venue: Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Making their first appearance in 15 years, Queensrÿche 's first set was comprised of their "hits" (with some noticeable exceptions), followed by the Operation Mindcrime album played in its entirety, complete with actors and footage on the big screen. Notable tracks played included "Take Hold of the Flame","Walk In The Shadows", "Jet City Woman", the massive hit "Silent Lucidity", "Empire", "The Whisper", " Last Time In Paris" and a few others.
Singer Geoff Tate was very intense and used his instantly identifiable operatic voice to its full potential. During intermission, as we queued for the bathroom, I overhead guys discussing how wowed their were with Tate's voice
The second set began with what appeared to be a fan taking to the stage and ranting away, and then being acosted by security. One of the bouncers on the floor lept onto the stage to stop this guy, who turned out to be the actor portraying Nicky, one of the main characters from the Operation Mindcrime album. The story behind Operation Mindcrime involves a mysterious and brilliant geneticist, Dr. X, who develops a compound that he tries to sell to the military for mind control purposes. He experiments on junkies like Nicky. Nicky meets up with and falls in love with one Dr. X's former patients, Sister Mary, a nurse who used to be a junkie and prostitute, but Mary gets killed off. We finally get to see who killed Mary. I've never seen a concept album performed live by any band, let alone a metal band, and I have never seen a band live perform with actors. It caught my attention, although I was happy when it was over. More music and less acting, guys!
At the end of the show, some people were moaning about how they weren't into the dramatics and wanted to hear more of the superb old material instead of all of Operation Mindscrime. The band are currently recording Operation Mindcrime II, due out in February. You've got to wonder if they are running out of ideas to cause them to milk a concept that is about 17 years old now. Tracks that I would have enjoyed seeing live from the "hits" opening half of the show include "En Force", "Screaming In Digital", "I Dream In Infrared", "Surgical Strike", "Screaming In Digital", "I Will Remember", "Deliverance", "No Sanctuary", "NM 156", "Before The Storm", and "Queen of the Ryche."