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By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, July 1, 2019 @ 12:59 AM

At The Vault Music Hall & Pub At Greasy Luck, Sunday June 23rd

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For anyone that might be wondering, let's get something out of the way right here at the start. The QUEENSRYCHE album Operation: Mindcrime is my all-time favorite album. Leading up to the first of a two night sold out concert stop, I even wrote about the album for a series that I write for another website. So as you might imagine, when they announced what turned out to be the first concert of the GEOFF TATE'S OPERATION: MINDCRIME stay in New Bedford, I was definitely going to be in attendance.

I'd seen the original production Tate and his former cohorts in QUEENSRYCHE had done on their tour for the Empire album twice and they still rank as some of the best concerts I've seen. Time has passed and this time around, Tate's performance of the album was on an admittedly smaller scale than those big production shows back in 1990-91. But to be able to take part in the celebration of the album's 30th anniversary made my night!

Of course, there were a trio of opening acts to get through before the main event. Since the show was a listed 8 pm start, I was at home for a long while and ended up taking an unintentional nap. This meant that after waking up and getting to the show I ended up missing my friend's band SAN DIMAS. I actually walked in the venue just as the band TILL DEATH DO US PART took the stage. This is the band featuring Geoff Tate's daughter Emily as the vocalist. I have to say that I'm pretty unfamiliar with the band so watching them was a completely new experience. However, while they were fine to see in concert, I just didn't find the material to really be my cup of tea. Of course that's more than I could say about the band LEKSI. If I heard the singer correctly, it was the band's first live performance. It kind of showed. There was some guy standing next to me during their set and when the singer said they'd be playing their last song of the set, he said loudly enough that I heard it even through the earplugs, "Thank God". I wouldn't have said that out loud myself but it does pretty much sum up what I thought of the set.

After a brief intermission, it was time for Tate and company to hit the stage. As I mentioned, this wasn't a full-blown stage production by any means but as a tape played the "I Remember Now" piece to start the show, the band took their place on stage and then launched into "Anarchy-X". As they kicked off the intro to "Revolution Calling", Tate hit the stage, thus beginning what was to me a surprisingly good and effective performance. I say this because I've seen videos online and read reports about shows that would have one believe he had lost his voice or just half-assed his way through performances over the years. Whatever my reservations going into the show, Tate allayed them throughout the performance because he was pretty darn fantastic.

I will say that there was some stylistic differences in the overall performance of the Operation: Mindcrime album. It wasn't an exact duplication of the disc but it was still damned effective overall.

The first half of the album was performed without nary a stoppage from the band. After the conclusion of "Suite Sister Mary" (which featured Emily Tate performing the vocal role of Mary), Tate briefly addressed the crowd before kicking off "The Needle Lies".

From one song to the next, you could see how the crowd reacted so strongly. When encouraged they shouted out the song choruses (you can see some of that on the few videos that made their way to Youtube) and just generally worshipped every note of this standard bearing album! I particularly enjoyed hearing "Speak" and "Spreading The Disease" during the first half of the set. And I made sure to join in to shout out that "Revolution Calling" exclamation in the middle of that song.

You'd think that on slower pieces like "Electric Requiem" or "Waiting For 22" that the energy in the room would've flagged but it didn't. It just seemed to further key up the audience until the band would break into "I Don't Believe In Love", "Breaking The Silence" and finally to bring the house down with "Eyes of a Stranger".

The tale of corruption, conspiracy, murder and mayhem may not seem like something you can become so emotionally attached to, but for me and likely many if not all in the crowd, that is exactly what happened. With the final strains of "Eyes of a Stranger", I was cooked, emotionally speaking.

The band is made up mostly (probably all of them actually) of players younger than Tate so there's some of that slightly more youthful exuberance from some of them but that's a good thing when they are committed to putting on a show worthy of the album they are celebrating.

In recent days, it was announced that Geoff Tate plans to go on tour in 2020 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Empire album. So it wasn't that much of a surprise that the four song encore consisted of tracks from that album. There's a line near the start of "Best I Can" that goes "I wanna write for a magazine". When it was first released, I loved the line because I always wanted to write for one myself, even back then. Now that I do write for a magazine, I was kind of surprised with myself to feel drawn to the line when Tate sang it on this night. Sadly, though not unexpectedly, the band played "Silent Lucidity". Sorry people, but ever since they played it to death as a single back in the day, I've hated the song. My opinion didn't change watching it again in a live setting.

The final duo of songs were "Empire", which rocked pretty hard, and the set closing "Jet City Woman", which served as a fitting conclusion to a night of such an enjoyable night of music. There wasn't a meet and greet on the night and I don't know what people had to say about the second concert at The Vault the next night but heading into a work week that has been nothing but a pain in my butt, the 30th anniversary celebration of Operation: Mindcrime at least got my week off to a rocking good time celebrating the music (and the greatest album of all time in my not so humble opinion) Geoff Tate helped to create!

Set List

  • "I Remember Now" (Taped Intro)
  • "Anarchy-X"
  • "Revolution Calling"
  • "Speak"
  • "Spreading The Disease"
  • "The Mission"
  • "Suite Sister Mary"
  • "The Needle Lies"
  • "Electric Requiem"
  • "Breaking The Silence"
  • "I Don't Believe In Love"
  • "Waiting For 22"
  • "My Empty Room"
  • "Eyes of a Stranger"
  • "Best I Can"
  • "Silent Lucidity"
  • "Empire"
  • "Jet City Woman"

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