March 10, 2016 Geoff Tate & Operation: Mindcrime Charm The Paramount Huntington, NY 3-2-16
Operation: Mindcrime is so much more than a conceptual album from the late 1980s; it is also the name of a whole new project formed by the former lead singer of Queensrÿche, Geoff Tate. Tate was the voice of Queensrÿche for thirty years, a time that included Grammy nominations in 1990 and 1992 and five MTV Video Music Awards nominations in 1991, winning one award in the Viewer’s Choice Award category for “Silent Lucidity.” Essentially, when fans thought Queensrÿche, they thought the towering voice of Tate.
Since the public and somewhat messy break-up with Queensrÿche, Tate lives on with inspiration to put together a conceptual piece, one which will be released as three separate albums, the first which was released back in September of 2015, entitled The Key. Deciding to name the new project Operation: Mindcrime, a name that his fanbase is familiar with, Tate teamed up with a killer lineup for the debut album including Guitarist/Vocalist Kelly Gray (formerly of the band Myth), Guitarist/Vocalist Scott Moughton, Bassist/Vocalist John Moyer (of Disturbed), Keyboardist Randy Gane (also formerly of Myth), Drummer Brian Tichy (who has played played everyone from Foreigner to Dead Daisies), and Drummer Simon Wright (formerly of AC/DC). Now taking the buzz to the streets, Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime continued their The Key World Tour in Fresno, CA on February 2nd of this year. With sights on touring around the country through the Spring, the band’s touring members joining Tate include Gray, Moughton, Gane, and Wright, with Tim Fernley joining on bass in place of Moyer, who is currently on tour with Disturbed. The talented bunch made a stop on Long Island, NY on Wednesday, March 2nd, to make an appearance at The Paramount down Huntington village.
With fans coming in to see what they hoped to be an exciting night, Thrash Metal band Extinction A.D. would be the table setter. A four piece band that formed right here on Long Island, they consist of Rick Jimenez (vocals/guitar), Ian Cimaglia (guitar), Pieter van den Berg (bass), and Mike Sciulara (drums). In August 2015, they released their first full-length album, Faithkiller, to add to their two prior EP releases, Plague Prophecy released in 2014 and 2013 released in 2013.
Unleashing themselves on the audience, they hit them hard with their aggressive attack on thick heavy rhythms while delivering forceful vocals. By the second song in their thirty-minute set, they had the audience hooked, by playing songs like “Faithkiller” and “Echoes Of Life.” At one point, Jimenez said, “We’re gonna pump our fists and stomp our feet, come on New York!” By the last song, a circle pit emerged.
During the intermission, the floor filled rapidly. Conversations could be overheard about seeing Geoff Tate with Queensrÿche and the anticipation of this evening’s performance. Long time DJ of the local Classic Rock radio station, WBAB 102.3 FM, Fingers came out on stage to introduce Operation: Mindcrime. He talked about having them in the studio, on air with him earlier in the day, and how they sounded so awesome unplugged, he could not wait to hear them tonight. Without further ado, he announced the band, and moments later, the show began.
As the band members walked out on stage, they began with the instrumentation of “Neue Regel” from Queensrÿche’s 1986 Rage For Order. Soon enough, Tate walked out to a cheering audience and kicked in with the lyrics and his powerful, electrifying, full-bodied vocals. Continuing with another song from the same release was “Screaming In Digital.” Once the song was over, Tate asked, “Who remembers 1994?” With a loud roar from his fans, Tate smiled and then they performed two tracks off of Queensrÿche’s 1994 release, Promised Land, “I Am I” and “One More Time.” He then took the audience back to 1988 with a track from Queensrÿche’s conceptual album Operation: Mindcrime with “I Don’t Believe In Love.” Audience members were elated and had their arms in the air, singing, each time the lyrics “ I Don’t Believe In Love” came up.
Tate took a few moments to speak with the audience, he started with “Hello Long Island!” The fans responded with cheers. He then went on to talk about how marijuana use is now legal in Washington State for recreational use. He said, “I can’t believe it, all my life it was evil. What changed?” After a brief pause, he said, “People’s minds.” Tate spoke for several minutes about change and how it can affect things. He and the band then played the song “spOOL” from Queensrÿche’s 1997 release Hear In The Now Frontier, then Queensrÿche’s “At 30,000 Ft.” from their 2009 American Soldier.
Taking a brief moment to switch out some of their instruments for acoustic ones, including a classic stand up bass, spectators were curious what would come next. Next would come three classic Queensrÿche songs, which would be played acoustically, starting with “Jet City Woman” off 1990’s Empire. After the first few notes of this song, fans had their cell phones held up high to catch a video, all while singing along to the whole song. Then came a heavy hitting track off of 1984’s The Warning, “Take Hold Of The Flame.” Even though the song was done acoustically, Tate still belted out the lyrics with his Heavy Metal vibrato, and the fans shouted each time the lyrics “Take hold” came about. Tate, obviously enthused about the audience participation, said, “Let me hear the words!” Encouraging them to shout, “Take hold” was heard several more times.
Tate then took a moment to thank the audience and talk about “how he loves to see people sing the words to my songs.” He continued with, “I love when I’m in the mall and I catch someone’s eye and they roll up their sleeve and there is a tat of my band, I love it. I don’t care if someone comes up to me in a restaurant, I’ll spit the food out of my mouth and sign something!” After a few more moments of gratitude to his fans, came the moment all the fans were waiting for, “Silent Lucidity,” another hit off of Empire. Tate and the band performed the song with absolute perfection. Fans were cheering so loudly it was deafening and a female fan, or two, could be seen drying their eyes at the end of the song. Tate gave a heartfelt “Thank You” at the end of the song.
While the band members took back their electric guitars, Tate took a few moments to talk about how the world has suffered the loss of several influential people very recently, including the loss of David Bowie. His sentiments led well for the next song, “The Weight Of The World” from Tate’s final release under the name Queensrÿche, 2013’s Frequency Unknown. Towards the end of the song, Tate stepped to the far side of the stage, just out of view of most of the audience, while Gray came up front and whaled away on his guitar, at times joined by Moughton and Fernley. Some fans, which where able to see Tate off to the side, could see him jamming and rocking out to these stellar musicians as they rocked it hard. Once the song was over, Tate came back out and gave recognition to Gray.
Tate announced that the new album is out, The Key. He told the fans how this album is part of a trilogy and “We would like to play a few of the songs for you tonight.” The following four songs would all be off of this new release and they started with “Re-Inventing The Future,” The fans were clearly familiar with the new song and cheered and clapped once it ended. They then played “The Stranger,” “Burn,” and “The Fall.” During the final song, Tate played a mean saxophone solo, and mid song, there was an awesome dueling guitar solo with Gray and Moughton. Tate then said, “Thank you! This was a taste of the new album,” as the fans cheered away.
Tate asked the audience, “Have any of you been to therapy?” With an overwhelming response, Tate replied, “Look at all the crazy people in the house!” He laughed and said, “Therapy is where you go to get the tools so people don’t really know how crazy you are. Therapy has helped me a lot!” As he smiled to the audience with a Heavy Metal grin, the band began the song “Damaged” off of Promised Land. Taking the fans back again, they played another song from Rage For Order, “Walk In The Shadows.” Then, the final song they played was one off of Operation: Mindcrime, “Eyes Of A Stranger,” where there was once again a roaring dueling guitar solo. Tate finished out the song holding a high powerful note for what felt like forever. Tate waved and walked off the stage before the music was over, but the band continued to jam on for several minutes before ending the song and stepping off stage themselves.
The fans were not ready for the night to end, they screamed, shouted, and chanted, “Tate, Tate, Tate.” After several minutes, Tate and the band returned to the stage. Tate took this time to introduce each band member before going into their encore. First they played “Breaking The Silence,” from Operation: Mindcrime, and then closed out the show with the heavy hitting title track to Empire. Once the roar of the audience came down a bit, Tate said, “Thank you for being here tonight and celebrating the music! Thank you and good night.” As the band members all joined him on center stage, they joined together to take several bows to the audience, and then turned their backs to the crowd so they could have a photograph taken of them with the enthusiastic fan base behind them.
Once the venue cleared out, there was still a very small group of fans left in the lobby, they were all wearing square gold passes for what would be a meet and greet with the band. Two fans were conversing about the Queensrÿche concert at Nassau Coliseum in July of 1991 where they played the Operation: Mindcrime album in its entirety during the show, while another female fan was bouncing about in anticipation of meeting Geoff Tate. The whole band came out, took time to shake hands, and to sign memorabilia as well as those special gold passes. Tate was warm and patient, and when asked what he might like fans to know about seeing his new project live, he simple said, “Come on out!” and smiled ear to ear.
Tate’s voice was full of all the purity and precision he has always had, and his overall performance was amazing. The band accompanying him are all well known, accomplished, and superb musicians. Although most of the night, the songs that were performed were from Tate’s Queensrÿche era, do not be mistaken, Operation: Mindcrime is a whole new band. It is very apparent that Tate has a lot of fresh visions for this new project, all while having two more upcoming albums to release, for all to see this new vision. The tour continues throughout the United States till mid April. If the chance arises, be sure not to miss this show, it will not be a disappointment for any fan.