Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Queensryche: Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA

Friday - October 13, 2006
Saturday - October 14, 2006
Sunday - October 15, 2006

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Welcome to my first concert review for so many THANKS! to Joe for the opportunity to post my little concert review on his site.

All I can say is that as I’m writing this, it’s been over 2 weeks since I saw Queensryche play three nights in Seattle and I’m still wired. The band has been on a nationwide tour performing their two concept albums (1988’s Operation:Mindcrime I and it’s sequel, 2006’s Operation:Mindcrime II) in their entireties back-to-back. When I heard they would be playing three nights in their hometown along with getting an opportunity to meet the band at a Fan Club Brunch, I jumped at the chance and made the 2,500 mile trek from Connecticut. Hey you only live once, right?!

Like a heavy metal Broadway production, the band along with singer Pamela Moore (reprising her role as Sister Mary), and a small group of actors brought the tragic tale of Betrayal, Revenge, and Redemption to life. The story centers around Nikki, a politically disillusioned heroin addict, who is lured into a conspiracy led by the mysterious Dr.X. Nikki is groomed by Dr. X into becoming an assassin for his cause, eliminating prominent political and religious figures. Nikki’s new life collides with Sister Mary, teenage runaway turned prostitute, who is saved from the streets by an abusive priest linked to the conspiracy. As they both get deeper into the plot, Nikki and Mary find that they are the only ones who can truly trust one other. Sensing the threat, Dr. X gives Nikki the order to kill Mary and the priest. After trying in vain to convince Mary to leave the life with him, Nikki finds her dead. Nikki is arrested for the murders and ends up being imprisoned (straight jacket and all) at the conclusion of Mindcrime I.

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With no opening act, the band started at a relatively early time. After the classic dialogue from the hospital that opens the first Mindcrime album “Sweet dreams…you bastard” and “I remember now …” the band launched into the song “Anarchy-X” from Mindcrime I, complete with marching drum line band Blue Thunder. For the next hour with set and costume changes, we were immersed in the story of Nikki’s indoctrination and descent into the conspiracy. For the entire Mindcrime performance, lead singer Geoff Tate (as Nikki) and Pamela Moore (Mary) did not break out of character.

There was a brief intermission before the band continued with Operation: Mindcrime II. The story for Mindcrime II picks up 18 years after Mindcrime I ends as Nikki is released from prison and he sets out to take his revenge on Dr. X. Mindcrime II centers on what toll revenge has on someone & the emptiness it brings once that revenge is satiated.

I can’t tell you how blown away I was with the band’s performance, especially by Geoff’s and Pamela’s vocals and acting. The band just CRUSHED! Did I mention how amazing Pamela looks dressed in black leather?! Although her vocals appear only on one song (“Suite Sister Mary”) from the first Mindcrime album, her role has been greatly expanded in the live performance, adding background vocals to a number of the songs including some lead vocals on “Spreading the Disease”. For Mindcrime II, Pamela is back as Sister Mary, both as Nikki’s conscience and as ghostly apparition in the live show.

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Bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield added the crushing rhythm section and guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone guitar work was fantastic. As the newest Queensryche member, guitarist Stone’s lead playing has now gelled quite nicely with the band’s sound and there was some cool twin lead guitar harmonies from the two guitarists.

I was able to get some incredible seats for all three nights including FRONT ROW for Sunday night’s show. This was the first time in my nearly 20 years of going to shows that I was able to be in the front row for any concert and I’m still speechless. You really can’t describe the feeling, especially for a show like this.

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For the encores, the band played some non-Mindcrime QR classics including “Walk in the Shadows”, “Take Hold of the Flame”, “Jet City Woman”, and “Empire”.

After Friday night’s show, I ended up at a bar across from the Moore with fellow Ryche fans in attendance. After quite a few beers and some great metal tunes from the DJ, I staggered back to my hotel truly satisfied.

There was a buzz before Saturday night’s show as we learned that Saturday and Sunday night’s shows were going to be filmed for an upcoming DVD and that the legendary Ronnie James Dio might be performing live. Dio (as Dr.X) appears on the song “The Chase” from Mindcrime II in a duet with Geoff Tate (as Nikki) as the two characters finally confront one another. Probably due to scheduling conflicts, Dio couldn’t make it to Seattle to perform live so they showed a video sequence of Nikki and Dr. X as the band played the song. Dio was able to perform live with the band in L.A. so we’ll see if they edit in his performance for the DVD.

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The Fan Club Brunch (with proceeds going to charity) took place in the Olympic Ballroom at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Seattle. There were Queensryche fans both at the brunch and at the shows from all over (including Japan, New Mexico, California, and Canada) and I got to meet lots of great people. All the fans at the brunch were treated to something really special. Each member of the band came by everyone’s table and spent time talking, signing autographs, and taking pictures with the fans. MANY THANKS to Anita & Susan at and the rest of the band for treating their fans to such an incredible experience and acting so graciously. I had a nice chat with each member of the band. I got to talk to Michael Wilton about some new guitar equipment that he’s using these days (being a guitar player myself) and had a quick chat about vocal instruction with Pamela.

For the final performance at The Moore, as I was basking under the stage lights in the front row with video cameras filming, I just had to think … what more could you possibly ask for?!

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See you on the road …


© 2006 Erik Remec

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