Written by Abel Longoria
Sep 26, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageQueensryche is currently making their way across the country on their Operation: Mindcrime II tour. The original Operation: Mindcrime album was released in 1988 and was the first album that put Queensryche on the map in the main stream rock market. The long awaited follow-up to that album is Operation: Mindcrime II which was just released in April of 2006.

For those that are not aware of the album or the band’s history, the Operation: Mindcrime album was much more like story from the very first track of the CD through the last. This had truly been the first album that I was personally familiar with that had that type of story line built into the lyrics. Bear with me…

— Start Boring Background Info —

The quick and not so short description of the first Mindcrime album begins with the main character Nikki, a homeless young man strung out on heroin whom is taken in by a very devious man named Dr. X. This new found acquaintance supplies Nikki with his fix in exchange for carrying out various duties that are required. Dr. X is a very influential man in the political arena and as it turns out and has brainwashed Nikki into carrying out his own personal dirty deeds. Nikki is driven to carry out various assassinations on different leaders and religious figures that Dr. X has previously programmed into Nikki’s mind which can be summoned by simply uttering the single word… “Mindcrime”

Not only does the album tell the story of Nikki and Dr. X but there’s also a love story intertwined in there as well. Sister Mary which as the album progresses we find out she has had an equally challenging life as well which draws Nikki closer to her and then they fall in love. Upon Dr. X finding out about Nikki’s new found feelings for Sister Mary, he orders Nikki to eliminate her since now she is a liability to Dr. X. Nikki in his unstable state of mind goes to carry out the job but then quickly overrides the mission that has been pre programmed into his mind. Dr. X knew that Nikki may not be able to complete the mission so he carries it out for him. Dr. X calls Sister Mary, as Mary picks up the phone a voice instructs her to pick up a loaded pistol and eliminate herself which she does. Nikki then comes back to find Sister Mary dead and thinks that his alter ego killed her sending him into an emotional downward spiral.

— End Boring Background Info —

Ok… now fast forward to 2006… Operation: Mindcrime II is released which is truly a sequel to the original album much like full feature films have. This new album goes into more detail and pretty much picks up right from where the first album back in 1988 left off. It fills in many blanks and also creates more questions in regards to this tale that has now strung out over 18 years!

The reason the background info is given on the Operation: Mindcrime saga here in this review is because the band has taken a very different approach to this tour. The band is currently on tour promoting the entire 2 album Operation: Mindcrime saga so they play both of the albums in their entirety in their original order since they tell a story from one song to the next.

The overall concert was laid out much like a Broadway musical in regards to costumes, actors, props and of course a script. Lead singer Geoff Tate switches costumes several times depending on the songs being played since some songs are sang from different perspectives such as Nikki and Dr. X. Solo artist Pamela Moore accompanies Queensryche on tour to not only lend her hand as the female vocalist for many of the songs but to help tell the story with her acting duties in between and during songs portraying Sister Mary. Moore’s overpowering voice is a great counterpart to Geoff’s voice and added a little extra spice to the overall show experience. Man can she wail!

The concert had a first act which comprised of the entire first album, an intermission and then the second act which was the newer material released earlier this year. All in all Geoff Tate and the rest of the Queensryche ensemble were very much on their game tonight even after being on stage performing for over 20+ years! It was quite obvious that 80% of the concertgoers where longtime fans simply by the showing of their vintage tour t-shirts from the late 80’s.

Musically, the band and the overall performance were flawless! Sure Geoff can’t hit those high notes that he once did back in the 80’s but that can be expected after all that’s been over 15 years ago! The Broadway portion of the show with the props & acting took a little getting used to since that was something I myself was not familiar with in a concert environment. Often times in between songs and such it seemed to kind of slow things down a bit since none of the band members where out on stage nor was there any music being played. So essentially it was just a couple of people up on stage acting out a particular scene which would lead into the next song. Once the band came out, then things sped up again! The acting that took place during the songs was much easier to focus on since there was a story being told at the time through Geoff Tate’s lyrics.

I applaud Queensryche for taking this bold chance in treating this tour like a Broadway production. It is definitely unconventional in every way but with these particular Mindcrime albums it does add a little something extra to the typical everyday concert experience.

Operation: Mindcrime
I Remember Now
Anarchy – X
Revolution Calling
Operation: Mindcrime
Spreading The Disease
The Mission
Suite Sister Mary
The Needle Lies
Electric Requiem
Breaking The Silence
I Don’t Believe In Love
Waiting For 22
My Empty Room
Eyes Of A Stranger

Operation: Mindcrime II
Freiheit Ouvertüre
I’m American
One Foot In Hell
The Hands
Speed Of Light
Signs Say Go
Re-Arrange You
The Chase
A Murderer?
If I Could Change It All
An Intentional Confrontation
A Junkie’s Blues
Fear City Slide
All The Promises