Queensryche Islington Academy 12-10-13

First up was AEON ZEN a 5 piece UK progressive act who were a mash up of Dream Theater,Vanden Plas and Serenity who's 40 minute 6 song set verged from the quite marvellous to unlistenable due to a sound mix that was all over the place.

The first song at times was so keyboard and bass heavy that you couldn't hear the drums at all or vocals at times.

Led by bass player (and occasional vocals) Rich Hinks and vocalist Andi Kravljica who's unboundless energy and superb voice brought the performance up from the floor.

When it worked it was fantastic.Keyboard solos,huge drums,riffs,solos and more time changes than you could throw a stick at!!

The second last song "A Minds Portrait" was again ruined by no guitar at all and some embarrassed faces on stage before "Time Devine" finished the set on a high.

So very up and down and one I would love to see on a good day with a sound mix that would do the justice.

Put back from April their was a level of expectancy in the venue that isn't felt very often.

I have been a fan of Queensryche since the review in Kerrang of their first ep way back in 1983.
A visit to my local record store and 50p later it was mine.If only we could do that today!
As "Queen Of The Reich"'s riff kicked in and that scream started I was hooked.

From the huge highs of "Operation Mindcrime" and "Empire",to the huge lows of the events of the last few years that could fill a large book and with a court case pending over the name of the band this was a new start in the UK for the band.

From the youtube footage available the new man on vocals Todd La Torre has filled Geoff Tate's boots and with the recent release of the self titled "Queensryche" cd this is a new chapter and looking at the happy faces around from band and fans alike  everyone is happy.

In fact the whole evening had the same feel as the show the band played at the Town And Country Club in London back in 1988 just as the " Eyes Of A Stranger " video broke the band on MTV.

As the intro tape faded out and the "Queen Of The Reich" riff started could it get any better?

As the diminutive frame of Todd La Torre came onstage and hit that scream everyone present knew it doesn't get much better than that!

Over the course of 90 minutes we were taken on a journey through a back catalogue that few bands can better with an emphasis on the very early material from the original ep/The Warning/Rage For Order/Mindcrime and Empire cd's with 2 from the new cd thrown in for good measure.

Here is what they played.

Queen Of The Reich
Walk In The Shadows
The Whisper
En Force
Child Of Fire
Where Dreams Go To Die
The Needle Lies
My Empty Room
Eyes Of A Stranger
Fallout Take Hold Of The Flame
Jet City Woman
Silent Lucidity
The band seemed genuinely amazed at the audience reaction but I'm sure like me they never expected to see the older material every being played on any stage let alone in the UK!

In fact there was 3 moments when the hairs on the back of the neck stood to attention. 
The first I have mentioned above, the next was the start of "Eyes Of A Stranger" and then at the start to "Take Hold Of The Flame" all stunning!

All eyes were on Todd and he didn't let anybody down.His range was incredible and yes he does sound like Geoff  Tate and the start of "Flame" was quite spooky like Tate was in the building. He had an excellent stage presence too.

All of the older material was greeted like a family friend returning and you could feel the legacy of the band returning.

From my position on the barrier I began to realise how the 3 original members all had huge grins on their faces. I'm sure the last few years have been terrible as it was them against Geoff. They appear to be putting it all behind them and moving on to better things.

The rhythm team of Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums were immense with Scott showing what a powerhouse he is.Parker Lundgren was excellent as guitar back up with some superb twin soloing with Michael.

Michael Wilton was superb with his riffing and the soloing in his style was incredible. At the end of "Flame" Todd came over and saw Michael grinning and just rubbed his head  and smiled too.

I could go on and on but words don't do evenings justice sometime.

The Queensryche legacy can move on and hopefully will and nights like this showed a band at the top of its game and wanting to play its music to its fans.

And surely that's what it is all about!!

Quite superb.

Here is the youtube footage of some of the show.


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