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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Live in Chicago, IL, June, 2005

Review by Gary Hill

One certainly can't complain about Queensryche doing the same set year after year. In fact, if you see The Ryche on more than one tour, the odds are you will see very different sets. I've seen them several times myself, and each show has been quite a bit different than the others. This time out was no exception. Their hour long set opening for Priest was in some ways very similar to when they opened for Halford and Iron Maiden quite a few years back, focusing more on their metal side. When I interviewed Geoff Tate later I asked him about that, and he said that they had adjusted the set more towards the audience and other bands on the tour. My guess is that this time out a similar choice was made. Still, this set was not the same as the one they did that time out, by a long shot.

Overall, the show was good, but could have been much better. I gave them a listen from quite a few places in the venue, and wherever you went, the sound was poor. I would have chalked it up to the venue, but Priest had no similar problem when they came out later. That said, bad sound is not something you usually get with Ryche, so my guess is that it was something specific to that night's show. I would have to say also that the band seem to do better in less musically restrictive circumstances. They just didn't seem to be as into it as they usually are, and the result was that the audience didn't respond as well. Part of that could have been the fact that many in this crowd were waiting for their first chance to see the triumphant return of Rob Halford to the Judas Priest fold and were saving their energy for the headliners. All in all, Ryche were playing to a tough crowd, and they put in an admirable, if not flawless, stab at it. The results were mixed. By the end of the set the crowd was more responsive and fired up, but earlier on there was less audience energy to be said. To be truthful, though, it must be said that when I had to take my camera gear to the car after Priest's first three songs, there were a lot of empty spaces in the lot - so I would have to guess that there was a good contingency of the Ryche loyals spread throughout the audience.

Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
As to Ryche's set, they opened with songs from their first couple albums, and these rocked out quite well. "The Whisper" might not have been an obvious opener, but Geoff Tate and company made it work much better than I would have expected. Interestingly enough, playing to a crowd not made up predominantly of Queensryche fans, the band made some very chancy choices for their set. While the metal texture of most of the songs certainly fit this audience, they stayed away, for the most part, from their two most commercial albums, Operation Mindcrime and Empire. This probably meant that a lot of the audience had never heard much of this material before. With that in mind, the crowd response was actually quite strong.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
Fortunately, for me, they did not do their most recognizable song, "Silent Lucidity". That one to me, although a solid number, has been played into the ground, and feels a little too much like Pink Floyd. As mentioned before, only the title track to Empire was played on this run through. In fact, if you add in Rage for Order (their third album), nearly every track in the set came from those first two discs (Queensryche and The Warning) and that third one. The only exceptions in addition to the ones previously mentioned were "Desert Dance" from Tribe and "The Needle Lies" from Operation Mindcrime. They pulled it together nicely for the ending with the anthemic and very well received "Take Hold of the Flame". For my money Ryche tends to play much stronger sets as headliners than opening, but this was a potent, if not killer showing.

More pics from this concert are available in our members' area.

Gary Hill
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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