Queensryche

4/24/04 The Avalon - Boston, MA

Live review

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Queensryche hit the stage at the Avalon with all the force and emotion fitting an arena rock band. They tore into the set with a ferocity that the new garage bands, who are saving rock according to some, could only aspire to. The mission was simple: have a goodtime, play huge and put to rest any ideas that Queensryche was bland retread of glory days gone by. (Read: some band with four letters and make-upÖ..) This was a band that was completely into the music and performing, devoid of any of that hipster smarminess. It was a pure joy to watch a group absorbed by their music and not their aura of coolness.

The set was divided into three parts. The first was devoted to newer material like the opener "Tribe" from their latest disc and "Hit the Black" from The Promised Land. After about seven songs or so, the set eased in an acoustic mode. Given the bandís performance on MTVís Unplugged, it wasnít surprising. What was, though, was putting "Silent Lucidity" at the end of the three song acoustic set. The crowd gave it's biggest reaction of the night, so far, to this mega-hit. Not even the fan favorite "Roads to Madness", which preceded it, drew more applause. The acoustic treatment of "Roads" was amazing. The epic gained emotional punch and clarity with the transformation of the tones and melodies when those amps were turned off. The stage lights went down and the dual screens came to life with the animated intro to "Operation:Mindcrime". The crowd roared it's approval for the second time. Cranking the amps on overdrive, Queensryche blasted out the opening strands of "I Remember Now". This was a rousing beginning to the third and final part of the set. Consummate with the change in mood, lead vocalist Geoff Tate changed from his feel-good attire and donned the universal symbol of malcontent: the black leather motorcycle jacket. He worked the crowd like he owned Landsdown Street. His voice sounded the best it has in years. There was a new found conviction brought to the material. I believe itís due to the fact a concept album from 1988 about ultra-rightwing conservatism and government conspiracy rings just as true now as it did back then. During the interlude monologue of "Spreading The Disease" Tate stops short of name dropping the "Iraq Occupation/War on Terror" but gave the audience that I-know-whatís-going-on look. The band was tight and with Pamela Moore reprising her role as Sister Mary, as well as doing back up vocals, the "Mindcrime" suite had extra sonic punch. [It was slightly unnerving, however, to be at a general admission show and not have to dodge crowd surfers and moshers.] Man, that woman IS fierce! Wow, was all I could say. Pamela Moore rocked and you should make the effort to catch her opening set. The night ended with 'Empire", a great song to end a great show.

A short rant in A-Major about Boston clubs: What the fuck is with this rock shows are early because of the dance night that begins at 11? And, I might add, a bar bill that was the gross national product of Bolivia? Granted, I was soused, but I could have bought enough Jager to fill a swimming pool with what you charged for a shot. (Yes, Jager, and the hangover fairy really smacked me for that one. You would think that with its medicinal taste, Jager would do more that completely shut down all common sense. Ya know?) Basically, get tanked early, hit the club when the sunís still up and donít order anything from the bar. Save the cash for your favorite dive were youíre sure to 'get more for your dollar'. (Major props to anyone who gets the tag line!!)

Reviewed by: lux_interior13