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When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago
WhenThe KeyboardBreaks
Studio album by Liquid Trio Experiment
Released 2009
Recorded June 25, 2008 at Park West, Chicago, IL, USA
Genre Progressive metal
Length 58:50
Label Lazy Tomato Records
Producer N/A
Liquid Tension Experiment studio albums chronology
Spontaneous Combustion
When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago
Liquid Tension Experiment 3

When the Keyboard Breaks: Live in Chicago is the second and final Liquid Tension Experiment album released under the name Liquid Trio Experiment.


On June 25, 2008, Liquid Tension Experiment played a show at Park West in Chicago, Illinois. The band got through most of their usual setlist (Acid Rain, Kindred Spirits, Biaxident, Freedom of Speech, an improvised jam, Another Dimension, and State of Grace) with no issues. However, during Universal Mind, Jordan Rudess' keyboard began to malfunction horribly.

"So I'm playing along, everything's fine, but all of a sudden I started hearing these half-steps. It was as if I was playing in C but somebody else was playing in C-sharp. I was looking at John Petrucci, like, 'What the hell are you doing?' But then I saw him stop for a second, and I looked down at my hands and thought, ‘What is that?' I realized that every time I played a C, the keyboard would also play a C-sharp; every time I played a G, it played a G-sharp, and so on. It was playing everything in the worst possible dissonant way." - Jordan Rudess

The band briefly tried to cover for Rudess by playing March of the Gladiators by Julius Fučík, but he eventually left the stage to figure out a solution, since he didn't have his usual keyboard technician or a replacement keyboard with him. In the meantime, the rest of the band improvised until Rudess was able to come back. Rudess spent at least 20 minutes on the phone with Roland Japan trying to solve the problem with his keyboard, with Mike Portnoy occasionally giving updates (which was used to determine track splicing on the album).

In the end, Rudess was not able to fix the issue with his keyboard and returned to the stage, at which point he took up Petrucci's guitar and began jamming. Petrucci took up Tony Levin's bass, since Levin was playing the Chapman Stick. When the jam finished, Portnoy took up the bass and Charlie Benante of Anthrax, who was present that night, took over on drums. The album was not able to be properly engineered, since the recording was taken from the soundboard at the venue. A video of almost the entire show can be found on Youtube here. (Universal Mind starts at 46:05, technical difficulties are announced at 57:33.)

The keyboard was never fixed that night.


  • Tony Levin - bass, Chapman stick
  • Mike Portnoy - drums, percussion, bass on track 8
  • John Petrucci - guitar, bass from 2:40 on track 7
  • Jordan Rudess - keyboards on track 1, guitar from 2:00 on track 7
  • Charlie Benante - drums on track 8

Album Tracklist[]

This is the tracklist as it appears on the album.

  1. Universal Mind (When the Keyboard Broke) - 2:20
  2. The Chicago Blues & Noodle Factory - 7:03
  3. Fade Away or Keep Going? - 5:03
  4. The Haunted Keyboard - 9:34
  5. Close Encounters of the Liquid Kind - 15:13
  6. Ten Minute Warning - 5:55
  7. That Ol' Broken Down Keyboard Blues - 6:34
  8. Liquid Anthrax (w/ an excerpt of "How Many More Times" by Led Zeppelin) - 4:55
  9. That's All Folks! - 2:12

Approximate Concert Setlist[]

This list will approximate what the setlist should've been had there been no technical difficulties.

Main Set[]

  1. Acid Rain
  2. Kindred Spirits
  3. Biaxident
  4. Freedom of Speech
  5. Improv Jam #1
  6. Another Dimension
  7. State of Grace
  8. Universal Mind
  9. Improv Jam #2
  10. Rhapsody in Blue (originally by George Gershwin, arr. Liquid Tension Experiment)
  11. When the Water Breaks


  1. Osmosis
  2. Paradigm Shift