Geoff Tate, the former lead singer of ‘80s prog-rock/metal band Queensryche introduced his new band Operation: Mindcrime to Cleveland’s House of Blues on March 10th.
Yes, the name of his new band is the same title of Queensryche’s 1988 concept album. After being unceremoniously kicked out of the band, and after a two year legal battle that ensued, the three original members of Queensryche got to maintain the band’s name and logo while Tate got to keep the intellectual property behind the concept of Operation: Mindcrime.
The current six piece touring band is filled with excellent musicians. Kelly Gray who was in Queensryche for five years plays the Flying-V guitar, Scott Moughton handles the other guitar duties, former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright is behind the skins, while keyboardist Randy Gane and bassist Tim Fernley complete the lineup.
Although Tate can no longer use the “Queensryche” name in any part of his moniker, he clearly still is The Voice of Queensryche. That voice with the multi-octave range was on full display at the House of Blues.
Tate said that the band would be going “way back” to play some classic Queensryche songs and they would also be playing current songs from their latest release “The Key.”
True to his word, such classics as “Screaming in Digital,” “I am I” and “I Don’t Believe in Love” were all played flawlessly.
Stories were told throughout the evening as well. Geoff mentioned that it was nice to bring out acoustic instruments because that’s how most of the songs were written. A stand up bass was brought out for Fernley to play and both Moughton and Gray played acoustic guitars for an “unplugged” set .
“Jet City Woman” and Queensryche’s biggest commercial hit “Silent Lucidity” fit perfectly in this acoustic format. However, “Take Hold of the Flame” was an odd choice to play “unplugged.” Although the band did a great job, this song is better suited for electric guitars and a pounding bass.
After the acoustic set, the band gave the audience a taste of “The Key” by playing four new songs from the album. Tate said that “The Key” is the first album in a trilogy and the next two albums are expected to be released in the coming years. Songs like “Re-inventing the Future” and “Burn” certainly have that classic Queensryche sound. “The Fall” even features Tate on saxophone.
Queensryche anthems “Walk in the Shadows” and “Eyes of a Stranger” closed the set. On the former, Geoff held the microphone out for the audience to sing a line of the song. Surprisingly the crowd wasn’t ready for it, and there were a few seconds of awkward silence before they picked up the verse and sang it back. Tate quipped “I came all the way to Cleveland for that?”
During the encore the audience was given a second change to sing. Tate once again held out the mic during “Empire” for the crowd to complete a verse. This time the audience enthusiastically shouted “at the cinema show” right on key, which produced a huge grin from Tate.
Operation: Mindcrime is a very tight band that is worth checking out. Tate still has the vocal range and you won’t leave the show disappointed.