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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Live in Chicago, IL, September, 2006

Review by Greg Olma

I was lucky enough to catch one of Queensryche’s 3 shows in Chicago. Billed as the complete Operation Mindcrime saga (Parts I and II) with actors, this was going to be a night of Broadway, Queensryche style. Standing outside the House of Blues, there was an air of anticipation and excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time. There was a buzz in the air, so when Queensryche hit the stage, they were given a hero’s welcome. I had seen them perform the original Operation Mindcrime last year in the same fashion so I knew what to expect. One of the major differences from last time was the emphasis on the ills of this administration. During “Revolution Calling,” Geoff Tate held up a sign that read “Give Bush a blow job so we can impeach him” and another one that read “ US out of Iraq.” I’m glad that these were the only outward jabs. True, there was footage on the screens throughout the show that spoke of who the trouble makers were but those fit the story better. Even though the music sounded great, the band seemed like they had played this part too many times. The crowd on the other hand, acted like this was the first time they saw it. Even though it was late in the first set, the fans really got into “I Don’t Believe In Love.” As before , Queensryche ran through the whole album with the only real modifications being different arrangements of “The Mission” and “My Empty Room.”

After a 25 minute intermission, the band launched into Operation Midcrime II. Being that this was the first tour that they were playing it live, there was a fire in their performance. The band was on a mission and that was to play a rock solid version of their new album from start to finish. Geoff Tate especially sounded great. Pamela Moore returned and reprised her role as Sister Mary in both parts. Together, those 2 singers made up quite the vocal powerhouse. It is hard not to view these two stories and realize that politically and as humans, we haven’t progressed since 1988 (the year Operation Mindcrime was released). The players may have changed (although there was a Bush in the Whitehouse both times) but the morals and corruptions have stayed the same. Whether you like or hate this administration is irrelevant. The world and all its leaders haven’t changed in the last 18 years. That is the point that is driven home during that theatrical performance.

I haven’t mentioned what the actors were doing or how the story unfolds for a good reason. I don’t want to give away any of the secrets about who really killed Mary and what happens to Nicky at the end. You’ll just have to see it for yourself. After performing both albums back to back, the band could have finished the evening there. But in true Ryche style, they came back and gave us 2 more songs. The played “Walk In The Shadows” and Jet City Woman.” I was really happy with these 2 choices because they were more of their metal back catalog. “Silent Lucidity” is a good song but it would have been too mellow of a track to play after the hard hitting Mindcrime saga. I hope this tour comes around for another set of dates because it was definitely good enough to see twice (or even three times).
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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