My personal progressive rock anthem: The Ytse Jam

Those who know me also know about my obsession with Dream Theater. I even met them personally on April 11th, 2000. For this reason, I think it would be interesting to share a live version of what I personally consider the archetypal modern progrock anthem, The Ytse Jam.

First, a little history: Dream Theater’s first name was Majesty, however another band with the same name threatened to sue them and they eventually switched to Dream Theater, following the suggestion of Portnoy’s father. They even went as Glasser for a short while, but thankfully the name was ditched after ten days or so. However, the Dream Theater symbol is still named Majesty.

On their first album as Dream Theater, When Dream and Day Unite, they released an instrumental song that laid the foundation for what their music would eventually become. The piece was called The Ytse Jam (but most often referred to simply as Ytse Jam) and runs 5 minutes and 43 seconds. It is packed with odd time signatures and catchy riffs. It’s also the first example of their passion for nuggets and secret codes, as “Ytse Jam” is “Majesty” reversed.

I’d like to mention some random trivia about the band, but I suppose that I’d better make a separate post about that. In the meantime, for the nerdiest among you, a detailed analysis of their 2005 album Octavarium can be found at It mentions all the hidden messages contained therein, and it’s a very enjoyable read.

So, without futher ado, here is The Ytse Jam performed live in 2004 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of When Dream and Day Unite‘s original release.


And an older version with a drum solo by Portnoy. If I’m not mistaken, this is from the Live in Tokyo tape, filmed in 1993. You can see the original line-up, with Kevin J. Moore at the keyboards. (Alright, it’s not the original line-up since LaBrie had already replaced Dominici, but this is instrumental and neither would be there anyway.)


Pretty neat, innit?