at Star Plaza Theatre, Indiana USA, October 1, 2005

The Star Plaza Theatre, located in Indiana, USA, is a 3400-seat, red plush, intimate theatre with two seating levels formed in a semi-circle around the stage. On this night, an estimated crowd of 2000 Metal Fans of all ages (mostly a 30+ crowd, though) met this night with one thing in mind: to see the show that was being billed, somewhat quietly, as An Evening With Queensrÿche. This type of billing portrayed a pretty straightforward concept: no back-up band, and Queensrÿche performs two sets. The first set being a “Greatest Hits” set, and the second set a full production of Queensrÿche’s mega-hit concept album, Operation Mindcrime.

One thing seated fans noticed is that Scott Rockenfield’s drum kit was off to one corner of the stage versus being centered in the back row, as is typical in most music acts. Surely, this was orchestrated for what was to come in Act II. Of course, many didn’t seem to be aware of this two set concept, so understandably some curiosities were certainly peaked.

The show began somewhat precariously with no band on stage and the clock reading well past twenty minutes of the published start time. To make matters slightly worse, the first glimpse of anything the fans saw, who were slowly growing impatient at this point, was a local DJ hyping his station’s upcoming events. Once the DJ mentioned that tonight’s performance was a two-Act set, with the second set being a full production of Operation Mindcrime, the crowd went literally wild. Thankfully, the wait wasn’t more then two minutes longer, as the lights dimmed and those coming back to their seats with another “round” of beverages rushed to their seats.


Without much warning, guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone (wearing a cowboy hat), and bassist Eddie Jackson (wearing sunglasses, a pony tail, and backwards baseball cap) waltzed casually onto the stage to play the intro to “The Whisper,” the song that kicked off the Act I set. Vocalist Geoff Tate approached the crowd, dressed in black, via a short platform at center stage in the back row (typically where Rockenfield would have been placed) while singing the opening lyrics.

The sound for this Act was not extremely loud, and was for the most part clear without distortion. The lights were adequate for this rather small venue, and, of course, the video production was as shining as ever. Musically, the band was tight and in excellent form, as Geoff Tate played to the crowd and reminded everyone why he is one of the best front men out there. It was a little hard grasping a “Greatest Hits” set that included no entries, understandably so, from Operation Mindcrime. The set mostly paid homage to the Empire and Rage For Order releases, with 6 of the set’s 10 songs dedicated to those two releases alone.

A highlight of the set included “Take Hold Of The Flame,” which turned into the usual anthem with the crowd reciting their part of the chorus (“Take Hold!”) loudly and in tune. The band seemed to lose the crowd, though, during “The Lady Wore Black.” Perhaps fans where hoping for “Queen Of The Reich” from that same debut EP instead?

The “curveball” thrown by the band on this night was the inclusion of “Last Night In Paris,” the B-Side of “Silent Lucidity” and the Ford Fairlane Soundtrack, in the set. Some fans were caught off-guard as to where this particular song came from.

Overall, Queensryche played a fine first set … probably not the “Greatest” of hits from the perspective of all fans in attendance, but the set certainly provided a superb “warm-up” for what was about to come. But first, a 30 minute intermission …

Act I Set List (50 minutes):
The Whisper * Empire * Another Rainy Night * Walk In The Shadows * Take Hold Of The Flame * Sign Of The Times * The Lady Wore Black * Jet City Woman * Last Night In Paris * Silent Lucidity


At precisely 9:45 p.m., another local DJ came on stage to the chagrin of the crowd, to let everyone know about a benefit concert. At this point, the crowd suspected that the start of the much-anticipated production was near, perhaps too near. Surprisingly, two “medical interns” appeared on stage chasing a “misguided youth” and cut the DJ slightly short. The lights then dimmed and the audience slowly began to question whether Act II had begun. This quandary was quickly put aside once “Nurse Debbie” came over the PA. At this point the crowd went literally berserk — the energy level in the hall had risen ten-fold! From this point forward, no one dared to remain in his or her seats. Everyone was in total awe over the almost operatic musical production that had begun to unfold in front of them.

For the next 75 minutes, fans were treated to a musical and visual production treat of the Operation Mindcrime opus. During this Act, the sound system had gotten noticeably louder as well. This did induce some slight distortion into the mix but nothing overwhelming, as Geoff Tate’s vocals were mostly clear and understandable with some occasional cutout. The production was professionally presented using costumes, props, surround sound clips that buzzed around the crowd’s head, a well executed light show, and updated video segments.

The story was told with the much appreciated assistance of Pamela Moore, the original Sister Mary on Operation Mindcrime, and three other actors, one representing everyone’s friend Nikki. At times throughout the opus, Tate would assume the role of Nikki, and without speaking, would convey a wealth of emotions through a multitude of face and body gyrations and minor costume changes. During this Act, Tate definitely took on the role of an Opera Singer, not only in voice but also in acting! Typically, astonishing acting exchanges took place between Tate and Moore while the remaining band members played through an instrumental section. Wilton, Jackson (now with his locks revealed), and Stone (now dressed in shiny vinyl with a blonde, Mike Score-like {A Flock Of Seagulls} hairdo) seemed very content to remain out of the spotlight to allow Tate and Moore to use body language to convey the storyline to the audience. Anyone that had thought themselves a fan of Operation Mindcrime must have felt chills when hearing Moore sing the Sister Mary parts in a live environment. Moore was also a factor in providing assistance in the back-up vocals department, even though she seemed slightly turned down in the mix during this backup role. The crowd assisted in the normal manner by providing Anthem Rock-like, boisterous, vocal assistance during the opportune times in tracks like “The Needle Lies.” Overall, a very enjoyable experience!

Believe it or not, there was also an approximated 4-minute encore that is slightly different than most would expect. Just say it was devoted to heightening the crowd’s interest in Operation Mindcrime 2, due in January of 2006.

There is so much that could be told of what the crowd saw and felt during these 75 minutes, but it is best not to ruin the surprises. If you’re even a remote fan of the Operation Mindcrime release, and you have any opportunity to see this production, you owe it to yourself to make every attempt to attend at all costs! You shall not be disappointed!

Act II Set List (75 minutes):
Operation Mindcrime *


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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