Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St. Charles (US)

QUEENSRŸCHE

Date: 19th September, 2019
Venue: Arcada Theatre
Ticket Price: $29 (€26) balcony / $79 (€72) main floor
Promoter: OShows


For some reason I had not seen QUEENSRŸCHE with Todd La Torre behind the mic and that was a shame, since I was fully aware that his voice is a perfect fit for the band. What I did not know is how well his voice performs live and especially on the old songs that are more demanding pitch-wise. Sure, YouTube have provided a rough idea of how a line-up performs live, but at the same time it is not the right platform to draw safe conclusions. After all, a live show means to be present and feel everything firsthand; from the band, the sound and the lights all the way to the response of the audience.

There were some technical difficulties and QUEENSRŸCHE hit the stage 20 minutes past the scheduled time, but I don’t think this disrupted the party atmosphere inside the theatre. The only downside was the absence of A/C that made us feel a little bit sticky, but soon that would not matter... Yeah, some minutes before 9pm, the lights went off and the hooded figure from the band’s latter album, “The Verdict”, showed up at the LED screen at the back of the stage. Everybody left their seat (this is a theater after all) as QUEENSRŸCHE entered the stage kicking off the set with “Blood Of The Levant” from the aforementioned album. Of course, I was curious to see Todd, and even though this was a new song, it became quickly clear that his voice does sound as awesome as it does in the studio. This is an important feat for this band where the vocals are almost as important and challenging as the music is.

“How is everyone doing tonight? This next one is from the “Promised Land” album”, said Todd before making my jaw drop with his performance in “I Am I”. By the way, I love this album and this means I know how awesome the studio version sounds, and therefore, hearing this gentleman hitting every note with impressive accuracy and power was amazing. Leaving all the ‘drama’ involved during the split with Tate and how long it took to resolve who will be using what, making such a change on the QUEENSRŸCHE lineup was an extremely tricky business. I mean, getting a singer with an entirely different voice would have been an option, but it would have been impossible to perform the old material as close to the originals. The next option was to find a voice with a timbre and range close to Tate’s and obviously this solution was chosen. Rightfully so, because Todd has the whole vocal package, and the deeper we went into the set, the clearer this became in my mind.

Michael Wilton took a step closer to the edge of the stage and figuratively knocked the air off my lungs hitting the characteristic riff of my favorite “NM 156”. This was frickin’ awesome if you’d ask me. Indeed, this was old-school like Todd said before kicking off this one. The audience seemed to be more reactive during the old(er) stuff and although this is – kind of – acceptable, at the same time is totally unfair because “Man The Machine” sounded killer in concert. On top of this, having three albums with this lineup, it makes sense to have more new stuff and less “oldies”, but who am I to disagree with “Walk In The Shadows”? Despite the longer break due to some technical difficulties, the loud singing-along made it clear that the competition between the old and the new era is without a clear victor. In all fairness, the double treat from the “Condition Human” album with the title track and “Toxic Remedy” (love the main riff in this one) did keep the audience going, so getting into the new stuff seems to require a bit more time to sink in. “We have been playing this next one for the last seven years every night and I am not seeing it leaving the setlist anytime soon. This is the foundation of QUEENSRŸCHE, said Todd and I could not agree more after seeing “Queen Of The Reich” up next. Did he nail that one too? Oh yeah, he did, and unofficially rubbed my reluctance to see this lineup in concert in my face, so... point taken, Todd.

The jet sounds meant only one thing; “Jet City Woman” was next and there were not lots of people sitting down, although I have to be honest and state “Silent Lucidity” was kind of a mood killer because they had us going. However, hearing the loud singing-along made me feel alone feeling like that...ÿ Oh, yeah “Operation: Mindcrime” restored the “fast tempo” balance and like always, my attention was gravitated towards Eddie Jackson to “make sure” he nailed those sweet bass leads / fills of this goldie. Of course he did and this makes it more satisfying, if you know what I mean.

I am fully aware that I have commented more than I should have on Todd’s performance but I think I can get away with this because a) this was my first time seeing him in concert, and b) “Take Hold Of The Flame” happens to be one of the most difficult QUEENSRŸCHE songs to perform live – at least, this is how it sounds to my unprofessional ears and my absence of music-playing experience (aside from my top-notch air-guitar expertise). Oh my goodness, the ridiculously high-pitch scream after the previous already high-pitch scream sent massive shivers down my spine and I think the immediate clapping was the audience’s reflective response, giving the seal of approval to the talented singer. After this intense song-long moment, it made sense for the band to leave the stage and let the experience sink in. Despite the sauna-like conditions (this was the first time having this heat and humidity inside Arcada), the enthusiasm was at the right level to bring QUEENSRŸCHE back onstage. The hard-hitting “Light-Years” from the latest album (note to self: give this album more spins) was the first of the three-piece encore that ended on the loudest bang with the shivers-down-your-spine “Empire” and the moving “Eyes Of A Stranger”.

It may have taken me more than it should, but my interest in QUEENSRŸCHE has been officially rekindled and I will make sure to redeem myself in every way I can. Is it possible to have more songs from Todd-recorded albums? Well, this strongly depends on the audience and their hunger for the old stuff, but they have my vote if they’d choose to go that path.

Todd’s statement right before saying their goodnights “we are the one and only QUEENSRŸCHE says it all.

QUEENSRŸCHE setlist:

01. “Blood Of The Levant”
02. “I Am I”
03. “NM 156”
04. “Man The Machine”
05. “Walk In The Shadows”
06. “Condition Hüman
07. “Toxic Remedy”
08. “Queen Of The Reich”
09. “Jet City Woman”
10. “Silent Lucidity”
11. “Operation: Mindcrime”
12. “Propaganda Fashion”
13. “Screaming In Digital”
14. “Take Hold Of The Flame”
15. “Light-Years”
16. “Empire”
17. “Eyes Of A Stranger”

QUEENSRŸCHE

Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Queensrÿche @ Arcada Theatre, St Charles (US) (photo by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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