Queensryche Concert Review Marquee Theater Tempe AZ 03-14-23
Progressive Metal Masters, Queensryche stormed The Marquee Theater in Tempe, AZ and unleashed a brilliant show that was nearly a two hour set of new material – as well as some of their prerequisite classics; for an all-inclusive show that spanned their impressive 40 year career.
Queensryche came to the stage with a set that was culled from six of their 16 studio LPs, with their latest LP, Digital Noise Alliance as the disc most represented from their vast catalogue. Digital Noise Alliance arguablly contains some of their best works to date, so it was truly great to hear this new material live. They could have easily played a full night of their hits or best-known works but instead, they opted to infuse their set with four great tracks from their Digital Noise Alliance LP that absolutely gave their show a much more dynamic and interesting dimension. From their latest LP, they assaulted the audience with a scorching version of “Behind The Wall” that features a real sweet dual guitar harmony solo from guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone; and the new songs Forrest, In Extreme and Sicdeth, each created an amazing musical landscape.
Now, with all that being said, some of their older material are most definitely prerequisites for every Queensryche fan, like playing most anything from their legendary LP, Operation Mindcrime. From that LP, they of course played “Eyes of a Stranger” which is always great to hear; but something that was a bit unexpected, was their decision to dig deep into that LP to pull out “Spreading the Disease” and “My Empty Room” which were presented as a couple of rarely played gems. They opened this night with the charging rocker, “Spreading the Disease” with it’s dynamic outro of sparce open chords and some real tasty drum fills by Casey Grillo. “My Empty Room” was the second to last song in their set, and both of these songs haven’t hit the stage since 2012. As you look at their set list for this night and their choice of material, we can see a reoccuring theme of digging deep into their catalogue, making this a night full of suprises and a great choice of material for both the band and the fans.
Going all the way back to 1984 from their first full LP The Warning, the band continued with some deep cuts showcasing ripping versions of Child of Fire, Deliverance and En Force that had the audience pumping fists throughout each song. “Deliverance” was especially nice, with it’s driving rhythms and a shredding melodic guitar solo from Michael Wilton, the guitarist who’s been with the band since the very beginning.
The band’s 1990 studio LP Empire, is now a classic for sure, and with a number of iconic tracks on that LP; it must have been hard to choose only two songs to represent that LP. Of course, the two songs from that LP, “Empire and Jet City Woman” are both pretty much synonymous with the bands’ name and it’s always great to see them performed live. The band is well known for their brilliant lead vocals and killer musicianship but what can often go un-noticed is their sweet backup vocals that really elevate a song’s melody. Bassist Eddie Jackson is not only an integral part of the band’s rock-solid foundation musically but live he also carries most of the backup vocals throughout the night, which really brings songs like “Jet City Woman” alive!
From their highly acclaimed LP Verdict, came two great tracks,” Inner Unrest and Light-Years” which La Torre and company always rip up. Something of interest to note from that LP is that singer Todd La Torre also played the drums when they recorded that LP due to the absence of drummer Scott Rockenfield. You can probably count on one hand the number of seriously brilliant singers like La Torre that can play drums in a progressive metal band with the ability to record the tracks for a couple of songs much less an entire LP; impressive indeed.
The last LP represented on this show was the 2013 self-titled LP, Queensryche which incidentally was the first studio LP to feature singer Todd La Torre. “Don’t Look Back” from that LP is a raging steam roller of a song and was the only song represented from this LP. The song starts off with all the guitars slicing out some really nasty chords while drummer Casey Grillo rips out a driving backbeat rhythm on his snare drum that gives way to a verse with hammering guitars; and of course La Torre, who belts out a mix of aggressive and wailing vocals. For whatever reason, this gem of a song has not been played on any tour previous and made is debut on stage on March 3rd of this year. So, without question, it was FN great to finally hear this song live – and the shredding dual harmony guitar solo was even better live than on disc.
Queensryche always gives their fans 110% with a show of brilliant progressive rock that never disappoints. Queensryche on this tour brings Marty Friedman as their direct support act, and this shred metal combination and rare paring of bands is not only an incredible rock show but a one time chance to see these two bedazzling bands on the same stage on the same night.
Get out to see this tour now! You’ll be glad you did!
Get into Queensryche at http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/