» Blog Archive Geoff Tate Brings Operation: Mindcrime To NJ -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

The 80’s were a magical time for the growth of heavy metal, but I believe Operation: Mindcrime is one of the prime examples of why that era still is fondly remembered. Alongside Melissa by Mercyful Fate and Ride the Lightning by Metallica, Operation: Mindcrime made waves for the bands that followed, creating a waves of influence felt through the next few decades. It was also imperative to progressive metal as a whole, and while being a conceptual album and debatably what we call “prog metal” today, it still remains the middle ground between traditional heavy metal and what Dream Theater would solidify in the following year. So with Geoff Tate and friends getting together to celebrate 30 years of this timeless album, you know it’s a must-see endeavor.

Chances are you’ve seen a band perform an album in full in the last five years or so. It’s all the rage, and quite frankly most of them are 10 year anniversaries that don’t exactly hold any kind of legacy to them. It’s fan service, which is fine and all, but the ones that make the most sense to be performed are the concept albums. That cohesion and fluidity is what made the band stepping to the stage, playing “I Remember Now” and “Anarchy-X” empowering and dynamic. With a full stage of musicians and Geoff Tate himself finding his way to the stage just in time for “Revolution Calling,” the set was off to a great start with an enthusiastic crowd more than willing to yell out the words back to Tate as he held the microphone out to them.

Tate knows he has a well-respected and highly cherished album on his hands, and for that I commend the man for giving it his all during the performance to differentiate it from sitting at home and listening to it on Spotify. From tuning changes, incorporating the audio clips into the live show, and getting right to the songs with seldom a moment to stop and talk to the crowd, Tate and the band gave it their all for the night. Nothing irks me more than a band who opts to fill in time during the set by needless banter, and with Operation: Mindcrime being performed, it’s highly doubtful that anyone would want to listen to stage commentary when their favorite song is next.

“Suite Sister Mary” is when the performance took to a theatrical turn for the band, to which Tate quietly introduced his daughter to the stage. Given the duet nature of the song, she took up Pamela Moore’s parts on the album. Let’s be real here: it could have easily of been a backing track they played, but having two people sing it together on stage gave it a much more authentic feeling and kept the real nature of the performance intact. Even more so, Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime bandmates truly stood out here: guitarists Kieran Robertson and Scott Moughton played their parts effortlessly, and by and far seemed to be enjoying themselves the most on stage as they harmonized and traded off solos through the night. Moughton, in particular, impressed me the most. Guitarists can shred, but this guy can shred.

Operation: Mindcrime itself is a treat to see live, and it’s as perfect as you’d expect. It’s, however, the surprise at the end of the set with Tate once again playing Queensryche classics that truly completes the package. It’s only a few tracks longer, but boy was I surprised to hear the band start playing “Best I Can” soon after wrapping up “Eyes of a Stranger.” It’s like you get your cake with Operation: Mindcrime, and then you get to eat it. What’s not to love.

All in all, it’s a hell of a time. Here’s an album performed by the man who was heavily involved with it, which is regarded as a classic by many a person, and doing a hell of a job with it 30 years later. With a really tight band and extra fan service, too, Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime tour is keeping the fans in mind, all the while celebrating a one-of-a-kind legacy. If you’ve at the very least enjoyed the album once in your lifetime, it’s worth the trip, but any self-respecting Queensryche fan probably already knows that they can’t miss the opportunity to see this done in full. Here’s to 30 years, and hopefully we’ll all be around to see it for the 40th in 2028.

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