Queensryche @Hard Rock Live 1/09/16

Queensryche @Hard Rock Live 1/9/16

By: Leah Burlington

Queensryche was one of my all time favorite bands back in the Operation Mindcrime/ Empire days. But I also had their self titled ep on record in 1983 when it came out. I didn’t get into Rage or Warning until later. Geoff Tate was a God to me and I worshipped him and this band like no other. In a sea of hairspray and spandex, The Ryche were heroic as they wrote songs that affected my soul as they spoke of rebellion and revolution. They were deep and thoughtful, which wasn’t the norm in the 80’s. I loved Tate’s deep, haunting voice whos range couldn’t be beat at the time. I saw them many times in the 90’s and into the new Millennium. When Q2K came out I just remember that this band was going in a different direction. Geoff was getting more flamboyant and seemed to act more than sing. At this time I remember hearing that he said he never liked metal and was more into stuff like the Thompson Twins. That really pissed me off. I also went to see his solo concert one time and I walked out. To me it was awful. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. I was seriously let down…

The Ryche wasn’t putting out very good albums after Q2K so I didn’t buy them anymore. I sort of lost interest. Then a few years back I saw The Queensryche Cabaret at the Rio in Vegas. I stood up front and watched my band, or should I say Geoff Tate, slowly tear out every fabric of what this band was about and meant to me. He ripped out my heart that night as he sang “The Lady Wore Black” to a woman in black, that was a transvestite. I cringed as I saw poor Michael Wilton pulling deeper into his Hoodie and dark sunglasses, seemingly as mortified as I was. The whole show was a travesty. It wasn’t Queensryche, it was a train wreck. That was when I lost all respect for my once hero, Geoff Tate. I gave away my backstage pass and walked out, furious and in tears. That was when I lost hope and feared it was the final nail in the coffin of Queensryche.

Skip ahead to 2012 when Tate gets thrown out of the band (if you want the truth, Google it) and they recruited talented singer Todd LaTorre (Crimson Glory)  to replace that which could not be replaced. Or so the fans thought. I was one of them until I got asked to go see them with Todd on one of their first few shows with him, on Fremont Street on NYE 2013. To say I was blown away by Todd is an understatement. First, I met him backstage and he knew I was a huge fan. He said he hoped that he would make me proud, which he did! They played a lot of songs off the first three albums with La Torre hitting all the high notes that Tate wasn’t able to sing anymore. And with great stage presence and stamina, Todd showed us that night that Queensryche were back and a force to be reckoned with. I had tears the whole show and told Wilton later, it was good to have my band back. They released a killer self titled album later that year that blew away anything they have done in many years.

In 2015 they have an epic new album out that is my number one pick of the year, called “Condition Human”,  that has the Ryche back to their roots both sound wise and lyrically. Thoughtful and deep, this album is everything a Queensryche album should be. Todd sounds massive on this one and he has settled into the band like he has always been there. I can listen to it over and over and not get tired of it. It’s seriously what should have come out after Empire.

Queensryche came back to Vegas with an in store on Jan 9th, at Zia’s record store and the guys were gracious and kind. Todd is still humble and sweet, enjoying the success but not showing a bit of ego. It was great to see the guys all together happily signing Ryche stuff and chatting with the fans.

They played at the Hard Rock Live on the Strip that Saturday night and I was there in the pit to capture my heroes once again.

The best thing about seeing Queensryche play now is seeing the band happy again. It’s great  Seeing them getting into the music again. Seeing them enjoying playing again.

They came out after some cool images were shown on the LED panels to the left and right of Scott Rockenfield’ s drum kit, with “The Guardian”, a song off their first album together. After that, die hard Fans up front were grinning ear to ear as they played one of my all time faves, “Operation Mindcrime.” The third song was “Be the Best I Can” off Empire and that was my cue to stop shooting and join the crowd.

I wandered out to see the crowd’s reaction to Todd, as I know quite a few of my friends haven’t heard him sing yet. I walked up to many of my friends and they hadn’t been sold yet. They seemed to be getting excited when they did “The Mission” and “Empire”, which everyone knows. But not until I went more into the crowd and found my buddy Joe, did I see pure glee when the riffs for “Queen of the Reich” started. My buddy said he liked them but wasn’t that excited… yet. Then the Scream… You should have seen my friend’s eyes bug out and jaw drop!!  He was like, holy f@&k!!! We screamed our buts off, cheering for the mighty Todd LaTorre who made the crowd “believers.” After “Jet City Woman”, they played my favorite song “Take Hold of the Flame”, which Joe and I sang at the tops of our lungs. Todd must have seen us freaking out because he came over and was smiling at me singing to me, as I had my happy moment.

After that it was on and the crowd embraced my once beloved band, who are now back! The band put on an amazing and exciting show. Michael, Parker, Eddie, Scott and Todd were having fun and smiling and so was the giddy crowd! They won the fans completely as they ended with “Eyes of a Stranger.” The only way this show could be better, in my opinion, is if they were able to play more off the last two albums that are just epic. Maybe one day, when the fans are completely won over, the set list will have more new stuff. I love the classics but I really love “Condition Human.” At least they played “Bulletproof.”

It’s so great to have my band back and I am so grateful to Todd for breathing life back into this band and giving them hope so they could carry on after such a huge loss. People need to realize that everyone is replaceable. Halford, Dickenson and Tate have all been replaced, but Tate may be the only one that will never be taken back. I love Todd and I think he is here to stay…

Queensryche is opening for Scorpions at their residency at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas in May… The 13th & 14th, 18th & 20th, and the 21st.

Website: http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial/?fref=ts

Youtube: Bulletproof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw8IXgYtlyU&index=7&list=PL9F3IgPiV6fH6vlOr0CAOoB8RySMzKaHC

  • Client: Queensryche
  • Year: 2016
  • Agency: Photography of Leah Burlington