Photos by: Julius Richardson
Words by: Shadow Editor
Is not everyday you see one of your all time favorite bands playing a local gig, in a city they hadn’t played in since the Empire tour in the 90’s. Such was the case this evening as Progressive Metal icons Queensrÿche came to Huntsville at The Mars Music Hall. If you have been following our articles here on site, then you know the amount of gigs Mars was getting and had already booked for the year. Of course all of this was preceding the Pandemic days we are all living through right now. As you know all the concerts, public event gathering, tours etc have been closed and postponed until further notice. This was the last concert we covered before the world changed.
This night opened up with with NYC’s Eve to Adam. We had not covered these guys before and although the performance was a bit lukewarm, I will say is always tough to open things up with half the crowd there. They did their best, perhaps another try. Their sound was tight just didn’t feel their performance raised any expectations I didn’t have about not having seen their act before.
We move on to John 5, the guitar virtuoso, who has seemingly made a name for himself in the Metal world not only with his visually mesmerizing shows, but his technicality on the strings is to be admired. We have covered him before, but to see it live was something to behold. I will say that we saw a bunch of John 5 fans from all ages there we’re there just to see him, which I was a bit surprised about. The set backdrop had all kinds of horror movies playing, dark, American horror classic themes; which surrounds his interesting array of styles that are covered during his set quite well.
He opened up with “Crank It”, “666 Shooter” and “Zoinks”. The beauty of his show is the varied styles, that’s it he can play just about anything on the guitar, amazing quickness and refreshing enthusiasm. “I Am John 5” and “Midnight Mass” we’re big highlights and the same for the freaking awesome end medley which covered a ridiculous amount of cult classic songs. This was by far the most interesting performance of the night, and I dare not say that it was better than QR simply because they are completely different contrasting styles. Even Whip mentioned the contrast of bands on the bill to better balance out performance. I think it was successful. You couldn’t help but to smile after that fantastic John 5 performance.
QR crew finally gets all the pieces in place, and the band comes on stage promptly. And to save you the hassle or stress of which singer is better, I’m not concerned about that because the fact of the matter is that both Geoff Tate and Todd La Torre are both fabulous vocalists, simple that’s a fact whether you like the Tate era or not it doesn’t matter. Todd can carry a tune and is probably the closest thing that anybody can get to Tate’s hay days.
The setlist moves very quickly as classics like “Operation Mindcrime” and “Walk In The Shadows” rise to perfection. “Man The Machine” a newer number sounds really good live, proving that QR new direction in sound has them creating something new and refreshing, that should appeal to new fans and some old fans as well. Another classic plays in “The Needle Lies” and of course no QR set would be complete without “Silent Lucidity”.
My favorite cut of the night comes via the dark and evil vibes of “Screaming in Digital” quietly one of the best QR songs they have ever done, Todd sounds wicked in this and their sound just implodes all through the song. Can we please get more songs like this on the next album?
Encore comes at you with “No Sanctuary”, “Empire” and “Eyes of a Stranger” again if Tate had a little brother it would probably be Todd. But to be real here, I think Queensrÿche has managed to keep pushing forward in times of separation. We see it all the time when bands split, their famous vocalist leaves now what? You could call it quits, but to find a replacement, and start brewing your own ideas and just bring your sound more current is what was needed in the QR camp, I think most fans will agree with this.
It was an honor to see them live locally, and it’s a damn shame that this turned out to be the last show for probably the summer and god knows for how long. Final last words from us here is that when we beat this horrible pandemic and the challenge the world is facing, we will need to support the bands locally and around the country more than ever before. Touring and Festivals are the reason so many bands even stay around today (main reason is YOU the fans). The challenges of the music scene now toppled an uncertain economy will leave us with more opportunity to see more bands and help them help you. Let’s all stay together, fight together, stay safe and calm and Let There Always Be Rock!!!