Queensrÿche @ Mojoes, Joliet (US)

QUEENSRŸCHE / HURRICANE / LOVEBLAST

Date: 18th May, 2014
Venue: Mojoes
Ticket: $30/35/60 (VIP) (€22/26/44)
Promoter: n/a


DimK: I believe everyone knows the story behind the battle for the rights of the QUEENSRŸCHE brand (yes, the moment there is money involved, a band name becomes a brand name) and how it ended, so there is no point making the distinction what version we went to see at Mojoes’. What really matters is that “Operation Mindcrime” is one of the best Metal concept albums out there, so listening to the entire tracklist one more and most probably last time (never say never in life) live, was a convincing reason to drive to Joliet that nice Sunday evening. The after dinner siesta (remember it was a Sunday) did not leave enough time to get to the venue early enough to watch the entire setlist of LOVEBLAST that was the first supporting band of the billing. However, I don’t think we missed something special, since this band’s rather generic Sleaze Hard Rock didn’t have an extra oomph to keep us interested. Sure, LOVEBLAST looked and sounded like they have done a fair amount of onstage tours of duty, but musically it sounded predictable and over-played.

MariaV: Next on the billing was HURRICANE, a band from the past, originally featured the current FOREIGNER lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, when it managed to create quite a fuss in the mid-80s, securing a record deal with Enigma Records. As it happened with many bands of that period of time, things did not continue running on the gathered momentum and somewhere in the early 00s, HURRICANE entered a hiatus status. Four years ago, original members Robert Sarzo and Tony Cavazo got together and resurrected HURRICANE, and since Robert was part of Geoff Tate’s band, it seemed like a good idea to do some shows together. It is really nice seeing old bands getting back to business and I think they work better than they did in the past, even though the initial drive was lost on the side of the years that passed.

Anyway, without bells and whistles HURRICANE appeared onstage and kicked off the setlist with “Messin’ With A Hurricane”. Robert was the dominating figure onstage and even though there was not enough space to move, he did a fair amount of guitar poses and in the end got the first rows going, enticing the appetite for some nice US Hard Rock. Jason Ames, who was with Tate’s solo band, was the singer of HURRICANE and I think he did really well singing all those two decades old tunes. “I’m Eighteen” sounded awesome and the slow tempo gave the space for Tony to shine with his hard hitting bass work, while I have to tip my hat off to Jason for delivering the quite demanding vocal lines of the original recording of this Alice Cooper cover. The HURRICANE frontman introduced Tony by saying that he was the one who wrote the most recognizable Metal song, entitled “Bang Your Head”, for his brother (yes, of the QUIET RIOT fame) and then joked about the royalties. “The last song of the night will take us back to the days when the letter ‘M’ of the MTV logo actually stood for music” said Jason and let the HURRICANE hit to drop the curtain of pretty enjoyable 30 minutes.

HURRICANE setlist:

01. “Messin’ With A Hurricane”
02. “Take What You Want”
03. “Insane”
04. “I’m Eighteen”
05. “Over The Edge”
06. “I’m On To You”

HURRICANE

Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Hurricane @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: There was no projection screen set-up in Mojoes’, just a backdrop with the QUEENSRŸCHE tribal logo, so we only got the audio version of the “I Remember Now” intro, but still the audience’s excitement was in high-decibel levels. The band members walked onstage one by one (except Tate) and kicked off the setlist with “Anarchy-X”. The sound quality was very good but part of the energy this lineup had in the previous shows was missing. Sure, the Vu-Du man Robert Sarzo continued with pretty much the same momentum from the HURRICANE set but his brother was very much stationary. And if you have seen Rudy onstage, then you should be very much aware of his high-energetic performance and all his characteristic bass-holding poses. Maybe he had a muscle strain that had him pinned down, so I hope it was nothing serious. So, most of the onstage movement was done by the guitar-duo of Robert and the Sheriff (a.k.a. Kelly Gray) who I think covered more grounds as opposed to the previous shows. No matter what, Geoff drew all the attention the moment he entered the stage and started singing the opening lines of “Revolution Calling”. Even if you are a Tate-hater (but still you have some functional brain matter inside your skull), you should be able to acknowledge his high-quality performing and especially his expressional singing that goes hand-in-hand with the always current lyrics of this amazing concept. There was a lot of singing by the audience inside the venue (I’d estimate something around 300), something that gave extra energy to the band that I think was looking a little bit tired. After “Speak”, Geoff introduced the album (especially for those who were experienced it for the first time) by saying “Operation: Mindcrime” is an album written about revolution but also about terrorism, and with a raised fist, he started naming towns that had suffered a terrorist attack, and New York, Boston, Oklahoma City were amongst them. It’s amazing and shocking at the same time realizing that the concept of this album can be still applied in the days we are living, even though there has been 25 years since its release. Yeah, humankind is still stupid and people like to follow politicians / political parties without thinking much…

A drum solo followed and honestly it was nothing special, especially if you consider it was too early on the setlist and hence it felt obsolete. The only way to accept its position is the way it flowed to “Spreading The Disease”. An acoustic guitar was placed on Robert’s side who started playing the characteristic arpeggios of “The Mission”, while Geoff nailed the vocals one more time (I can feel the haters’ piercing evil look). And this was where the “Operation: Mindcrime” tracklist started climaxing and one of the most powerful songs is “Suite Sister Mary”. Yeah, the transition from the clean to the distorted guitars along with the backing vocals (those were pre-recorded or keyboard-produced) gave me goosebumps like it did in the previous shows. By the way, the Mary parts were once again sung by Jordan Sass. Even though Tate stopped the band somewhere during the beginning and said “if you’re sitting down, then you’re too old for this” addressing everyone who has sitting before, to my delight, “The Needle Lies” got one of the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd, and especially the “You'll never get away” sing-along sounded absolutely fantastic, so kudos to everyone who was in Mojoes’ that night, no matter the age.

It was time to slow things a little bit starting with the instrumental “Electric Requiem” and it was fun watching Robert playing the guitar with a violin bow (this will always remind me of “Still Of The Night” and Steve Vai). As it was expected, “Breaking The Silence” saw more people singing and everything exploded with “I Don’t Believe In Love”. Yeah, things were heating up as we’re slowly approaching the dropping-the-curtain part for this most-successful concept album with “My Empty Room” and the hit-song “Eyes Of the Stranger”. Geoff’s performance and especially the higher-pitched part that leads to “Eyes Of the Stranger” was one of those highlights that you noticed after having seeing the same setlist more than once; just awesome! It was time to say goodbye to this album for most probably a long period of time because the upcoming Tate-fronted QUEENSRŸCHE live dates will feature a selection of songs. This gave mixed feelings but also a sense of closure, since the two-parties have reached an agreement, so I am sure that some years later no one will remember what exactly happened.

Honestly, I’d prefer that this would be the end of the show and keep the last flavor of the “Operation: Mindcrime” in mind, but at the same time, it would be a rather short setlist, so there was an encore. So, Tate went ahead with the same “Silence In Tennessee” story before the super-hit ballad “Silent Lucidity” (sorry, but I personally don’t like this one) before leading to the end of the show with the powerful quartet “Best I Can”, “Another Rainy Night”, “Jet City Woman” and - of course - “Empire” during which almost everyone inside the venue was singing. Sure, I’d love to see different songs in the encore but overall this was a great show honoring for the last time “Operation: Mindcrime” and based on the post-set reaction, everyone was more than satisfied. I think it is the right time for everyone to move past this long-lasting QUEENSRŸCHE battle between the fans and - why not? - enjoy the music that will come from both parties.

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. “Another Rainy Night (Without You)”
20. “Jet City Woman”
21. “Empire”

QUEENSRŸCHE

Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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