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3/14/2014 8:30 am  #1


Epic Queensryche show!

I had to share this because it was an awesome show last night.  After acquiring a hearty handful of Appendix-N books from my favorite childhood used bookstore, I attended the Queensryche show with a friend of mine.  I wasn't expecting much, hell, I didn't even buy a ticket until I was standing in front of the State Theater in Falls Church, VA.  This venue maybe holds 300 people or so and it wasn't full.  It has mostly dining areas with a small floor space in front of the stage and another 100 or so seats on the balcony.  I had heard reports that Geoff Tate's voice wasn't what it once was. 

Well, I have to say, the reports of the demise of Geoff Tate's abilities are greatly exaggerated and most premature. His voice was rock solid all the way through Operation Mindcrime and the few songs off of Empire that they played.  As for the rest of the band, Queensryche yet retains their original keyboardist, Randy Gane.  The two guitartists are Kelly Gray, a former producer of Queensrych albums (among others) and Robert Sarzo (I believe he was with Quiet Riot for a while before forming Hurricane, which was also the opening act last night).  The Bassist, Rudy Sarzo, was originally selected to replace Randy Rhoads, but it never happened.  He ended up in several other big name bands of the 80's, including Quiet Riot, Dio and Whitesnake.  The drummer, Simon Wright was one of the drummers for AC/DC, replacing Phil Rudd and then moving on to Quiet Riot himself.  Lastly, Sass Jordan sang the part of 'Mary' as well as other backup vocals throughout the show.

This was the Operation Mindcrime 25th anniversary tour.  It started out poorly last night as the band's trailer had a mechanical problem which delayed their arrival from Syracuse by 3 hours.  It all worked out and the crowd was able to watch the stage be setup for both bands.  Hurrican opened and played an abbreviated set list of only 5 songs.  Not being familiar with them, I was okay with that (although they weren't bad at all).  Queensryche put on a hell of a show and sometime around 'Mission' we moved from our table to the floor and were pretty much front-left of stage.  Alas, my phone died right around then or I'd have better closeups.  I did get some grainy shots from my table which you can see below. 

After playing the entire OM album, they did an encore of the key hits from Empire and really killed it.  I can't say enough good things about Queensryche.  They (Geoff Tate) still have it.  The new band members are all veterans of glam rock/80's metal.  Having not been a big QR fan back then (I liked Empire but that was about it), I can't tell the difference.  But, in my opinion, QR's music isn't really all that complex and I feel pretty certain any competent musician could handle the songs well - and they did.

And if that wasn't enough. When I went to buy a tee-shirt, I saw scrawled on a small sign that for $50 you could meet the band.  Having paid $250 to meet Dream Theater a couple of years ago, I jumped all over this.  Let me say, that was worth every freaking penny.  When I met Dream Theater, i got a free poster, a group photo and then met each member of the band but only had about 10 seconds to say something before I had to shuffle along to the next member.  Not so with Queensryche!  About 20 people bought the deal and we were told to wait in the upstairs lounge and about a half hour after the show ended, in walked Geoff tate and most of the band (Randy Gane and Sass Jordan didn't make it).  They were the nicest, down to earth famous guys I have ever met.  Their appreciation of their fans was genuine and they spent a lot of time which was awesome given the crappy day they'd had (and they were heading to Boston the next day).

I spent about 10 minutes with Tate.  I was wondering how it would go because I had heard that he was a bit dickish.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I mentioned how much I loved the album American Soldier and he asked me if I was a vet.  I said yes and he asked me detailed questions about what I did and if I had been overseas with the military.  I was in the Army National Guard in the infantry in between the Gulf War and the Iraq War and managed to not ever be deployed, thankfully.  Likewise, I spent a fair amount of time with the other guys as well, especially Robert Sarzo.  That guy was a lot of fun to talk to.  He told me a little about Cuba (where he's from) and his home in LA.  I didn't have as much time as I would have liked with Rudy Sarzo or Simon Wright but I did get to talk drums a little with Simon.  He's a big Neil Peart fan (what drummer isn't?) and so we shared some Rush concert stories before they had to leave for nighty-night time. 

Man, what a surprise epic night.  If you live near one of the venues on this tour and like Queensryche but have been iffy about them since the breakup, get over it and go.  You won't likely get many more chances.  They seemed a bit down on their luck, despite the amazing performance.  I can't see this gig going on for more than a couple of years at best.  Enjoy the gratuitous photos below.  I was a little tipsy and had my drunk-eye going on.  But eff it, I don't care. :-)
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab338/Druvas/Queensrych%20Meet%20and%20Greet%2003_13_14/94704FAF-71AD-407F-A7D4-BE6148D5466E.jpg
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab338/Druvas/Queensrych%20Meet%20and%20Greet%2003_13_14/06670A0A-EBFF-4A3D-9F8A-783F26166CE4.jpg
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab338/Druvas/Queensrych%20Meet%20and%20Greet%2003_13_14/A21E4EF5-C573-49B0-9174-D03EE8D68D29.jpg
http://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab338/Druvas/Queensrych%20Meet%20and%20Greet%2003_13_14/262B0AED-6880-44DB-B046-B0F1584B0CA3.jpg

 

3/15/2014 1:55 pm  #2


Re: Epic Queensryche show!

Sounds awesome. It's always good to discover that a band you like has cool guys in it. I went to a High on Fire concert a couple of years ago at a very small local venue. During one of the opening acts, I turned to get a beer and noticed the main act was standing in the crowd drinking beers watching one of the opening bands with the rest of us. So I went over and chatted with them for a few minutes. Super nice guys. Really made me a fan for life, as they could have easily just blown me off.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

3/15/2014 3:37 pm  #3


Re: Epic Queensryche show!

I'm glad to hear it turned out great. I was afraid Tate might be a jerk, too, but it sounds like he was pretty cool. Like I mentioned to you at FB, Wright is an awesome drummer; he did some fantastic work for Dio. 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

3/23/2014 4:38 pm  #4


Re: Epic Queensryche show!

Sounds like a great time, Charley!  I haven't seen QR perform since the Empire tour ages ago now.  I'm glad to hear that Tate still has the chops :D

 

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