Dream Theater Wiki
Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On
Scenes from a Memory
Length 6:38
Working title (Unknown)
Release date October 26, 1999
Lyrics John Petrucci
Music Dream Theater
First live performance Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, USA, on January 31, 2000
Total live plays 556
Recorded BearTracks Studios
Other appearances Metropolis 2000, Live Scenes from New York, The Making of Scenes from a Memory, Score, Live at Luna Park, Distant Memories
Previous song Scene Seven: II. One Last Time
Next song Scene Nine: Finally Free

Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On is a song by Dream Theater. It is the eleventh track from their fifth album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.

John Petrucci recorded this song using a 6-string guitar in standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E).



The Spirit Carries On continues the plot of Scenes from a Memory. Nicholas is under hypnosis once again, and reiterates his belief that his soul will transcend and he need not fear death. He now believes that Edward was involved in the murder, and plans to expose the truth behind it, but Victoria appears to Nicholas and tells Nicholas he should move on. At this point, Nicholas feels at peace, as he feels he has appeased Victoria and his own obsession. The ultimate message is that, as the hypnotherapist says, "death is not the end, but only a transition". The song has been noted as having a Christian outlook on death.


Where did we come from, 
Why are we here?
Where do we go when we die?

What lies beyond
And what lay before, 
Is anything certain in life?

They say, "Life is too short
The here and the now"
And "You're only given one shot"
But could there be more
Have I lived before
Or could this be all that we've got?

If I die tomorrow
I'd be all right because I believe
That after we're gone
The spirit carries on

I used to be frightened of dying
I used to think death was the end
But that was before
I'm not scared anymore
I know that my soul will transcend

I may never find all the answers
I may never understand why
I may never prove
What I know to be true
But I know that I still have to try

If I die tomorrow
I'd be all right because I believe
That after we're gone
The spirit carries on

Move on, be brave
Don't weep at my grave
Because I am no longer here
But please never let your memory of me disappear

Safe in the light that surrounds me
Free of the fear and the pain
My questioning mind has helped me to find
The meaning in my life again
Victoria's real, I finally feel
At peace with the girl in my dreams
And now that I'm here It's perfectly clear
I found out what all of this means

If I die tomorrow
I'd be all right because I believe
That after we're gone
The spirit carries on


The Spirit Carries On is a melodic song with progressive elements. It begins slowly, with only piano and vocals, but gradually builds up in complexity into an emotionally-charged guitar solo. The final verse also features a gospel choir.


The song appeared on Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs). A vocal demo by John Petrucci was also included on The Making of Scenes from a Memory.

Live Performances[]

The Spirit Carries On is played live with some regularity, and often involves fans singing parts of it. According to Setlist.fm, it is the third-most performed song by the band, just under Metropolis, Pt. 1 and Pull Me Under. Notably, during its performance on the concert DVD Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York, the section of the song in which Victoria speaks to Nicholas was sung by guest vocalist Theresa Thomason. A gospel choir was also featured.