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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews


Live in Merrillville, IN, October, 2005

Review by Greg Olma

Queensryche was continuing their "Back with One Foot in Hell" with a stop at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana. The best thing about this tour was that it was a complete evening of Queensryche music. No opening acts were scheduled so we got the headliners twice. The set was broken into 2 distinct parts. Set 1 was a "greatest hits" type of affair while set 2 was the groundbreaking album, Operation Mindcrime, in its entirety. The show was far from sold out but that didn't matter to the band. They were firing on all cylinders. I saw this tour earlier this year in January but this night they had that extra spark.
The first set opened with "The Whisper." Although I would not call this one of their "greatest hits", I do think it is a great song and a great opener. Right from the start of the show, Mike Stone was able to prove to the crowd that he is an worthy successor to Chris DeGarmo (we won't mention Kelly Grey). Without a second to spare, Queensryche launched into "Empire." Geoff Tate must have sung this song a thousand times but on this occasion he gave it full effort. "Another Rainy Night (Without You)" followed with Eddie Jackson adding his background vocal talents to the chorus. Most bands would probably drop it into auto pilot for a non-sold out show, but Geoff and the boys played it like it was their first time. "Walk in the Shadows" has been making it in and out of the set for a few years now. I'm glad they put it back in for thiss performance. Rage for Order was not a high point in the Queensryche career, but having 2 songs featured in the set from that album was a real treat for the hardcore fans (me being one of them). Previously, "Take Hold of the Flame" was used as an encore but this time, they snuck it in mid-set. Being the support act this past summer on the Judas Priest tour must have sharpened their metal chops because they haven't played "Take Hold of the Flame" this well since the Empire tour back in 1991.
Let me go on record as saying I love this band (all eras). I state this because I have a complaint about the next song, "Sign of the Times." This first set was supposed to be a "greatest hits" set. "Sign of the Times" is barely a hit, let alone a greatest hit. It must be a song that the band really loves to play because, judging by the crowd's response, it is not a fan favorite.

Next up we were treated to the only song (in tonight's set) off of the self titled EP, "The Lady Wore Black." They played this one very close to the way it is on the studio version with Geoff hitting all the right notes. The song's performance made up for the "Sign of the Times" debacle. Eddie Jackson ushered in "Jet City Woman" with his memorable bass intro. I can name that tune in one note. All kidding aside, I'm glad this song has stayed in their live set. It's a great cut and I have never heard a bad version of it with this one being no exception. Deviating from the "greatest hits" format, Queensryche launched into "Last Time in Paris." While being an odd choice to include in the set, it was clear that Queensryche was tipping their hat to the hardcore fans by playing this deep cut.

The first set closed with probably their biggest hit, "Silent Lucidity." If it wasn't for the fact that we were going to get another set from them, I would have to say that this is a bad way to end a show. You want to leave the crowd in a frenzy but "Silent Lucidity" won't achieve that. It's a good song, performed well; it just belongs in the middle of the set.

After a 15-minute intermission, Queensryche performed their second set. And when I say, "perform," I do mean perform. The Operation Mindcrime album was given a makeover by having actors join the band on stage to recreate the story. Dr. X was portrayed only on the screen behind the band but Nicky and Sister Mary were onstage during most of the numbers. An actor and Geoff Tate switched off playing Nicky while Pamela Moore played all of Mary's parts. This is as close as you will ever get to Queensryche on Broadway. They do answer the question of who killed Mary, but you will have to see for yourself. I won't spoil the surprise.

My biggest complaint, other than the "Sign of the Times" inclusion, is that there was no real encore. Believe me, if they were too drained after the 2 sets they had just performed, no one would have blamed them but instead, we got a video played on the screen on stage. The song is called "Hostage" and it will be on the next album, Operation Mindcrime II. It is good but I just think that it should have been played live. The video also seemed like a commercial for the album by flashing the Queensryche logo along with Spring 2006. This might have been some record company ploy to build a buzz on the album but Queensryche is too classy of an act to engage in these kinds of carnival tricks.

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