Powerful tribute to the troops for those who don't get bored easily.
It’s not a hot start for Queensryche. If there hadn’t been technical difficulties in earlier sets, I’d begin to think my presence curses them - we get through the long intro and the guitar starts up before the sound fails totally. Heckles turn to the odd boo during the long break, but it’s not totally unheard of for their copious amounts of backing tapes to fail. So it’s back to the start and we go through the whole thing a second time, with more success.
It’s worth waiting for - Queensryche’s set is a curious one, the first part being a mixture of three albums: ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and its sequel, and the controversial newie ‘American Soldier’. Geoff Tate is particularly verbose tonight, offering a few Wales/Hell related jokes in between their marathon songs. Their first song passes me by, but ‘The Whisper’ is where they really get into the vibe of the music. ‘I Dream In Infrared’ is particularly interesting, because it suggests we’re moving away from the guaranteed hits and into rarities and suchlike. Whether it’s for the fans’ or the band’s benefit is anyone’s guess.
‘American Soldier’, for the uninitiated who are still watching, requires a somewhat lengthy explanation as to its conception and non-political roots. But it’s an interesting experience to hear the taped soldiers’ voices combined with QR’s strong, emotional musicianship. More of an intellectual exercise than anything else we’ve experienced this week, the fantastic songs and perfect stagecraft just save it from being self-indulgent. The subject matter is dealt with delicately and respectfully, even considering the room full of leather-clad metalheads baying for guitar solos. The choice of songs seems to be more for existing fans and they’re very secure in their position here this weekend as having nothing to prove.
‘American Soldier’ gets a well-deserved round of applause before we’re back into the set with another monologue on the emotive subject of the move from vinyl to digital music. It may be long and involved, but very well observed. Sadly, I think there’s a section of crowd who isn’t particularly into observational comedy this evening. Fortunately the powerful ‘Another Rainy Night’ and ‘Silent Lucidity’ soothe them.
We don’t get the rigmarole of walking off and on stage for an encore because of the problems at the start of the set, so they continue as the vibe is great and they’re running late anyway. The whole thing is brought to an euphoric end, proving once and for all that loud music isn’t necessarily brainless.