Oddly enough this is the first time I've seen Queensryche. I was due to go once before when Geoff Tate was in the band a few years ago but something happened and I couldn't make it. This time I thought let me give them a shot with new man Todd La Torre and see how they are. I've never been a huge fan of the band and their best album Operation Mindcrime which gathers massive praise in the metal community is merely a good album in my opinion. I've always thought Tate was a cool singer though and he had such a distinctive tone that you know it's him from the first note.
Of course Geoff is not here tonight but the chap who is here is a note for note perfect replacement but more on that later. Two famous support bands were on the bill in the packed out Electric Ballroom in Camden. First up were thrashers Death Angel. I enjoyed their last album quite a bit but I've never been huge into the band. But their live energy is through the roof and they know how to get a metal crowd reaching fever pitch. Although this particular crowd was not their own and it was a touch harder going for them. These were not veteran thrash fans by any means so getting them moving or jumping was a slightly harder job. Still Death Angel played damn well in their allotted time and were afforded a crisp sound mix. Nice start indeed.
Next up were Armored Saint and their classic brand of heavy metal. Of course this was my first time seeing the Saint here in the UK and I must admit I was rather taken with their performance. John bush sounded great on vocals and his band mates strike a decent array of catchy tunes and steady riffage to keep the punters heads moving. John Bush comes across as a very cool and amiable front man I must say. For some reason I didn't listen to the new AS album as of yet but I should remedy this situation sooner or later. The guys were very cool and went down very well by the packed floor of more than 700 at a guess.
Finally it was Queensryche's turn to impress their fans with their brand of thinking man's metal. All eyes were on Todd La Torre as he sings the first few words to the opening song. People are looking for mistakes etc or his tone but the guy was pitch perfect all night. The only problem with Todd seems to be some of his own character seems to be lost in trying to sing the songs as close to Tate as possible. He shouldn't feel he's in a competition with Tate in my opinion and just do his own thing but more often than not you get the impression he's trying to out-Tate Tate. Having said that the guys sings perfectly and brings to the table what Tate refused to bring and that is to recognise older classic songs that the fans loved so much.
The only problem I had with the band live is that they can come off sounding a touch bored. I mean they play the songs flawlessly and Todd sings flawlessly but is the emotion sometimes lost? I just get the feeling they can do a bit better than this or maybe I've just got the wrong end of the stick. The highlights of the night were numerous as most songs were sung to perfection with large crowd participation. Todd is an engaging front man even when he's not singing so no problem on that score. He gets the crowd fully involved and this particular crowd needed no second invitation to join in all the classic hits. The sound of the band is spot on as well with a perfectly clear live sound.
I doubt I will go to see Queensryche again but it was definitely worth it to see them once even though they were without the true voice of the band. Maybe I should go to see Operation Mindcrime the band if they come this way and contrast and compare. Definitely would be interesting if nothing else!
Breaking the Silence
Walk in the Shadows
Where Dreams Go to Die
The Needle Lies
Arrow of Time
Eyes of a Stranger
Queen of the Reich
Take Hold of the Flame