December 16, 2016 Queensrÿche Capture Irving Plaza, NYC 12-6-16 w/ Armored Saint & Midnight Eternal
Continuing to celebrate their nearly thirty-five-year career, Heavy Metal icons Queensrÿche continue to do what they love, perform live. Those who have been living under a rock and are not up to speed with the band may question the band’s status since they parted ways with original Vocalist Geoff Tate. Well, they have been doing just fine with Crimson Glory’s Todd La Torre taking over in 2012, releasing both 2013’s eponymous Queensrÿche album as well as 2015’s Condition Human. Exceeding many fans expectations, they welcomed La Torre with open arms, and his talent more than allowed for the continued evolution of the band.
As 2016 wraps up, Queensrÿche booked one last round of dates in North America with support from the legendary Armored Saint and newcomers Midnight Eternal. A heavy mix of acts, the month-long journey began on November 15th in Queensrÿche’s Seattle, Washington. Covering many corners of the continent in between, a few weeks into the run, Queensrÿche arrived at New York City’s Irving Plaza on Tuesday, December 6th, for an evening of Heavy Metal euphoria.
As the venue piled up with eager fans, the New York Symphonic Metal act Midnight Eternal were ready to introduce their new self-titled album, Midnight Eternal (Inner Wound Recordings), to the stage. Heavily influenced by artists from their genre, they have shared a stage with bands such as Kamelot, Sonata Arctica, Xandria, and Delain. Despite showcasing a different sound and style, they were honored to perform their music as members Raine Hilai (lead vocals), Richard Fischer (guitar), Greg Manning (bass), Dan Prestup (drums), and Boris Zaks (keyboards) walked onto the platform.
The band adored this particular evening as they entered the stage in their hometown. It was evident that they gave it their all that included a charismatic energy from start to finish. The excitement continued as they emphasized their new songs such as “Shadow Fall” and “When Love and Faith Collide,” which showcased their Symphonic style. Hilai sounded like a developing Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) as her face gleamed with joy while presenting her voice. As each member continued to sway animatedly, fans seemed to enjoy new songs “Repentance” and “Like an Eternity.” With the debut of Midnight Eternal, it would appear that there will be much more to come for this budding band.Anthrax. However, there was no place like home, Bush found his way back with Armored Saint and released 2000’s Revelation. Sixteen years later, Armored Saint continues to be active, promoting the release of their seventh overall studio album, 2015’s Win Hands Down. With Bush on vocals, Phil Sandoval (guitar), Jeff Duncan (guitar), Joey Vera (bass), and Gonzo Sandoval (drums), they were ready to entice the New York crowd.
Revving up the horde of admirers, Armored Saint pulled off an incredible show from the start with “Win Hands Down” followed by the classic hit “March of the Saint.” At this point, the entire house interacted with each tune as the set continued with “Control Issues,” “In An Instant,” and “Tribal Dance.” While riffs howled from the guitars of Sandoval and Duncan, Bush wailed during the next song “Aftermath.” As the set continued with “Left Hook From Right Field,” Bush surprised the audience when he jumped off the stage and stood on the barricade to sing directly to the crowd amongst a few recording phones. The intensity continued as the set closed out with “Reign of Fire” followed by “Can U Deliver.” Bush directed the microphone out to the audience to praise their overwhelming participation. Providing an energized performance, hopes are Armored Saint will return to New York City sooner than later.Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Now, nearly forty years later, they have created hits and classics of their own, making them one of Heavy Metal’s most recognized names. Originally forming in Bellevue, Washington, many changes, disputes, and even a lawsuit have occurred. When all is said and done, these experiences, both good and bad, have opened up a more matured, refined act that includes newer members La Torre (vocals) and Parker Lundgren (guitar), along with original members Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), and Scott Rockenfield (drums). However, through it all, they have maintained their old garage-days roots, and it was time for the New York fans to enjoy the set.
Given a heartwarming introduction with a screen proudly introducing each member, finally, the lights gleamed as the set officially opened with “Guardian” off of 2015’s Condition Hüman. La Torre spread his vocals across the room as Wilton and Lundgren both crushed through their riffs. Jackson held his fort towards the back aside from moving up to belt out his backing vocals into the microphone. An animation appeared on the screen during the beginning of the classic 1988 title track of “Operation: Mindcrime.” Fans gave the traditional “Hey! Hey! Hey!” praise, the band performed effortlessly, flowing into the next song, “Best I Can.” Then La Torre gazed into the mob of devotees as he introduced the 1994 Promised Land era with “Damaged.”
From here, tunes continued to move through different points of their career, as La Torre’s confidence and liveliness surprised the older fans in the house. With an assortment of songs, they played on with “The Killing Words,” “The Mission,” “Silent Lucidity,” as well as “Arrow of Time,” all with fervor and determination. Keeping the crowd highly engaged, they continued to dish out favorites, offering “Empire” and “Eye9,” resulting in many spectators in the packed venue raising their drinks and singing along.
Taking a break to converse with the fans, La Torre spoke about the very beginning of Queensrÿche’s career, he asked if anyone in the house was alive when their 1983 self-titled EP was released. Immediately reacting, a sea of cheers echoed across the room and La Torre continued on, stating the next song was based on the origination of the band’s name. That could only mean one thing, “Queen of the Reich.” Devoured by adoring fans, the band continued bellowing out old songs from here, including “Jet City Woman” before concluding their mind-blowing set with “Take Hold of the Flame.” Departing from the stage, the crowd unanimously begged for an encore and Queensrÿche soon returned, giving three special encore songs of “Hellfire,” “Screaming in Digital” and officially ending with “Eyes of a Stranger.”
A memorable evening, Queensrÿche has more than proven that they give it their all at a live show. Leaving everyone satisfied, Queensrÿche’s stage presence and strong production quality was clearly visible. Giving off positive energy, providing a visually enhanced screen, and connecting with the crowd with an undeniable bond, it was nothing less than flawless. With 2016 in its final weeks and this tour wrapping up December 16th, more Queensrÿche shows continued to be announced for 2017, so keep a look out.