Queensryche.........prior to Wednsday night, Queensryche always struck me as one of those bands that I really really liked but that didn't have that certain 'appeal' that would really endear me to a band. I never really would say that I loved them or anything, just thought they were a solid band who had definitely released one of the most important albums ever. But still, the attractiveness was not there to really hook me in. At least not until I witnessed them perform one of the best shows I've ever seen, and one that I will remember for its uniqueness if not for the sheer quality of the gig.
My little brother, dad, and myself headed up to the heart of San Francisco on a brisk Wednsday night to see a show that had been on our calender since March, when we first bought the tickets. I could not think of a better location to see a show dedicated to Operation: Mindcrime than in the center of a city where the surroundings just breed the kind of themes prevalent throughout the album. In fact, just a block from the venue is a chain of about 3 porn shops all lined up in a row, and even before the show the stark nature of our walk to the Warfield added to the amtosphere by putting the frame of mind in the right place, seeing homeless people on the streets, junkies wandering aimlessly through back alleys, police sirens wailing in the distance, it was all eerily fitting.
Once inside we didn't do much looking around, and really the Warfield is so small that there isn't much to see anyways. I'm surprised they chose such a small venue to play in, but hey, it works. We just skipped past the merch stand (which didn't look too inviting anyways, aside from one awesome shirt that es156 posted a picture of somewhere on here earlier) and headed straight to our balcony seats. We had an excellent view just a few rows to the right and even with the soundboard. The crowd was easily the most unmetal metal crowd I've witnessed yet, and the lack of youth was understandable but unfortunate nonetheless. The floor was compeltely filled but there was a plethora of empty seats in the upper level the whole night. Luckily we were near the front of it so it didn't hamper the concert experience. I will say however that it was quite different to watch a show sitting down, with almost zero crowd reaction except for the cheers after each song. Not necessarily bad, but just different. Being able to concentrate on the full production was probably for the better anyways, not having it be lost amidst headbanging/fist-pumping/singing, etc.
The show started fairly promptly, and not knowing what to expect really I just kinda waited in awkward anticipation. I saw 'Ryche opening for the mighty Priest last summer, and they put on an amazing show. I didn't want to get my expectations for the acclaimed Mindcrime production too high, but immediately I was entranced. Its so hard to try and make like a timeline of the show because there was just so much to digest, and it all really flowed like a play almost. For once I am actually at a loss trying to adequately describe what it was like. I cannot urge you to see this show enough. I almost don't even want to spoil the stage show, the acting, the videos, everything because if you haven't seen this show yet, no matter how many super detailed reviews you read cannot prepare you for this. The best stage show I've ever seen hands down. Better than Lateralus tour, better than DOD tour, easily eclipsing everything I had seen before. Geoff Tate also solidified himself as a top singer for me. I've never heard anyone sing like that live before. Having the mic as a mouthpiece made him able to do the acting as well, and he's a great actor too. The other band members had excellent stage presence too, especially the guitarists. The guys fucking shred! The twin solos, gaaaaaah just mindblowing. Eddie Jackson rocked like hell on that bass too, providing some sweet backing vocals too. Scott's drum setup was really cool, he has like this glass-paned thing around part of it, kinda weird but neat. And of cours ehis performance was tops, always reigning the band in when they went off beat a little (which happened I think twice) and keeping the rhythm section staunch. Pamela Moore, wow,
She's hot, she can sing, she can act, fuck! Absolutely brilliant performance as Mary. The junkie dude who played Nikki was casted well too, he did a nice job when he had to. Shit there's just such an enormous amount of things to try and go over, I can't begin to start. The Mindcrime II stuff sounds 100000x better live too, Murderer? was stunning. All the songs were fantastic though, well expect Speed Of Light. Awful tune. But the last like 3 or 4 songs really brought the show to a fitting end, melancholic and sad. The Pink Floyd-ish stuff was really cool too, that version of Circle they do live pwns the album version. Seeing it live made me see the concept of the album in a whole new light too; this is a political commentary, but more than anything, it is a love story. Reminds me of "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller in a way. Maybe I'll try and elaborate my theory on this one day, but that's about the most profound thing I got so far
Obviously 'Mindcrime' went down a storm, Eyes Of A Stranger made my entire body like go into temporary shock
Every song was unbelievable. I'm really sorry that this review sucks, but even two days later I'm feeling that major post-show high, and its hard to organize my thoughts. Sorry I can't be more detailed or helpful, but let me sum it up by saying this: GO SEE QUEENSRYCHE ON THIS TOUR. Even if you don't like Mindcrime II, I swear it sounds amazing live. I disliked it at first, but I hear it so differently now.
All in all, I think this could be a top 5 show for me all time. I can safely say it crapped all over Gigantour, and gave Tool/Isis a good run for its money
Thank you so much Queensryche for the heartfelt, emotionally charged, kickfuckingass show. I will see it as many more times as you want to bring it to SF!
Operation: Mindcrime II
Walk In The Shadows
Take Hold Of The Flame