Queensryche came to Cincinnati on Wednesday Jan. 27th to a packed crowd of Ryche worshippers. The group’s 2016 lineup after a prolonged legal battle left the name to the band recruiting new singer Todd La Torre. Fans feared not as La Torre tore through the set and catalogue, belting out classics and representing new material from Condition Human and the self-titled disk. At times if you closed your eyes and listened, you couldn’t tell if La Torre was on stage or his predecessor, a tribute to his range, delivery and power.
For 15 songs, the crowd relived all eras of the Ryche including an appearance by the queen herself on the double screened stage. From start to finish Bogarts experienced the rich visuals of an arena show as videos, storyline pictures and abstract concept images filled the stage behind the music.
The Mindcrime mythology was revisited, an Empire reborn, old-school was brought modern day and a Rage for Order was in the air.
Halcyon Way opened the show with a loud mix of Dream Theater meets Six Feet Under with clean/death metal vox crisscrossing with progressive thrash, power metal chords, technical solos and just a little bit of Stryper influenced vocal melody. Formed in 2001, they have four records out, currently supporting 2014’s Conquer. The evening began with the drum beats of Ernie Topran as Atlanta’s foursome came out to “Conquer.” Vocalist Steve Braun’s uniquely 80s-metal style contrasted to the backing growls and pounding thrash-prog around him. Second tune said to suck it up and “Save Your Tears” for another day. There’s no crying in metal, as “On Black Wings” went on the angrier side.
Mohawked and shaded guitarist Jon Bodan “could” have had the most fun on stage from facials, smiling (yes smiling is allowed in metal) and guitar poses. “Hatred is my Cause” was Dream Theater gone thrash. Keyboards started “Desecration Day” a hard hitting tune about the day the towers fell. They finished with a tribute to the family on the road and the family they had at “Home” making their first time at Bogarts memorable.
Meytal Cohen made the second slot memorable with the beautiful Meytal behind the kit and Anel Orantes Pedrero on bass. Other cohorts included former God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle, Travis Montgomery (Threat Signal) and the much inked vocals of Eric Emery (Concordia, Skyharbor). Israeli born Cohen, the youngest of seven, started playing drums at 18. After life threw her some tough obstacles she returned to LA, recording a violin version of System of A Down’s “Toxicity.” Its YouTube success inspired her to record 100 drum covers including Tool, Metallica, Rush and Slipknot among others. Her debut album Alchemy was crowd funded.
Their sound is thrash meets Tool with a fluid Deftones feel. Opening with “Shadow in Disguise” Emery’s style mixed Keenan, Petrucci and Moreno’s delivery into one voice. “Immoral Exorcist” had a slow, tranquil start combining eerie atmosphere with creepy, creeping chords. Piano keys opened “Tear Me Apart” trading Slipknot guitar grooves, with emotionally heavy vocals. There was some Linkin Park in the air and on mic on “Nothing.” They surprised the crowd with a cover of “Pull Me Under,” while “Killing Time” tooled with prog-precession, ending with the Dream Theater laced “Breathe.”
The classic logo emblazed in red flashed the screen as drummer Scott Rockenfield hit with bone rattling war hammer impact. Screen led intros brought them out starting the show Condition Human with “The Guardian.” The sanitized sounds of the hospital PA came over the speakers as the nurse gave our trigger-happy brainwashed vigilante another shot to relive the “Mindcrime.” The Empire started with “Best I Can.”
A piece of the Promised Land came “Damaged” but welcome. Rage took over as glimmering lockets gleamed heart throbbed messages on the screen as the broken porcelain maidens glare washed over the crowd. Wilted roses decorated the shattered cathedral as the comforting chords of “The Killing Words” poured from the speakers.
News blared out as the cathedral bells rang. The grim reaper shrouded as a doctor loomed with power over poor Mary’s cracked rosary-clad hands. A God-like high, washed in forbidden love, guilt and remorse, “The Mission” accomplished. Bullets and shattered glass filled the stage as La Torre sang about when love went bad and the scars that remained, no one’s “Bulletproof.”
Though the song needed no introduction La Torre obliged the crowd. This one’s called “Empire.” Candlelight danced with the cosmos as seagulls flew, is there “Anybody Listening?” A tune from the self-titled disk came with the long traveled road “In this Light.”
“Shits about to get real” La Torre grinned, going old-school back to the beginning EP. The “Queen of the Reich” made her presence known. The loudest bass line of the night hit as the crowd screamed for the “Jet City Woman.” The Warning came, “Take Hold of the Flame.” Then there was darkness.
Rockenfield retook the throne hammering out the encore as rapid fire images of epic battles and wars fought by lost warriors and generals flashed by. La Torre’s voice went “Digital” barking out the machines words. We then said goodbye to Dr. X, Mary and Nikki leaving the blood splattered, graffiti filled halls of the hospital in shambles in the “Eyes of a Stranger.”
La Torre ended with “We are, the one, the only, Queensryche.”
Images by Mike Ritchie