April 29, 2009 Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge, Kansas City, Mo.
by John Kindred
On a day when the rain left a hollow ring of blackness hanging on the edges of your sanity, Queensryche made a stop at the Voodoo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino in Kansas City, North. Known for their insightful lyrical explorations and their driving progressive compositions, the band continues to move forward after a fairly successful 25+ year-career.
Everyone knows by now that Chris DeGarmo is no longer a fixture within the framework of the band. That guitar slot has been a revolving door for years now. Queensryche consists of Geoff Tate (v), Michael Wilton (g), Eddie Jackson (b) and Scott Rockenfield, all original members from their heyday in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. For the American Soldier tour, the band has brought on guitarist Parker Lundgren as well as the keyboardist from Tate’s solo band.
Out on the road in support of their 11th studio album American Soldier, Queensryche continue their concept-oriented style of sweeping musical compositions; this time exploring the psyche of the U.S. military combat troop. Tate interviewed military veterans as well as active enlistees to develop an insightful introspective account of our military heroes, covering WW II to the present.
After spending considerable time performing the magnificent opus Operation Mindcrime live, the band shifts back to two other classic ‘Ryche albums and performs music from 1986’s Rage for Order and 1990’s Empire.
Rumor has it that there are varied set lists that the band is utilizing from city to city.
The Voodoo Lounge is a very intimate club with an available capacity of around 700 people. The space allows for fans to truly be at an arm’s length from artists. The balcony provides prime real estate to look down on the stage and watch the live performance unfold.
Tate and crew hit the stage at 8 pm. From the get go, it was evident that Rockenfield’s precise skin bashing and Tate’s searing vocals were the guiding force directing Queenryche’s dynamic sound. The band started off with digital sounds from the opening track from Rage for Order. For die-hard fans, the music is just as you remember it to be; metallic, progressive, driving, Tate’s vocals don’t seem to have aged or deteriorated one bit.
The new music from American Soldier made up the second act. With the album having been released in March, the fan base is still in a state of digestion of the concept and music. Tate spent time explaining to the audience the concept. His is own father was a Vietnam veteran and only recently let his son into that world, which he had kept to himself. It truly was a learning experience for Tate, who was inspired to put into words the stories of the American soldier. Fans who are interested should explore the lyrics and seek out the stories behind the songs.
The third act featured songs from Empire, which a friend kept referring to as their “greatest hits.” That is understandable as they performed songs, “Silent Lucidity” and “Jet City Woman,” which graced the airwaves when the album was fresh and new in the early ‘90s. What is cool about this era of Queensryche’s music is how the bass guitar was focal point to the music. “Jet City Woman” is a great example of Eddie Jackson’s cool bass riffs drive and pushes the song along. By the time the band rolled into the Empire-era song list, it appeared they had reached the pinnacle for tonight’s performance. Everything just kind of gelled, and the music had the same spirit and fire that you remember from the studio release.
Looking out on the crowd, fans in attendance could be seen singing along to “Hand on Heart,” “Silent Lucidity,” “Anybody Listening,” among many other to the great songs by the band. It is apparent that their passion for the music hasn’t changed over the years.
After a brief break, the band returned for a two-song encore, which turned out to be the songs “Empire” and “Take Hold of the Flame” from the album The Warning.
Having the pleasure of seeing Queensryche live in the early ‘90s, then again in ’06, it’s easy to see the draw to this band. From interacting with the band members during the meet and greet session after the show, you see that the band is humble, maybe even shy about their stardom. But they are willing to talk with fans. You can look at the relationship between fan and band as an extended family.
Rage For Order set:
I Dream In Infrared
Screaming In Digital
Walk In The Shadows
I Will Remember
American Soldier set:
If I Were King
Dead Man’s Words
Best I Can
The Thin Line
One And Only
Hand On Heart
Jet City Woman
Take Hold Of The Flame