band found a keyboardist in schoolmate Kevin Moore, the band hosted auditions and settled on Chris Collins as the lead vocalist.

The band, still titled Majesty, recorded The Majesty Demos between 1985 and 1986, but shortly after was forced to change their name after another band threatened legal action. While touring around New York, Collins left the band, and the band went through many lead singers before settling with experienced vocalist Charlie Dominici. Unable to come up with a replacement name for their band, Portnoy's father suggested the name Dream Theater, which was the name of a nearby movie theater. They adopted the name, and eventually signed their first recording contract to Mechanic/MCA. The album was then recorded during the summer of 1988 at Kajem/Victory Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.

With the relatively warm reception of their original demos, the band expected their debut album to be received with much fanfare and buzz, but the album went largely unnoticed by the music scene, and eventually led to Mechanic/MCA cutting their contract ties with the band, resulting in a small, club tour for the album only in the New York area. Due to tensions within the band and creative differences, Dominici was fired from the band and they were without a lead singer until late 1990.[2]

15th anniversary performance[edit]

On the 15th anniversary of the album, the band performed it in its entirety in Los Angeles. Furthermore, during two additional songs in the encore, special guests Dominici and Derek Sherinian (both now former Dream Theater members) performed along with the rest of the band; however, original keyboardist Kevin Moore did not appear. The entire performance was recorded live and later released on CD and DVD under the title When Dream and Day Reunite through Portnoy's independent label YtseJam Records. The album also featured a live version of "Metropolis—Part I", which was originally from the band's 1992 album Images and Words, and a performance of a B-side called "To Live Forever", both originally written shortly after the release of When Dream And Day Unite, and played live on the tour for the album.[3][4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[5]

When Dream and Day Unite did not receive much attention upon release, but due to the commercial success of Images and Words, the album would later receive critical reviews and criticism from many resources. Robert Taylor of AllMusic criticized the band's songwriting abilities, despite agreeing that some of their melodies are quite enjoyable.[5]

The also produced two singles, "Status Seeker" and "Afterlife", whose remixes and single edits for radio were done by Terry Brown of Rush production fame.[citation needed] This is also Dream Theater's first and only album not to chart on the Billboard 200.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Dream Theater, except where noted.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "A Fortune in Lies"   John Petrucci 5:12
2. "Status Seeker"   Charlie Dominici, Petrucci 4:17
3. "The Ytse Jam" (music: Petrucci, John Myung, Kevin Moore, Mike Portnoy) (instrumental) 5:46
4. "The Killing Hand"
  • "I The Observance"
  • "II Ancient Renewal"
  • "III The Stray Seed"
  • "IV Thorns"
  • "V Exodus"  
Petrucci 8:41
5. "Light Fuse and Get Away"   Moore 7:23
6. "Afterlife"   Dominici 5:26
7. "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun"   Petrucci 8:05
8. "Only a Matter of Time"   Moore 6:35
Total length:



  1. ^ When Dream and Day Unite (CD release "MCD42259/MCAD42259").
  2. ^ "Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite". mikeportnoy.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  3. ^ "Mike Portnoy.com The Official Website". mikeportnoy.com. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Mike Portnoy.com The Official Website". mikeportnoy.com. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  5. ^ a b Taylor, Robert. "When Dream and Day Unite - Dream Theater". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  6. ^ "Artist Chart History - Dream Theater > Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2016-06-23.