Fresh off their extended headlining jaunt, QUEENSRYCHE is temporarily taking the humbling support slot for this brief two-month road sojourn. Previewing the upcoming covers CD "Take Cover", the band took to the stage with the mid-tempo PINK FLOYD chestnut "Welcome to the Machine," showcasing a rarely seen Geoff Tate on sax. An odd choice to open a metal show, but the band quickly rebounded with the adrenaline inducing "The Needle Lies" and the ensuing set highlight "Surgical Strike" from the oft overlooked "Rage For Order". Delving briefly into "MindCrime II" for the neatly executed "Hostage" and "The Hands" before culminating in a dyad of radio staples "I Don't Believe In Love" and "Empire".
This was definitely the shortest set I've seen QUEENSRYCHE play since opening for KISS in 1984. Yet the band seemed crisp and energetic, even after their prolonged touring schedule. Geoff sounded terrific, effortlessly delivering the latter MTV hits, while avoiding some of the more difficult earlier material. His overtly dramatic stage presence effectively captivated each spectator with every nuance. It was a wonderful performance and a gallant effort all around.
But to me the chemistry of the band still hasn't been recaptured after the departure of Chris Degarmo. Although nothing tangible was ever lacking, the missing "magic spark" is still absent. Here's hoping Chris' recent flirtation with the band may someday come to fruition.
I've seen Alice a dozen times or more, and as always, he never disappoints. Every tour the set changes enough to keep the yearly pilgrims enticed. You'll always get the obvious singles, but it's the rotating third that keeps the show compelling. This year we got "Its Hot Tonight" as an opener, something I'd been futilely suggesting for years! Yay! Now since this was not entirely Alice's crowd, it was quickly onto the 70's radio hits for something everybody knows - Four in quick succession. God, the original band was brilliant. Unfortunately, "Feed My Frankenstein" followed. Though the only fly in the ointment, it's still embarrassingly juvenile. One has to wonder why it would still be creeping into the set (Its not like it was ever a hit?) But it was over shortly, and onto "Dirty Diamonds," the stirring title track off the latest studio CD. (An impressive true-to-form release for those who weren't paying attention.)
It's always interesting to see how the medleys will be assembled. You know that Alice will commit a crime, which ends in capital punishment, but the catalog is so rich that the possibilities of how he gets there are almost endless! True to form, the soundtrack to our ghoulish adventure provided some fresh twists and turns. Praise needs to go to Calico Cooper, who continues to grow into her role year after year. She convincingly alternated from Asian spy seductress ("Halo Of Flies") to abused spouse ("Only Woman Bleed") to sadistic nurse ("Ballad of Dwight Fry"). And that's all within a half an hour! The band was tight as always, though Kerri's playing seemed to be a little noisy at times. (Granted, the best sideman Alice ever had, Ryan Roxie, is truly irreplaceable.) Even with an abridged set of 70 minutes, Alice Cooper again provided his full concert spectacle, leaving us feeling as if we'd already gotten our monies worth.
And as if the night wasn't already spectacular, we still had our grand finale, HEAVEN & HELL! Having missed the spring leg of the tour, this was to be my first time witnessing this incarnation of BLACK SABBATH; a show I'd been anxious to see all year. And I was well rewarded for my patience! Now promoting a new concert DVD, "Live At Radio City", the band blazed through a scorching 90-minute set of material culled from the three Dio-era studio releases
Unfortunately, due to having three bands on the bill and a venue curfew, everyone had to shorten their performance. Even the presumed encore, "Neon Nights" fell prey to the house lights.
Past opener "After All" was now replaced with the velocious "Mob Rules", with Ronnie James Dio utterly commanding the stage. Completely mesmerizing. While I've been seeing DIO religiously in the clubs for the last 15 years, it was quite a treat to hear him through a state of the art arena P.A., with his voice reverberating through the cavernous hall.
Sadly, the three new studio tracks off of "The Dio Years" were also dropped. Fortunately, "Dehumanizer"'s "I" (one of my all time faves) was spared the axe and grandiosely delivered as a crushing wall of raw power. Geezer is a god. "Sign of the Southern Cross", with the almost psychedelic wah-wah bass pumping the verses along. Brilliant. "Voodoo" followed - Dark and seductive and evil. The whole band's firing on all cylinders. Then a quick breather for the drum solo (competently executed, but certainly expendable before one should drop classic staples) superseded by 1982's deep album track "Falling Off The Edge of The World". I was ecstatic, hearing some of this material live for the first time. Tony's solo came next, providing a haunting segue into "Die Young." His playing is still magnificent. That bleak and icy tone. Purely original. Lastly was the grand coda "Heaven and Hell," epitomizing the whole evening. Long, dramatic, and engulfing. Rising and swelling until the climatic ending rave-up. This is the essence of metal. Completely inspiring and life affirming.
This is what it's truly all about.
Check out other pictures from the show
Queensryche Line Up
Geoff Tate - Vocals, Sax
Scott Rockenfield - Drums
Michael Wilton - Guitar
Eddie Jackson - Bass
Mike Stone - Guitar
Welcome To The Machine
The Needle Lies
I Don't Believe In Love
Alice Gooper Line Up
Alice Cooper- Vocals
Eric Singer - Drums
Kerri Kelly - Guitar
Jason Hook - Guitar
Chuck Garric - Bass
Calico Cooper - Dancer / Actress
It's Hot Tonight (abridged)
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Billion Dollar Babies
Is It My Body
Feed My Frankenstein
Halo Of Flies / Solos
Welcome To My Nightmare / Only Woman Bleed / Steven medley
Ballad of Dwight Frye / (Hanging) I Love The Dead (outro)
Heaven and Hell Line Up
Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Tony Iommi - Guitars
Geezer Butler - Bass
Vinny Appice - Drums
Children Of The Sea
Sign Of The Southern Cross
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
Heaven and Hell