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Queensr├┐che

Building Empires DVD

Review by Greg Olma

Queensrÿche were riding high on the release of their Empire record and they were finally headlining arenas. So to capitalize on that success, EMI released this “story so far” band retrospective that featured some videos leading up to the present (which was 1992 when this was released on VHS format).  This DVD is a bare-bones release of the video without any additional extras which is a bit of a shame as I’m sure they could have added some additional material. 

The footage starts off with Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate, and Michael Wilton talking about the start of the band.  They are out in the streets of Seattle, and it is presented as very informal.  As the brief history progresses, we get a clip of “Nightrider” that looks as though it was performed in a studio and is lip-synced.  I had not seen the footage prior to getting this release so I was more than happy to get something from the E.P. era.  As we move through the timeline, they show a brief snippet of the “Queen Of The Ryche” video. I would have loved to see the whole thing.  They also add “Prophecy” from the Live In Tokyo VHS, but no other songs from that show.  These last two video segments could have been added as extras to the DVD because Live In Tokyo has never been released on DVD to my knowledge (other than bootleg).  “Gonna Get Close To You” is presented here as that was another produced video, but I wish the band would have done additional videos from that often overlooked record.  Since the label already put out Video: Mindcrime a couple of years earlier, this DVD overlooks that album except for an alternative version of “Eyes Of A Stranger,” which is just a re-edit of live footage from Operation: Livecrime. 

Empire being a big success, the label spent a lot of money promoting the band through videos and for that record, they made videos for half the disc with “Another Rainy Night (Without You)” getting two versions.  All of the videos are slick MTV ready productions that feature the band along with artistic interpretations of the songs.  I’m sure most of you have seen them a hundred times before but it’s nice to have them all in one collection here. 

Going forward is where the real value of the DVD comes into play.  The next six tracks are live performances of the tracks that didn’t get added to Operation: Livecrime for obvious reasons.  That release focused on just the Operation: Mindcrime record, so here were get the other tunes performed during that tour.  There is at least one song added from each of the previous records with “Walk In The Shadows” and "The Lady Wore Black" being the best of the bunch.  The disc ends with a couple of songs that were performed on MTV Unplugged, and, of the two, I really enjoyed the stripped down version of “I Will Remember."

All in all, I would say that this is a really good release but I think there were some lost opportunities with adding some bonus material for us fans.  Let’s face it, many of us old-school fans purchased the VHS version when it came out so by making us re-purchase it in the new format, they could have added some extras like the full video of “Queen Of The Ryche," the rest of the live concert from the Empire tour (I was there in Chicago and there are still some songs missing), and the full MTV Unplugged performance.  Other than that, I would still recommend getting this DVD.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2024  Volume 1 More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2024. 

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