Musicians know all about noise. Immersed in a world of different sounds, they can tune and tweak, and in most senses they can control the output. The one sound they can’t live with but they are all fully aware of is silence. Ozzy used to talk about it in the early Black Sabbath days, pacing for hours before a show, sick to his stomach that nobody would show up. The 30 minutes prior to taking the stage tell the story. Saturday night in Milwaukee (Wis), Queensryche must have been ecstatic with the bustling sounds reverberating throughout a jam packed hall full of anxious fans. By the time they hit the stage, they had it on lock.
Scott Rockenfield slammed the drum heads with precision and aggression as the large video screen projected the visuals that accompanied the electric opener, Guardian, from their new album Condition Human. Todd La Torre, in black leather jacket and black jeans, opened his arms and his expansive vocal range to a raucous crowd that spilled outside the doors and around the back of the balcony. Confident and warm, La Torre was in full command all night, working through the 30 year catalogue with passion.
Early in the set it was Best I Can (Empire) and Killing Words (Rage For Order) that brought wild screams and wannabe rock n rollers to a heightened state. Later, a return to Anybody Listening amazed, but the pre-encore highlight may have come in the melodic gem Bulletproof that features Parker Lundgren weaving sublime solo work. And as incredible as Lundgren is, when Michael Wilton marches to the middle of the stage with that now signature black skull adorned axe, the faithful immediately take notice, awaiting his wizardry. Milwaukee was treated to several trips down memory lane, all performed masterfully, all with a fresh energy that is redefining one of the most legendary bands in metal history.
Speaking of epic, any time a solitary note from Operation Mindcrime was thumped from Eddie Jackson’s bass, the fever rose. Of particular interest was the crystal clear, The Mission, that thrilled those dedicated to what many consider the best concept album of all time. While the title-track was superb, it was the encore closer, Eyes Of A Stranger, that put security on alert. A perfect way to conclude a night of sensational music, it even brought one female fan to actual tears. I asked her friend about her condition, and she remarked, “She’s done this before. She get’s too worked up every time we see Queensryche. I thought she was gonna make it through the entire show for once. But no.”
Was it that good?
Find out for yourself as these road warriors continue to bring the goods to a town near you. One thing is for sure, and that’s Queensryche sounds better than ever. If you doubt that, considering it overblown hyperbole, ask around. I did after the show, wanting to confirm what I believed. Over and over it was second verse same as the first- this is one incredible band, on a mission, working together and wowing fans.
Shepherd Says- With loyal fans like Chris and Jeremy from Madison, we may be blessed with another tour stop in the future. I’ll be there. Hope you will as well.
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