Bassman's post nails it. Mike is awesome. I cherish a lot of his work, my favorite is probably Train of Thought
I am sick of the petty whining about "ripoff" Where is the line between "ripoff" and "inspiration?" Spastic Ink's 2000 cd sounds almost like Dream Theater. Who cares? It's a cool recording. Dream Theater unabashedly plays RUSH tunes during shows. A nod to one of the preceeding giants, not a ripoff.
Prog rock has a lot of common sounding paradigms and styles. But like other genre's, each drummer to his own.
Mike does some amazing things. I hope one day to master them all. If I could be 1/4 as successful as Mike, I'd be on cloud 9. He is a huge inspiration. I hope to be able to completly rip off his style one day.
And he has one of the greatest kits out there.
Check out my latest must have: Mike Portnoy's "DRUMAVARIUM
There is a clip of Mike on his mighty TAMA amber vistalite kit from Hammer of the Gods.