Queensrÿche – When I received the assignment from Rob Rockitt to cover the Queensryche show at The Crocodile Rock Cafe, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I was swirling with many emotions. Queensryche has been a core favorite of mine since I first heard their Metal classic “Queen of the Reich”, on a late night FM show called Metal Shop, way back around 1983. The last time I saw Queensryche in concert was back in 1986. 1986! They opened for Ozzy Osbourne on his “The Ultimate Sin” tour, while they were supporting their own eventual classic: “Rage For Order”. The venue back then was the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Fast forward twenty five years later and I’m still the ever loyal Queensryche fan. Or am I? You see, I still did not pick up their new album “Dedicated To Chaos” going into this concert and believe me, I felt really out-of-place for this. I figured all along: Old School Queensryche rules anyways. Truth be told, on this Tuesday evening, on August 2nd of 2011… “live” Old School Queensryche DID rule. I will touch more on this “Old School” topic as you read along. To make up for my slacking of loyalty, I did purchase an autographed CD of “Dedicated To Chaos” at the merch table. I fulfilled my Metal duty after all.
As I sat at the front bar at the Croc Rock, with staff photographer Tom Coderre, we both realized the atmosphere around us getting a bit more crowded. A hell of a lot more crowded. As soon as 6 pm hit, the line of Queensryche fans began to stretch from the venue door, through the bar and pouring out onto Hamilton Boulevard. This was not a short line. This was a very long line of Old School Queensryche fans. Immediately, from checking the faces of the fans and the sea of Queensryche concert t’s of past tours, within this growing line, I felt the electricity in the air. Tom and I were about to witness an amazing night of live Queensryche… a night of Old School Metal.
Any Rock, Hard Rock or Metal fan knows that feeling right before a core band of theirs takes the stage. The anticipation and the dragonflies in my stomach seemed to overwhelm me. I was getting psyched-out and Queensryche had not even taken the stage yet! I gave Tom the nod to take his position at the reserved area for photographers, he looked back at me and smiled with Metal glee. I studied the guitar tech at work, the artificial fog that enveloped the venue, the security guards (or public relations as their called on their t-shirts) as they began to make hand gestures to each other that only meant it was all about to go down… then… Queensryche took the stage!
The exhilaration was on overdrive now as Queensryche fired up the opening track from “Dedicated To Chaos”: “Get Started”. Metal be thy name did this “new” Queensryche song sound unreal great to my Old School ears! As the rhythmic thunder of this song was raging through my veins, I’m thinking to myself, “Get Started” couldn’t be a better song to open this night with! So much for my Old School mentality. Yes, I did get schooled on some new Queensryche this particular night.
Onstage Geoff Tate did frequently acknowledge the voluminous crowd of fans, making us all feel like we were one big Queensryche family. The entire band looked and played not only like seasoned pros, they commanded the stage as a unified force of their legendary songs. Never once could I not realize I was witnessing a Metal band of immense influence, a band that deserves more recognition for their contributions to Rock. From Progressive Metal to a chart topping ballad the likes of “Silent Lucidity”, Queensryche has played it all… and they played it with pride, class and skill for me to witness on that memorable night.
The Old School fever meter began its climb once the first beat of “I Don’t Believe In Love” hit the amps. This was early in the set and the song that told all of us in attendance that Queensryche will Rock our faces off tonight… and they did just that. Geoff introduced “The Lady Wore Black” as where “it all began for us”. The fans went nuts. I went nuts. Queensryche ripped into this legendary song with probably the same enthusiasm as they held for it 30 years ago. As I sang out loud to “The Lady Wore Black” and pumped my fists and Metal horns to the air, I also
found the time to high-five my fellow Old School fans around me, both young and old. The excitement was all too much to not share. It’s nights like these where Metal fans unite as one.
“Walk In The Shadows” rocked the place down! If there ever was a song that sounds ten times better when played live by Queensryche, then this is the one. This Queensryche classic sounds intense on album, I’ll never deny that, only hearing and experiencing it live with a throng of frenzied fans singing along was unquestionable Metal bliss for me. This was a point during the night when I realized just how powerful Geoff Tate’s vocals are. What a song… what a band… what a Metal moment.
To say I was moved and psyched-out beyond my wildest Metal dreams is an understatement, when describing how I felt when Queensryche played their encore. “Jet City Woman” had every fan squeezed into this hot and sticky Croc Rock belting out each
syllable, to each word, of this song’s amazing lyrics. This was a Metal high that money can’t buy. Without warning, “Empire” was next, without a hesitation from the band. Metal as my witness, my circulatory system was running on pure adrenaline now… there was nothing that was going to separate the energy that we the fans were sharing with Queensryche, on this glorious August night. Then, my god almighty it only got more insane… the final song of the night kicked in: “Eyes Of A Stranger”.
To summarize this Queensryche encore is to say: After 30 years of Queensryche, this band specifically saved the best for last. Geoff Tate sounded ridiculously amazing on vocals, from “Get Started” all the way to the shows close. The band sounded prolific at every turn and it was as if these three encore songs were meant to be played for just the fans in attendance that night and never be played again. 19 songs were played live by Queensryche, a lengthy set that usually fans can only wish for. Only this night of live Queensryche songs were very real.
I witnessed for myself many, many club shows during my lifetime, only I’ve never witnessed the embracing of Old School like this before, among the fans and band. Queensryche wanted to be there. The fans wanted to be there. I wish I could go back there again and relive that night over… and over again. Metal be thy name.
As side notes: I lost Tom Coderre for the entire show, yet I did make a couple of new friends. Upon Tom and I reuniting after the show, we were both fortunate enough to meet each member of Queensryche. I will tell the world this: Queensryche are Metal legends, professionals… and Metal gentlemen. Thank you Queensryche for this everlasting Metal moment in time.
I Don’t Believe In Love
Hit the Black
A Dead Man’s Words
At 30,000 Ft
Rhythm of Hope
Screaming In Digital
The Lady Wore Black
Walk In The Shadows
The Right Side Of My Mind
Around the World
Jet City Woman
Eyes Of A Stranger
LONG LIVE QUEENSRYCHE.