April 27, 2013
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano
25th Anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime
Before we get started, just to bring everyone up to date, original vocalist, Geoff Tate was fired from Queensryche in April of 2012 after a physical altercation with his band mates.
The altercation was precipitated by the group firing Tate's wife Susan as their manager. To make a long drama short, the original Queensryche replaced their lead singer with former Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. In response to the move, Tate put together his own version of 'Queensryche.' So, following in the footsteps of Ratt, L.A. Guns and Great White, we now have two touring entities calling themselves Queensryche - at least until the courts sort out this mess out in November.
The last time Tate played Dallas it was an absolute train wreck! About two thirds of the audience left the venue before the show was over. Some stayed just to heckle Tate. It was embarrassing to say the least. This time though, things were different. There were no saxophone solos interrupting the flow of music, or long breaks between songs, nor was there any rambling on about nothing while sipping wine.
Best of all, not one song was played from Tate's God-awful new 'Queensryche' album, Frequency Unknown. This time, the fans were given exactly what they wanted.
This evening's performance, billed as the 25th Anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime tour, saw Tate & Co. perform the Queensryche masterpiece from start to finish. The Granada Theater was packed with fans, looking to have a few drinks and recapture their glory days. For his part, Tate sounded better and worked harder than he had in years. He's nowhere near the singer he once was, nor did he even come close to hitting some of his trademark high notes, but he did a more than admirable job with the pipes he still had left.
Part of the reason Tate stepped up his game was due to the tremendous band he had backing him. Legendary Quiet Riot / Ozzy Osbourne / Whitesnake / Dio bassist Rudy Sarzo, with his bass high in the mix, drove the songs. With his natural charisma, he dared the rest of the band to keep up or get left behind. That challenge was accepted by Rudy's brother, Hurricane guitarist Robert Sarzo, and fellow Dio alumni Simon Wright on drums. The former AC / DC drummer might not have the finesse of Scott Rockenfield, but not many in the crowd seemed to notice. Even guitarist Kelly Gray did a halfway decent job. Surprisingly, after being together for only a short time, the group seemed very comfortable performing with one another. It certainly didn't feel like Tate had hired a bunch of no-names to back him on this tour. It actually felt as though you were listening to a real band, even if it was in every sense of the word, a Queensryche cover band.
Other than the addition of guest vocalist Nina Noir's duet with Tate on 'Suite Sister Mary,' this was a straight ahead rock show, without the theatrics and elaborate stage sets of days gone by. Following the Mindcrime portion of the show, the band encored with four classics from the Empire album, 'Best I Can,' 'Silent Lucidity,' 'Jet City Woman' and 'Empire.'
Overall, this really wasn't a bad show. Was it perfect, obviously not! Only the original Queensryche could have made this 25th Anniversary of their landmark album a night to remember. That said, if you're an admirer of Tate's, or even a fair weather Queensryche fan who only jumped on board for Mindcrime and Empire, you definitely got your money's worth. As for the diehards, well, you'll just have to wait for the real Queensryche - Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson, Parker Lundgren and Todd La Torre - to come to town.