30 years ago, QUEENSRYCHE, a progressive metal band from Bellevue, Washington released their third studio album titled Operation: Mindcrime. This ambitious concept album, which told the story of a junkie-turned-revolutionary-hitman, quickly garnered critical acclaim, and eventually went on to be certified platinum. To this day it is considered by many to be one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Geoff Tate, the original lead singer of Queensryche, is now touring the Western United States in celebration of this milestone, performing the album in its entirety, and on August 4th he made a stop in Las Vegas, filling Count's Vamp'd with die-hard fans, hungry for a bit of nostalgic 80's metal. Many arrived early, hoping to get a good viewpoint, and the floor in front of the stage filled quickly. I've been to many shows at this venue, and this was easily one of the largest crowds I've experienced there.
The evening began with Emily Tate's (daughter to Geoff) band, TILL DEATH DO US PART, and this was my second time seeing them perform (the first time being last year, on this same stage), and I must say that Emily has really taken to her role as the frontwoman and vocalist of their self-described "dark alt rock" group. She seemed a lot more comfortable being the centerpiece and her vocals were a lot stronger as well. She has a soft, sweet, yet melancholy voice and emotes a bit of a dark side with her body language and facial expressions.
The band is made up of shared members with Geoff Tate's band, and Scotsman Kieran Robertson is an enthusiastic shredder on his signature Framus guitar, pumping up the crowd with his energy and heavy riffs. In fact, his energy cost him a pair of pants, and a bit of embarassment, in front of the packed house. He handled it well, and I think Emily was more embarassed than he was, as he apologized to the crowd for showing a bit too much. I noticed that he was sporting some fresh ink on his left bicep (the Operation: Mindcrime logo), so looks like he's fully committed to his relationship with Geoff's band, as well as Emily's. His fellow Scotsman, Jack Ross, handled the low end strings and Josh Watts took care of the drum work. This band was realtively new the last time they performed here and I must say that they have progressed nicely, and were much more polished this time around.
Emily Tate Set List:
Watch Me Burn
Salt Water Taffy
We Killed Romance
Til Death Do Us Part Photos by Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
After a brief stage reset the main event began, and by now the crowd had fully filled in and began pressing forward in anticipation of hearing one of heavy metal's greatest vocalists belt out this iconic album, in such an intimate setting. The show got underway with the audio track "I Remember Now" leading into the band taking the stage and cranking out the instrumental "Anarchy-X." For this tour Geoff Tate's band consists of all of the members of his daughter's band, as well as a couple of additions (Scott Moughton on guitar, and Bruno Sa switching back and forth between synth and guitar). As the band finishes off the last notes of "Anarchy-X" and they begin to blend in with the intro to "Revolution Calling", Geoff struts out from the off-stage shadows and begins to belt out the lyrics, and immediately the crowd begins to sing along. From this point on it was a battle over who could sing the loudest, with Tate winning out, but not for the crowd's lack of effort.
It seemed as though Tate was feeding off the energy of the crowd as his vocals got stronger as the night progressed. During the song "Suite Sister Mary", Emily again took to the stage. With her bright purple hair covered by a blonde wig, and having donned a black velvet dress, she evoked the image of a nun in her habit. The father/daughter duet raged back and forth, with each of them playing off the other's energy. The crowd no longer singing along, but watching intently, the Tate's mesmerized the crowd with their haunting vocals and theatrics.
One after another, barely a breath taken between each song, the band continued to crank out each track with precision and enthusiasm, with the crowd responding in kind. It's hard to believe but the crowd showed that they had even more to give as the band began to play the Grammy-nominated single "I Don't Believe In Love", and the fan-favorite "Eyes Of A Stranger". Having completed Operation: Mindcrime the band was not about to call it a night. Instead they performed a three song encore with a selection of songs from the hugely successful follow-up album, Empire. It was a perfect way to finish off the set, and reminiscent of their 1990 Building Empires tour (albeit a much shorter set).
I have seen Tate perform dozens of times over the past 30+ years and I would have to qualify this as one of the most memorable performances of them all. His voice was powerful, and he interacted well with the crowd, giving everything he had. He has definitely surrounded himself with an incredibly talented group of musicians, who execute their roles perfectly, and certainly seem to enjoy doing it! What an amazing night, getting to hear one of my all-time favorite albums, performed by the master and creator himself!
Special thanks to Korie Koker and Count's Vamp'd for providing such a great venue for live music, and bringing us the best bands, week after week!
Operation: Mindcrime Band Members:
Vocals - Geoff Tate
Guitar - Kieran Robertson
Guitar - Scott Moughton
Guitar/Synths - Bruno Sa
Bass guitar - Jack Ross
Drums - Josh Watts
Geoff Tate Set List:
I Remember Now
Spreading The Disease
Suite Sister Mary
Breaking the Silence
I Dont Believe in Love
Waiting for 22
My Empty Room
Eyes of a Stranger
Jet City Woman
Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime Photos by Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos