|Release date||June 7th, 2007|
|First live performance||New York (Progressive Nation 2008)|
|Total live plays||1|
|Other appearances||Progressive Nation 2008|
|Previous song||The Dark Eternal Night|
|Next song||Prophets of War|
Repentance is the 5th track on Dream Theater's 9th studio album, Systematic Chaos, and it is the fourth song in Portnoy's Twelve-Step Suite. It is notable for only being played live once, duing the Progressive Nation 2008 tour with Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth on guest vocals.
- Mike Portnoy - Drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Petrucci - Guitar, backing vocals
- Jordan Rudess - Keyboards
- John Myung - Bass
- James LaBrie - Vocals
[VIII Regret] Hello, mirror, so glad to see you my friend It's been a while... Staring at the empty page before me All the years of wreckage running through my head Patterns of my life I thought adorned me Revealing hurtful shame and deep lament Overwhelming sorrow now absorbs me As the pen begins to trace my darkest past Signs throughout my life that should have warned me Of all the wrongs I've done for which I must repent I once thought it better to regret Things that I have done than haven't Sometimes you've got to be wrong And learn the hard way And sometimes you've got to be strong When you think it's too late Staring at the finished page before me All the damage now so clear and evident Thinking about the dreaded task in store for me A pit of fear at the thought of my amends Hoping that this step will help restore me To face my past and ask for forgiveness Cleaning up my dirty side of this unswept street Could this be the beginning of the end? I once thought it better to regret Things that I have done than haven't Sometimes you've got to be wrong And learn the hard way And just when you're through hanging on You're saved
[IX Restitution] (Excerpts of fellow musicians' apologies) "Until that moment, I'd never felt like I'd failed at anything... And I felt like I failed her... And I failed myself, and I failed my children... It's still really hard to deal with." "I want to thank you for helping me to see my own selfishness and to tell you how regretful I am it has hurt you." "I'm sorry I didn't visit you in the hospital, Grandpa, when you were on your deathbed. I'm sorry I didn't come to your funeral... I don't know if I was selfish or just too scared to face it. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life." "I'm here to confess with you that what I did, was wrong... And I'm asking for your forgiveness..." "The only unforgivable thing hauls itself out of bed, looks over my shoulder at the bloody English weather..." "I really regret not being able to see my friend Andy..." "One of my best friends who's the godfather of my daughter, he asked me to sing or play something at his wedding, and I turned it down because I was busy and too much of a chicken shit to do it... And I feel sorry for that, because it was a very very close friend of mine..." "So, I wanted to apologize to anyone that I've upset or offended... they're just words, it's just an opinion, but unfortunately, I tend to express it as a fact, and that's kind of arrogant. Isn't it?" "I think it's the betrayal... it still haunts me." "I'm sorry for what I did back then... I was a different person. I really was and I'm so sorry. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but it did, and I'm sorry. Forgive me. I'm sorry..." "I guess I'm simply sorry for being me and not you. I so often wish you could be here with me to show me the way... Will you forgive me"? If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. "You're only as sick as your secrets, but the truth shall set you free..." "The truth is the truth and the only thing you can do is to live with it."
This song follows steps 8 and 9 of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps to recovery program, which the Twelve-Step Suite is based on. It deals with making a list of people the individual has wronged, and if possible, making amends with them. This is conveyed by the lyrics, "staring at the finished page before me... to face my past and ask for forgiveness", It includes a section where guest musicians are asked to record spoken word apologies, regrets and sorrows for their loved ones for having done wrong to them. Featured guests include Mikael Åkerfeldt, Jon Anderson, David Ellefson, Daniel Gildenlöw, Steve Hogarth, Chris Jericho, Neal Morse, Joe Satriani, Corey Taylor, Steve Vai, and Steven Wilson.
Repentance is incredibly sombre in tone, and it is the only song on the album, and indeed the Twelve-Step Suite that has this mood. It is used to reflect the regret in Portnoy's past and his sadness at accepting the wrong that he's done.