Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
The chance to see one of the tightest metal acts on the planet is one that should never be missed. Now in their fourth decade, Queensrÿche are stronger than ever. A powerful live unit, bolstered these days by the skills of Kamelot drummer Casey Grillo, Parker Lundgren on guitar and the stunning pipes of Todd La Torre, the band are once again riding high on festival bills reminding crowds of thousands just why they more than deserve such an elevated position.
The band, on their 3rd album with Todd La Torre (and their best with him), have experienced something of a resurgence in recent years. The latest album, The Verdict, does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s the correct decision, the result of almost 8 years of work with La Torre that has produced an album that gives Queensrÿche fans a band that they can believe in once again. Capturing the essence of the band perfectly, their stop off at Bloodstock was part of a tour that saw also them performing in decent sized theatres. The sort of venues that the band that once brought us Rage for Order, Operation Mindcrime and Empire, should rightfully should be doing.
But to the performance at Bloodstock, on the Sunday evening, the last band on the main stage before Scorpions closed the festival. A set that whilst technically proficient, saw Scorpions seem slightly flat thanks in part to the crowd wanting more metal than rock and perhaps not the sort of note perfect, flawless, polished hard rock that Scorpions have spent 50 plus years honing.
Queensrÿche had a little more breathing space. Not required to bring ‘the show and the theatrics’ like the headline acts do but afforded an hour of stage time to convince the crowd that their particular brand of metal fitted seamlessly into the Bloodstock agenda.
Bloodstock offers attendees the opportunity to watch hardcore acts, extreme metal bands, death metal outfits, traditional heavy metal, hard rock, progressive metal and more all under the same umbrella and as such attracts the most diverse of bills. The respect from the fans however is universal. It doesn’t matter what floats your boat, everyone seems willing to ‘give them a go’. The benefit of the doubt is always given and as such, a packed crowd, that had only the night before watched Parkway Drive destroy Catton Hall, were the willing recipients of 60 minutes of music from Queensrÿche that saw the band mix old an new to create the perfect blend.
New music kicked off proceedings with Blood of the Levant, from the latest album and proof of the band’s level of confidence in the new material that they didn’t need to lead with one of the ‘classics’.
There will of course be the ‘purists’ that still want the original line up etc.. but I for one look at it pragmatically. There are now two acts out there playing the music I love which means double the chance to catch and see songs from some of my favorite albums performed live. Win win all round.
There were no such calls from the open minded Bloodstock faithful who took in the band (some for the first time) and showed ample appreciation.
Tracks from ‘Rage for Order‘ reminded us of that turning point for the band as they became the thinking man’s metal band globally. Tracks from Operation Mindcrime naturally got a great reception and by closing with both Empire and Eyes of a Stranger the band could do no wrong.
How then could Scorpions follow that? If I’m honest I don’t think they did.
(Intro:) Launder the Conscience
Blood of the Levant
I Am I
Walk in the Shadows
Queen of the Reich
Screaming in Digital
Take Hold of the Flame
Jet City Woman
Eyes of a Stranger (with Anarchy-X outro)
If you missed the band, they are currently in the US on tour and return to Europe and the UK later this year: