Review and Pix: Ed Thompson
There has been much to say over the years about Geoff Tate’s departure from Queensryche in 2012. The question about his replacement; Todd La Torre was whether Todd had the pipes to fill the job much like Steve Augeri or Arnel Pinera did to The Voice, Steve Perry of Journey. Since 2012, I personally was unable to get to a Queensryche show to see the if Todd could or not. I read the great reviews about his and his filling of the role. But yesterday here in Pittsburgh PA. Queensryche made yet another visit to the great city of Pittsburgh at the Historic Rex Theatre in the beautiful South Side district for their “Condition Human” tour and I was lucky enough to get the chance to not only see the show for shooting the show and review it for Pittsburgh Music Magazine. Merry Christmas to me!!
I rarely have complaints about bands that I truly like and look forward to seeing. I wait for weeks or even months to see them these days. This time, with Queensryche though, I do have a complaint and it’s simple one to fix. Next time, PLAY MORE OF QUEENSRYCHE. It’s nice getting a band or two to warm up the crowd and get the atmosphere “right” for the headliner to come out, however with a band like Queensryche, I want to be spoiled and get the full effect and 20 plus songs. Of course, I am joking. To an extent. With the catalog and the hits and the persona that Todd La Torre has, filling a 2.5-hour spot is not too much to ask. They could do it easily and actually do this on many nights across the country on this tour. All depends on of the number of warm-up acts.
The band came out after the two warm up acts of New York’s Midnight Eternal and the always electrifying Armored Saint to a very excited crowd of Pittsburghers and even a few Ohio travelers from what I heard talking to people before the show. I saw in a review of the concert too on their site that someone made the trip from NY also where the band played the night before. Todd La Torre came out oozing with pure energy as expected. HIS voice, to me, was incredible. There were a few times I closed my eyes and honestly couldn’t tell the difference between Todd and Geoff in the 1990’s. Sure the “Sryche Faithfull” may miss Geoff, but my God, Todd is MORE than an adequate replacement. And I use the word “replacement” because it’s been almost 5 years. Geoff is not coming back to this band. This band is Todd’s and he is performing at an “ABOVE MEETS REQUIREMENTS” as the lead singer or frontman. Seeing Todd sipping on hot tea throughout the show with what I’m guessing was topped with some honey, was great to see in regards to him taking care of his voice for the future of this band. It’s refreshing to see a front man caring about his voice these days and secondly taking acre of it.
The band went right to the energy of their catalog with Guardian, Operation:, Mindcrime and Best I Can and not only put me in my “Happy Place” for the event but also the 4000 plus at the Rex Theatre. Damaged, The Killing Words and The Mission set up for the flashback to the band’s 1990’s BEST HITS of Silent Lucidity, Empire, and Jet City Woman. In that order too. The band blew the roof off The Rex in Pittsburgh with JCW. The crowd sang along with them too on it like it was 1991 all over again. And set the pace for the rest for the evening’s set.
They continued on with the hits belting out Take Hold of the Flame, Screaming In Digital and finally Eyes of a Stranger. Eyes of a Stranger was song # 14 of the night and the final song of the set and leads me back to the point that I made earlier. It would have been great to get a few more hits. But it’s all good. I was more than happy to get my Queensryche-fill a few weeks before Christmas.
I think Queensryche will be back to Pittsburgh. Possibly soon too. The crowd REALLY loved what they put out and the show they gave. In the days of bands like Queensryche touring the country in 2016, that’s all that matters. Additionally, I fully expect them to be back with Todd La Torre. This is HIS band now. Without a doubt. He now not only has the pipes to fill the position night in and night out, but also the charisma and personality. Todd’s the real deal and the ONLY logical replacement for Geof Tate. Can’t wait to see this band again. Soon. Very soon.