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Queensryche Gives Rock-Opera Performance

Queensryche Friday, May 26, The Gorge

In a recent phone interview, Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield promised that Friday’s Queensryche concert would be “multimedia meets Broadway meets rock ‘n’ roll.”

He couldn’t have been more right.

Queensryche’s show at The Gorge was a sensory bombardment of music, lights, video effects, film, samples and theatrics.

More than an elaborate stage show, the dazzling display was a full-blown, ‘90s-style rock opera.

The focus of the production was on the band’s latest album, “Promised Land,” though it intermingled songs from “Empire” and “Operation Mindcrime” to add to the story.

Every song was carefully chosen and served a purpose in telling the story of a man, played by singer Geoff Tate, searching for his identity, his values and, ultimately, the meaning of life.

In the process, he must overcome soul-deteriorating hurdles, i.e. addiction, delusion, betrayal, self-destruction, failed relationships and disappointment, and hit rock-bottom before he finds happiness.

Through the images projected onto the video screens, Queensryche’s thought-provoking, stirring songs and Tate’s rants, the band successfully bridged music with a story line.

Musically, Queensryche was tight, polished and impeccable. The songs played out exactly the way they do on disc, except the guitars were much louder and more fierce.

Tate, who has one of the most farreaching voices in the business, turned in an amazing vocal performance. Not only did he fly into the heavens with his golden throat during the tune “Operation Mindcrime,” but he also mined through subterranean grounds in “Silent Lucidity.” On “Empire,” he showed prudence in balancing both.

A third of the way into the show, Queensryche blasted into the furious “Operation Mindcrime,” the band’s highly intelligent concept album. To the crowd’s delight, the progressive rock unit played several selections from the recording.

Renditions of “Spreading the Disease,” “Revolution Calling,” “Eyes of a Stranger” and “I Don’t Believe in Love” stood out, as did the song “Real World” (from “The Last Action Hero” soundtrack), which segued nicely into the “Operation Mindcrime” portion of the show.

The group brought out actors and a set for the performance of the song “Promised Land.” The night’s stormiest moment was introduced by a brief film. When the song commenced, Tate, sitting at the bar, acted/sang the part of a man at the end of his rope.

I overheard one disappointed fan leaving the show say, “They didn’t play ‘Last Time in Paris’ and ‘Another Rainy Night.”’

True, Queensryche didn’t play many of its hits. The quintet didn’t play a lot of songs. In fact, the vast majority of the material performed came from Queensryche’s three most recent albums.

The band only included the hits that fit the mold of the show and omitted the ones that didn’t. The two aforementioned songs, though they would have been well-received by the crowd, would have disrupted the flow of the show.