I've only heard clips of the Wilton et. al. version of the band and I've enjoyed what I heard and plan to buy the album in the next few weeks. I have listened to the majority of Geoff's Frequency Unknown album and, while it doesn't really carry the Queensryche sound that I dug back in the day, it's a definite improvement over Dedicated to Chaos and some of the albums preceding it. It's also been common knowledge lately that the Tate-led version of the band has been consistently changing members. I'm not going to speculate on the reason for this but I was actually pretty interested in checking out this lineup as they rolled into Nashville recently.
Upon entering the main venue about 10 minutes before the band hit the stage, one fact was painfully clear; Nashville was NOT overly interested in seeing this version of Queensryche. There were, maybe, 200 people in the auditorium at show time.
The other 'Ryche played a much larger venue a few months ago to a full house. I will admit that there was little to no promotion for this concert and it was on a Thursday night. Plus, I have seen images of decent-sized crowds at other stops on this tour so maybe those are valid reasons.
Regardless of the sparse turnout, this new version of Queensryche put on an absolutely great performance. Celebrating 25 years of Operation Mindcrime, the band played the entire album from front to back. Standout songs included Revolution Calling, Spreading the Disease, Suite Sister Mary (featuing Sass Jordan) and main set closer Eyes of a Stranger. Also during the main set was Brian Tichy performing a slamming drum solo that left me awestruck. This was NOT your typical pee/beer break drum solo. Instead, Tichy played some inspired beats that showed a definite Peter Criss/John Bonham influence; going as far as playing a section with his hands!
|Brian Tichy, Robert Sarzo, Kelly Gray|
While this song has never been a favorite of mine, it was only made worse in concert due to cameos onstage by Jimmy Wayne and former Rockstar Supernova winner Lukas Rossi. While Wayne did okay on his verses, Rossi was just unbelievably hard to listen to as he attempted to croak out the chorus of the song while a puzzled Nashville audience looked on. It only strengthened my opinion that reality television is not a guarantee of talent.
After a bit of a wait, those of us with passes were allowed to enter the main room again to mingle with the band during the meet and greet. I have nothing bad to say about any of these people. The entire band, Geoff Tate included, were truly gracious and could not have been nicer.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable night of music. The band played a tight, energetic set and Geoff Tate seemed to be in good spirits considering the circumstances. I do have to wonder, however, how sustainable this version of Queensryche can be. As I said earlier, there was very little promotion and it looks like some of the other shows had decent turnouts. I guess only time will tell if there's room in this world for two Queensryches.
- Chris Czynszak
All photos by Billy Hardaway & Chris Czynszak