at The Community Theatre, Morristown, NJ

by Laru S. (August 3, 2011)

     Queensryche; A metal band? A progressive rock band? A hard rock band? An artsy band? Probably all of these, and much, much more. Though this tour is in support of their new album "Dedicated to Chaos", they played a set that covered each era of their ever-changing musical spectrum, in celebration of their 30th anniversary as a band. As frontman Geoff Tate said, "I loved Black Sabbath....hell, I loved Liberace. Genres were made up by record labels trying to sell records to a particular sect, but it's all music....some of it you like, some of it you don't. Whatever. It's all about the music man."

     What more can I say about Queensryche? 30 years of touring and albums, and they still do it better than most. Yes, Geoff Tate might not be able to hit every single note as he once did, but he is still the best there is. Drummer Scott Rockenfeld and bassist Eddie Jackson continue to lay down a groove like no other tandem can. Lead guitarist Michael Wilton re-creates his album sound flawlessly. Even 2nd guitarist Parker Lundgren and "utility" musician Jason Ames (Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals) do an admirable job of covering the parts once perfected by former 'Rycher Chris DeGarmo.

     Though they played at least one song from all 12 of their career album releases (and even a song from a movie soundtrack), my one criticism was that they failed to capitalize on their hit songs by interspersing them throughout the set. They started the night with a new song, the appropriately-titled "Get Started", a pop rocker, and followed that up with the hard rockin', "Damaged". A great start for a hard-core fan such as myself, but the Morristown crowd actually remained seated through both of these songs. They got a good pop from the crowd as they rose to their feet for "I Don't Believe In Love", from the epic "Operation: Mindcrime" album. Finally, it seemed the crowd was ready to rock. However, the band proceeded to play a series of songs from later releases, including 4 slow-tempo songs in succession, and once again they lost the crowd. The crowd was mostly luke-warm while the band moved to songs off their earliest albums, clearly waiting to hear the hits from "Empire" and "Mindcrime". Even when they finally played their biggest song, "Silent Lucidity" to end the set, the crowd was really just going through the motions, as if they were lulled to sleep and were now (ironically, given the subject of the song) in a dream state.

     They finally won the crowd over with 3 encores, all major hits. But it was too late, the crowd was just left wanting more, and wondering what the hell was going on throughout the whole heart of the set. As a lifelong fan of the band, I was satisfied with the songs chosen, but felt they could have mixed the setlist better to try to appease to the wants of the many while still satisfying the needs of the few.

Grade: B- (A- for musicianship, C for crowd response)

Get Started {Dedicated to Chaos}
Damaged {Promised Land}
I Don't Believe In Love {Operation:Mindcrime}
Hit the Black {Hear in the Now Frontier}
The Hands {Operation:Mindcrime II}
A Dead Man's Words {American Soldier} (featuring Geoff on horns and Jason Ames on co-lead vocal)
At 30,000 Feet {American Soldier}
The Rhythm of Hope {Tribe}
The Real World {Soundtrack from the motion picture "Last Action Hero"}
NM156 {The Warning}
Screaming In Digital {Rage for Order}
The Lady Wore Black {Queensryche EP}
Walk in the Shadows {Rage for Order}
The Right Side of My Mind {Q2K}
Around the World {Dedicated to Chaos}
Silent Lucidity {Empire}

Jet City Woman {Empire}
Empire {Empire}
Eyes of a Stranger {Operation:Mindcrime}
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None

Contact Laru S. at larus@knewgeneration.com