Written by Samuel Barker
Oct 18, 2004 at 08:00 PM
ImageIt has been over 12 years since Queensryche last performed Operation: Mindcrime on tour. It’s been 16 years since the album was released. Should we be afraid that the same names and themes are reoccurring in our society today that led Geoff Tate and the rest of the group to write this concept album? It’s gotten so bad that Tate has began penning the sequel to this album, which was presented at the conclusion of the Mindcrime performance, but that’s for later.Rather than present the goods early or leave out early favorites, Queensryche took an hour to play some of their hits before jumping into the grand finale. Forgoing the addition of an opening act, Queensryche handled the night’s entertainment themselves.

The band featured original members Tate (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), Scott Rockenfield (drums) and newcomer Mike Stone. From the opening notes of Whisper, which saw Stone and Wilton pulling off the opening duel lead perfectly, the band impressed and captivated the audience from the very beginning and were greeted with a sea of backup vocalists.

With the Astros playing one of the most important games of their franchise’s history, it was amazing to see the Verizon filled to the brim with screaming fans eager to participate in the recreation of their favorite album. Of course, they were also eager to hear the old favorites like Empire, Jet City Woman and Silent Lucidity (which featured a string section).

Of course, as this opening set came to a close, the audience stirred and discussed what to expect from the performance of Operation: Mindcrime. At the back of the venue speakers were set up to provide surround sound for the recreation. The intensity grew as people awaited the beginning of the set.

After a 30 minute setup, Queensryche began the set accompanied by keyboardist Michael Igor Delassandra. Video and live acting accompanied the performance. Tate spent time interacting with the actor who played the heroin-addicted anti-hero Nikki. This in no way took away from his spine-chilling highs that told this tale of youth used and destroyed by those who took advantage of their dependencies.

For a brief moment, you could see the parallels between this story and the way the youth is used today, whether it be for terrorism or militarism (redundancy?) and feel the chill of knowing we’re still facing these problems into adulthood. For a genre mostly associate with childish decadence, Queensryche made a social commentary that has withstood the test of time. Let’s just hope it’s irrelevant in 16 more years and perhaps we can use the future recreations of this album to look back and see where we’ve come from.

While I’ve never been blown away by a Queensryche performance before, this was a night were it all made sense. Perhaps age has allowed me to catch up to prog-metal leanings of the band. This is definitely a tour worth checking out.