Queensryche @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (2/8/2008)

It seems as though Queensryche is on a ride of renewed popularity and that’s fine by me since I have loved much of what they did over the course of their career. Tonight’s show found them back at The Nokia Theater delivering another exciting show and Dokken’s own Don was opening up acoustically. Those who have their hunger set on learning more should scroll past the logo below.

Logo - Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Venue: Nokia Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Don Dokken
Date: 2/8/2008
Label: Rhino Entertainment

If you thought that Queensryche would sit back and rest on their laurels after their blockbuster tour for the “Operation: Mindcrime” saga, the release of the double DVD and CD set “Mindcrime At The Moore” that captured it all on film and appearances on tour supporting Heaven And Hell then you would surely be mistaken. One could easily view the band Queensryche as one of the true energizer bunnies of Progressive Hard Rock and Metal with their whole “keeps on going” attitude and that’s fine by me since like many others out there I have been a fan for a very long time. The consistent touring appearances would lead one to wonder just what would lie ahead on this tour as “Mindcrime” had been done, and the tour with HAH found them on the release of their compilation “Greatest Hits”. When they announced their new covers release “Take Cover” it became clear that the Ryche would return to present us with a number of standards and a healthy compliment of the renditions delivered on this new album. The appearance tonight would be at Nokia Theater in Times Square and this is a perfect place to catch the band and joining them would be Don Dokken of the great eighties Metal band that bears the same name. Here is a little about how the evening progressed.

Don Dokken: When they originally announced that Don Dokken was making an appearance on the run of shows with Queensryche I thought that I had heard them wrong and that it would be the full band so I admit that I was a little disappointed to find that it would be the singer and accompaniment doing the bands hits acoustically. These songs have proved to work in such a fashion as we found on their semi-acoustic release “One Live Night”, but instead of other members of Dokken appearing we would have guitarist/vocalist Kelly Keeling joining in on guitar and additional vocals. Keeling is a top drawer player who some people might already be aware of based on performances with Erik Norlander and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. For the set, Don and Kelly sat on stools and for some added classy ambience Don sipped a glass of wine while he engaged the audience warmly. The music had a truly different feel with only the pair of singer/guitarists and even differed from that previously mentioned live recording since there was no percussion involved. Just pure acoustic magic which I was really getting into but it seemed as soon as it started that the set would be over. Only six tunes were delivered and that was a shame, but I wandered the venue thinking that this was all that they had been planning on doing in the first place and this fact was later made clear that it was not the case. According to some who attended a show just outside of the city, Don and Kelly played about an hours worth of material and that is not what we got at all which was a shame. He did play one of my favorites with “Just Got Lucky” and “Alone Again” was a hit as one of the best power ballads in Metal history. The audience was very responsive to the singer for the all too brief visit and even sang along with their most notable output being during “Breaking The Chains”.

Queensryche: When I thought about it, it seemed as though it was only a couple of months ago that I last caught Queensryche performing but in reality it had been about five months and either way you sliced it that was rather quick between returning gigs. Yet here we were and the band was ready to deliver their “Take Cover” album at an event that they were calling the “Hits And Rarities” tour. The venue was as expected packed and it’s nice when one sees a sold out room for a band with as much history and relevance to the genre as Queensryche has under their belt. “Burning Man” would be the first song up and this struck me as an odd choice of opener from the “Q2K” album, but it would be the only tune from the oft lambasted release and then it was onto “NM516”, a great tune from “The Warning”. “Screaming In Digital” came up next from “Rage For Order”, an album that many have grown to view as a personal favorite years after its initial release since when it first came out it was a veer off course from what Ryche had shown us they sounded like. The first of the covers album tracks came to us with “Welcome To The Machine”, and the tune even found Geoff Tate playing some saxophone for it. I had heard the song before when they opened for Heaven And Hell at the end of the previous summer but admit the track as a Pink Floyd favorite still so I didn’t mind. I could have passed on the tunes from “Operation Mindcrime II” and honestly even the ones from the first chapter since they had been toured to death and are tracks that everyone knows by heart. Yes they sounded awesome but tonight was the chance to have the band pull out the stops and deliver tunes that we have only wondered if we would ever hear again in the live sense.

“Bridge” was a good choice from “Promised Land” but we would also not get one single tune from “Hear In The Now Frontier” and “Tribe” and I was actually good with this since neither one has been a favorite Ryche album of mine. The biggest surprise for me was their giving us “Gonna Get Close To You”, which was always a dramatic and brooding tune. Outside of “Walk In The Shadows”, this is my favorite number from “Rage For Order” so I was quite happy to hear them doing it after so many years of keeping it in the backroom. They had listed “I Don’t Believe In Love” on the set that I glimpsed but it would not be performed tonight and it seemed as though the edited version of “Eyes Of A Stranger” would be the only track from the first “Mindcrime”, and again with the recent DVD and full tour that supported those albums I was more than fine with it. They would present a healthy chunk of “Empire” which was a bit odd for tonight’s show as it was supposed to focus on rarities and covers but instead would not. The next and only other cover done would be the Police’s “Synchonicity II” and it found a dude who had won a contest that they band was doing as the songs singer as opposed to Geoff Tate. Granted this was a very cool thing for the gentleman involved but I would have preferred to hear Tate singing it instead of anyone else. The guy’s name escapes me but he did do a good job of the track and once he had finished the guys delivered another number from “Promised Land”. They did “Someone Else” and I think they should have given us the better track “I Am I” since it’s more appropriate as a climatic closing lead in than their choice was. “Empire” would be the grand finale and with that the band was gone but you know they will be back soon. 2008 marks the 27th anniversary of band activity for Queensryche so I bid congratulations to Geoff, Michael, Eddie, Scott and Mike for a job well done along with a “we can’t wait to see what you give us next”. My only complaint would be in the selection of some of the songs tonight as I would have liked to see more from the bands debut and EP presented. With the new album growing on many listeners they should have delivered it’s most vital tracks. I really would have liked to hear them do “Neon Knights”, “Cut My Hair” or even the operatic “Odissea”.

Given their consistency in releases and touring over the last couple of years there are a few things that I would like to see delivered and the first is that concert video from Japan for “The Warning” tour and maybe even the full video of their “Unplugged” appearance. Perhaps their next tour can focus on the EP and the first three albums – now that would be awesome.

Don Dokken Set List:
1. Into The Fire
2. Breaking The Chains
3. Just Got Lucky
4. It’s Not Love
5. Alone Again
6. In My Dreams

Queensryche Set List:
1. Burning Man
2. NM516
3. Screaming In Digital
4. Welcome To The Machine
5. I’m American
6. Hostage
7. Bridge
8. The Killing Words
9. Another Rainy Night
10. Gonna Get Close To You
11. Best I Can
12. Real World
13. I Don’t Believe In Love (not played)
14. Jet City Woman
15. Eyes Of A Stranger
16. Synchronicity II
17. Someone Else
18. Empire (edit)

Official Website: www.queensryche.com
Official Website: www.dokken.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.