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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Live in Chicago, May 2009

Review by Greg Olma

I have seen Queensryche many times on many tours.  The one thing that you can always count on is a show that will be different from any of their other tours. 
Once again, Queensryche have opted out of having an opening act and did the show (I can’t speak for the whole tour) by themselves; no opener or intermission.  The show was divided into 4 parts; 3 suites and an encore with each suite covering a different album.

Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
The show started with the Rage For Order suite which really had the crowd going.  “Neue Regel” was first up and the dramatic opening chords make it the perfect opener for a concert.  Without saying a word, the band launched into “Surgical Strike” and “The Killing Words.” Even though they have played those tunes sporadically on recent tours, it was great to hear them again in the context of other tracks from the same album.  On last year’s Take Cover tour, Queensryche performed “Gonna Get Close To You” but somehow it sounded better this time.  There was extra punch to their performance.  The first set was capped off with “Walk In The Shadows” and “London.”  The latter is one of the best tunes the guys have ever written (in my humble opinion) and I was so glad they included it in the set.  Geoff Tate nailed the vocals perfectly and the rest of the band was spot-on as usual.

Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
Since this is the American Soldier tour, you knew we were going to get a healthy dose of their newest release.  A big American soldier came out on stage and barked out the opening lines of “Sliver.”  The interplay between Tate and this guest vocalist was really fun to watch.  They seemed to be having fun, which is what it is all about.  During the whole suite, the screens behind the band showed footage of the horrors of war and the “soldier’s view” on the uncertainty in front of them.  Right on the heels of “Sliver” the band played “Unafraid,” “Hundred Mile Stare” and “At 30,000 Ft.” I thought they were going to play the whole new disc (not that I would have minded) but they only wound up playing about 2/3 of it.  Just before they went into “Dead Man’s Words” Tate told us a story about a couple of Marines that went back to get one of their own behind enemy lines.  Well, only one returned safely and the song was about his story.  “If I Were King” and “Remember Me” followed before Emily Tate took the stage for “Home Again.” I have to give her credit because going in front of a rock crowd can be a bit daunting for a new performer but she handled herself (and the vocals) quite well.  I liked the fact that they played the songs in album order because they work better that way.  Even though it’s not as much of a story as Operation Mindcrime, it still follows a path that moves you along.

Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
The final suite was dedicated to their biggest selling album Empire.  As the record opens, so did the suite with “Best I Can.” Then Tate grabbed a saxophone and they played a perfect version of “The Thin Line.”  That song has been out of the set (as far as I can remember) since the Empire tour so it was nice addition to the show.  “Another Rainy Night (Without You)” followed along with another seldom played track “Della Brown.” The latter is a great moody piece and it must have given the band a breather before going into “Resistance.” That was another song that has not been played since the Empire tour.  Eddie Jackson started off “Jet City Woman” and before we knew it, “Anybody Listening?” closed off the suite and set.  Even though they have played that track here and there the last few years, I have never heard it performed as well as on this tour. 

Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
Queensryche, as expected, came out for an encore where they played “Empire” and “Take Hold Of The Flame”.  “Take Hold Of The Flame” was definitely the odd man out in the show but it was great to hear it anyway.  As I stated earlier, I have seen them many times but this time really stands out as one of my top 5 Queensryche shows.  Sure, the Rage For Order suite went a long way in winning me over but it was also the level of performance.  At no time did they seem like they were going through the motions and all of the material sounded great.  If you haven’t caught them on the American Soldier tour, do yourself a favor, check it out.  You won’t be sorry.

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Greg Olma
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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