at 930, Washington DC, USA, November 4, 2006

A classic album isn’t a classic album at the time of its release. Even Operation: Mindcrime was nothing but a damn good one in 1988 -– today, most people with good taste in music regard this release as one of the most amazing discs ever recorded. But then again, because of the fact stated to begin with, you don’t dive into a full production based on the latest release before people understand how incredible and long-lasting it is. The Seattle quintet Queensrÿche, led by vocal-chief Geoff Tate and, in the eighties, songwriter genius Chris DeGarmo, understood this, and waited a few years before they brought the full Operation: Mindcrime to the people, first during the Empire tour in 1990.

So why would a tour featuring both …Mindcrime and its sequel, released earlier in 2006, be the right thing to do? Wouldn’t it be too early for people to digest the second part presented from stage? Nah, first of all, part one is such a strong backbone that this could work, and with the follow-up story finally answering a few questions left open, it sure worked –- let there be no doubt about that.

There is something rather politically incorrect about supporting the opinionated Geoff Tate and his band when performing in the USA capital, Washington DC. But, people did, and Queensrÿche managed to turn a decent crowd into a frenzy again and again with their two society-critical concept albums performed back to back. At one point, during “Speak” in fact -– just within walking distance from the White House, Tate held up a sign saying “Somebody give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him!!”

There’s no use in going into song-by-song details here, you should by now know the running order. But interestingly, the ‘rÿches added pieces of music to both parts of the set, making …Mindcrime I clock in at around 70 minutes. After Mary kills herself, a percussive part was played before finally getting into “Electric Requiem.” For those who always thought Mary killed herself – and yes, she certainly did – there are still ethical questions raised around the incident. You will have to go and see the show to find out more, though …

The stage looks completely street-leveled, its graffiti setting reminds of Savatage’s “Gutter Ballet” video — there’s a podium in the middle where a great part of the action goes on, leaving “the man behind the chains,” top drummer Scott Rockenfield, out to stage right. And “action” is indeed the keyword here, as Geoff Tate puts on one of the best performances ever witnessed in Rock music. You thought he did great back on the Empire tour? Well, that was nothing -– go and see him now as he is ready to rip up Broadway! His role as Nikki is at times split with another actor (or crew member), simply because it works best this way and the story shifts from being told from a third person’s view to a first person aspect. Pamela Moore shows Mary’s many different faces, the prostitute, the nun, and finally the ghost role in part II, where Nikki battles heavily with thoughts of revenge. Also playing a huge role in the whole play, is simply … the gun.

“The Chase,” where Ronnie James Dio on the disc takes the role as the evil Doctor X during the most intense part of the sequel, is performed by the band, while both Tate’s and Dio’s vocal contributions are from the big screen, giving Geoff a well-deserved break before he serves Doctor X justice -– again leaving political questions for discussion; how legitimate is it to kill a person that has ruined your life and made you spend 6500 days in jail …?

“If I Could Change It All” stands out as the best track from Operation: Mindcrime II, even live, and Mike Stone with his war paint (more like duct tape) shines as a guitar player on the sequel. Chris DeGarmo’s parts from part I are still not played exactly the same way, but still a lot better and more fitting than earlier this year. Bassist Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton on guitar; what can be said? Jackson is dead on as always, both with his fingers and backing vocals -– so safe you could leave your life savings with him -– while Wilton seems more confident than ever, and proves he can handle duties left by DeGarmo with class and in true style. Also, he shows that some of his recent work on the sequel stands tall next to the early stuff he did.

After a good hour with the sequel, meaning more than two hours of music, Stone and Wilton launched into “The Whisper,” making it pretty obvious that the attendees all would have stayed until the next morning had they played the full Rage For Order, debut, or Empire as well. And right, a shortened “Empire,” the title track, again a huge “up yours” to the White House down the road, ended this incredible show. Queensrÿche’s only problem now, is –- like asked on Operation: Mindcrime II, “and what now?”


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