Concert Review: Queensryche at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, MA
My curiosity was piqued weeks ago when this date was announced because for the most part Boston hardly ever showcases any classic hard rock acts..unless it’s a big name and it’s at TD Garden. This was going to be a unique opportunity to be able to witness Queensryche on a small stage celebrating 25 years of the landmark Operation: Mindcrime album. I just wondered which Queensryche lineup this was going to be?
When I found out that it was the Geoff Tate version my next thought was who would be a part of his touring band? Would he able to obtain band members that helped record Frequency Unknown such as Rudy & Robert Sarzo, Simon Wright, Kelly Gray.? Yes, he was, although Brian Tichy has recently replaced Simon Wright who is back out touring internationally with the Dio Disciples.
Were fans ready to accept a Queensryche lineup with one lone original member that actually helped create the Mindcrime record? Could they pull it off live? Judging by what I saw in Boston fans not only accepted this new version of Queensryche but the band were able to perform the album in its entirety with ease and giving some younger folks that I saw in the audience (including my own 15 year old son) their first shot at witnessing what Tate brings to the table as a singer and performer and allowing the crowd to help sing along to songs they have had in their tape decks, cd players and record players for the past quarter century.
The Wilbur Theater is very old school and a huge curtain covered the stage prior to the start of the show. It was fun to hear the first part of “I Remember Now” playing with the nurse sedating Nikki (love those high heels on the hospital floors pre-Scrubs!) as the curtain rises to the band playing to “Anarchy-X” and the Boston crowd cheering loudly with arms uplifted and fingers pointing. There really was a ton of positive energy throughout the show because this is the type of performance where the crowd does like to interact and chant/sing during the chorus of songs like “Revolution Calling”, “Operation Mindcrime”, “Speak”, “Spreading the Disease”, “The Mission”.
What I thought was missing was the visual aspect of the show that I had seen in prior performances of Mindcrime. It would have been nice to have a video screen to help newer audience members follow along. Tonight was all about the music and the celebration of the songs leaving some of the interpretation of the story to the listener. The pace did seem a bit rushed to me at times, although there was an awesome Brian Tichy drum solo that did break up a part if the first set.
Sass Jordan played the role of Mary tonight and her performance was flawless. She played off well with Tate during “Suite Sister Mary” which clocks in at a tad over 10 minutes and they had an instant dynamic connection.
I think the crowd really went the craziest during “I Don’t Believe In Love” as it was really tough to hear Tate’s own vocals over the crowd’s chants! The Mindcrime set closed with “Eyes of a Stranger” and thus ended a little more than half the show.
The band came back with “Silent Lucidity”, ‘Best I Can”, ‘I’m an American”, “Jet City Woman” and ‘Empire”. All played with flavor and as close to the originals as was performed during the Mindcrime set. I was a little surprised that nothing was played off of Frequency Unknown but I don’t think the crowd cared at all.
Tonight was about a celebration of an album, a journey back to a different time in the band’s history and to a different period in some of the audience memories lives. That’s supposed to be what music does..at least for me. There are going to be cynics who will tell you it’s really just a Tate Queensryche tribute band. That may be true but without Chris Degarmo isn’t anything that Queensryche created or performed between 1998-2012 the same thing? No disrespect intended to Kelly Gray, Mike Stone or Parker Lundgren but all of them combined won’t bring back Chris or equal his talents or charisma. So why is this version any different than any of them? It’s not, but some fans will divide the two camps and have “Geoff vs.Todd” war as we push forward to November and the pending court date which will decide which entity will be able to use the Queensryche name and logo moving forward. For me I just got to sit back and enjoy the past and get to relive it with my son. What’s wrong with that?