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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Queensr├┐che

Live in McHenry, Illinois, July 2013

Review by Greg Olma

We live in confusing times.  There are two versions of Queensryche releasing albums and touring, so for the lack of a better phrase, this is the Todd La Torre version of Queensryche.  I have been a fan since the self-titled EP (yes, I am that old) and have followed the different style changes for the last few decades.  While I enjoyed pretty much everything the band has created, I was really excited to hear that they were going to go back and perform many songs that have been absent from their set list.  The songs that they performed in McHenry were as close to a “dream set” as you can get and I would be shocked if any Queensryche fan walked away unsatisfied. 

If you are going to show that you are back playing the older material, then there is no better way than by opening the show with a flawless version of “Queen Of The Ryche.”  The band hit the stage with the song that started it all and proceeded to play only material from the first five Queensryche albums.  Since they  released their excellent self-titled CD a few weeks ago, I was happy they played a few tracks from that release also.  “Redemption,” “Where Dreams Go To Die,” and “Fallout” fit into the set seamlessly and if you were a novice fan, you wouldn’t have realized that they were not older Queensryche tracks.  We did get some of the “hits” because, let’s face it, the crowd wants to hear some of the more popular material from those early records.  Tracks like “Walk in the Shadows,” “Jet City Woman” and “Silent Lucidity” have to be played but the crowd was looking for the older, deeper cuts.  In that department, the band delivered on many levels.  Not only did they play “En Force,” “Child of Fire”, and “Warning” off their first album, but they even included “Prophecy” which for the longest time was a B-side track.  I know I’m not speaking for everyone but as far as I was concerned, they could have finished the show then and I still would have walked away happy.  That being said, the band did play more tunes off of Operation: Mindcrime and Empire.  They finished the concert with a five song encore that included new track “Fallout,” older tune “Take Hold Of The Flame” and a trifecta off of Empire.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   

There has been a lot said about Todd La Torre but he has managed to fill the shoes left by Geoff Tate admirably.  Some may say that he is a clone of Tate but those people really aren’t listening closely.  Watching (and hearing) him sing those songs live, you can hear that he is respecting the legacy but adding little bits of his style into it.  La Torre has an amazing voice and I look forward to hearing more material from him and this version of Queensryche.  Now that Parker Lundgren has been in the band for a few years, he and Michael Wilton have gelled into a great guitar duo.  There seems to be a chemistry there that I did not see on previous tours.  Speaking of Wilton, I forgot what a great lead player he is, and he reminded me on that hot night in McHenry.  Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield continue to be one of those rhythm sections that get overlooked until you really watch them perform.  Rockenfield may bash the hell out of his poor kit but there are a lot of subtle nuances in playing, and Jackson not only holds down the beat but he also provides some great backing vocals.  For a band that has been playing for over 30 years, instead of sounding like weathered old rockers, they sound fresh and there is a fire in their performance.  No one knows what will happen in November or who will get to continue being Queensryche but one thing is for sure: no matter if they call themselves Queensryche, Rising West, or some other name, this band still has a lot to offer.  I look forward to catching them on many tours to come and so should you.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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