Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theater, St Charles (US)

QUEENSRŸCHE / QUIET RIOT

Date: 18th January, 2014
Venue: Arcada Theater
Ticket Price: $29 - $95 (€22 - €70)
Promoter: Oshows


Winter has been a little bit extreme (especially if you compare it with the last couple of years) and that Saturday was no exception; the snow kept falling non-stop and the weather advisor was kind of jeopardizing the trip to St Charles for the reprise of the “Operation: Mindcrime” show from Geoff Tate’s QUEENSRŸCHE (I hope that they will settle this legal argument about the name-rights because this two-edition band is kind of ridiculous to say the least, since I believe the quality of the music has nothing to do with the name one band is using...). Anyway, the weather was good for us as far as the snow-falling was concerned. In other words, doubling the commuting time seemed to be a solid plan to get to Arcada Theatre on time to catch QUIET RIOT onstage. In fact, QUIET RIOT was one of the reasons in our list-of-reasons to attend this show, since we haven’t the chance to see live this awesome band during its prime with the super-star lineup.

Despite the additional driving time (yup, it took us almost the double amount of time on the road), we entered the always nice (but kind of pricy) theater while QUIET RIOT were already onstage playing “Sign Of The Times”. There are only two original members in the band’s lineup and, in fact, there is a brand new addition behind the mic that is Jizzy Pearl of the LOVE/HATE fame. Ok, this was the closest one could possible get to the band who has branded the Metal scene with “Metal Health”, so it would be foolish to say ‘no’. As expected, the average age of the audience was well-above 40, so I guess this was the reason for everybody sitting down during the show. I think this fact took some of the band’s dynamics, even though the musicians were far from being considered as new kids on the block. Anyway, Jizzy Pearl had the moves and the onstage presence to break some of the ice and I think as the setlist progressed, the audience became more responsive. Jizzy’s harsh and melodic vocals sound like a very good fit for QUIET RIOT, so I am really curious to see what this re-activated band is capable to produce in the studio anno 2014. Frankie Banali looked absolutely in great shape as he pounded the drum skins keeping the rhythm section super tight, backed up by the veteran bassist Chuck Wright. Alex Grossi took care of the guitars but I think visually seemed too Glam for QUIET RIOT, but on the other hand, this can be just a matter of taste. One more thing that can be considered as a complaint was the mix of the guitar sound that I think was not as loud as I’d like (expect), especially during the rhythm parts like in the hard-hitting and ultra-groovy “Condition Critical”. And I guess this is why the band sounded a little harsher and less melodic than in the studio versions.

After “Put Up Or Shut Up”, Chuck introduced Frankie Banali who left his drum kit and stood in the center of the stage. After some jokes, he turned really serious as he talked about Randy Rhoads and Kevin DuBrow who have played a really important role in building the band’s reputation. Frankie’s words sounded coming straight from the heart and I think everyone was moved, especially during the one-minute’s silence that followed as a small token for the departed musicians. “Thuderbird” came to dress this lingering sadness with music before getting us to a party mood with “Party All Night”. At this point, I think the majority of the people inside Arcada (there might be 500 faces inside the venue at that time) got connected with the onstage activities, especially during my personal favorite “Breathless” where in my opinion Jizzy nailed the vocal parts. Ok, the bass solo was not the cleverest idea at this point of the setlist, but fortunately “Let’s Get Crazy” restored the party-mood before another interruption… this time it was a guitar solo and honestly I did not find it as something special. The band resumed the song and dropped the curtain with a two-song blast, starting off with the famous SLADE cover “Cum On Feel The Noise” and climaxing with the all-time-classic “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”.

I cannot predict what this version of QUIET RIOT can do in the studio, but I am very grateful I got the chance to listen to some songs that painted my childhood with vivid Hard Rock colors. Yeah, I was moved by “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” despite the fact that I could see only a couple of heads banging (including mine) during this trademark track.

QUIET RIOT setlist:

01. “Run For Cover”
02. “Slick Black Cadillac”
03. “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”
04. “Sign Of The Times”
05. “Love’s A Bitch”
06. “Condition Critical”
07. “Put Up Or Shut Up”
08. “Thunderbird”
09. “Party All Night”
10. “Breathless”
11. Bass Solo
12. “The Wild And The Young”
13. “Let's Get Crazy”
14. Guitar Solo
15. “Let's Get Crazy”
16. “Cum On Feel The Noize”
17. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”

QUIET RIOT

Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US)
Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Quiet Riot @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US)

(click to enlarge)


One could spend a lot of words arguing whether going to the “Operation: Mindcrime” 25th anniversary could be of any benefit, but my sole response to that would be that this is probably one of the best concept albums in Metal, so listening to the entire thing one more time live (and most probably, the last) was nothing to be missed. So, leaving on the side the rather awkward air-guitar competition we witnessed during the break, it was time once again to listen to the trademark opening lines “I remember now, I remember how it started” as the curtains were lifted, welcoming QUEENSRŸCHE onstage (and from now on I will stopped using the Tate’s tag). The first thing that became quickly evident is that after all those live dates, the band had already ironed out the stage performance, leaving on the side all the anxiety this demanding to-perform album has. But that was not all; this time the lineup had Rudy Sarzo onstage and even though I have watched him live before, this was the first one I witnessed his fantastic bass-work in full. I mean, the previous time I watched the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ show it was all about Tate and his theatrical performance, leaving almost nothing else to watch (or better observe) onstage. But having the constantly-moving Rudy and his huge arsenal of stage-poses was super-awesome. The expression “the bass looks like a physical extension to his body” fully applies to Rudy’s onstage-action and really it becomes captivating while waking up memories how it felt watching bands putting 110% on playing live. What I am trying to say is that bassists like Mr. Sarzo are extremely hard to find nowadays...

“Suite Sister Mary” did not sound as hair-rising as the previous time, featuring also Sass Jordan in Mary’s role, who stayed onstage for almost the rest of the “Mindcrime” set and did some backing-singing while headbanging (!) every time Rudy or Kelly Gray approached her in order to make her feel like part of the team. In fact, the audience felt kind of weaker than the last time and this also caught Geoff’s attention who made a joke but I am sure it will be on YouTube to prove how evil he is… On the other hand, singing-wise Geoff sounded better, especially during the higher-pitches. Yes, the sound was crystal clear, the 45+ years old fans had the time of their lives while the entire band seemed to bounceback that energy, giving its best to satisfy the hungry for ‘intelligent Metal’ audience. Surprisingly the crowd reacted during the faster “The Needle Lies” and there was even some loud singing-along during the chorus, while things got almost steamy during the super-hit “I Don’t Believe In Love”, putting easily this moment to the night’s highlight ones. By the way, the bass lines during the slow parts sounded absolutely fantastic and on top of that, Rudy made it look like it was the easiest thing to do playing while walking up and down the stage.

Robert Sarzo looked more confident dealing with the guitar leads and moved a whole more than last time while made a nice guitar duet with Gray who, as Geoff introduced him, was the new sheriff in town. I think the fact he was actually wearing a sheriff star was something of an inside joke, but I’m not sure if this went through the majority of the audience. “Eyes Of A Stranger” sounded absolutely great and I think the audience’s reaction helped putting a powerful ending to the “Operation: Mindcrime” set that I have to admit went by extremely fast, leaving also a sense of sadness being most probably the last time to be performed live.

The short goodnight underlined the ending of the regular setlist, but no one moved an inch without getting a couple more hits, especially from the multi-platinum “Empire”. Due to the once again amazing bass sound, I chose “Jet City Woman” as the climax of the encore part and I have to give extra kudos to the sound technician for the excellent mix. Sure, there could have been a couple of changes in the encore (I wouldn’t mind at all trading “Silent Lucidity” with any track from “Promised Land”) but at the same time, I kind of understand there was no point rehearsing more tracks for just a couple of shows. However, my metalhead-thinking mind says it shouldn’t have been such a big deal to make some changes in the setlist or even include a cover track like the previous time where BLACK SABBATH’s “Neon Knights” was included... But the band looked (and most importantly) sounded better than the previous time, so I think this was the best way to let “Operation: Mindcrime” rest, unless the other QUEENSRŸCHE version decides to make another anniversary (you never know, right?). In any case, it was an extremely tight performance that rewarded all the trouble and the driving-anxiety that night...

QUEENSRŸCHE setlist:

01. “I Remember Now”
02. “Anarchy-X”
03. “Revolution Calling”
04. “Operation: Mindcrime”
05. “Speak”
06. Drum Solo
07. “Spreading The Disease”
08. “The Mission”
09. “Suite Sister Mary”
10. “The Needle Lies”
11. “Electric Requiem”
12. “Breaking The Silence”
13. “I Don't Believe In Love”
14. “Waiting For 22”
15. “My Empty Room”
16. “Eyes Of A Stranger”
17. “Silent Lucidity”
18. “Best I Can”
19. “Jet City Woman”
20. “Empire”

QUEENSRŸCHE

Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US)
Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) Queensryche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US)

(click to enlarge)