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Queensryche in Los Angeles (With Pictures)

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Sunday, October 8, 2006 @ 7:18 PM

At the Gibson Ampitheatre, Uni

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October 5, 2006

I remember now. The dark mystique, the grandeur, and the infectious sound of Queensryche slayed us when they broke out in 1983 with its self-titled EP. I share the opinion with many that the band’s sound sustained a magical quality on each album that was released up to 1990. In between this time there were two monumental Queensryche albums that came out: Rage for Order and Operation: Mindcrime, respectively.

Operation: Mindcrime was a brilliantly twisted album; the best time you could have while wearing headphones. There was much buzz about the Operation Mindcrime touring rock opera and a ticket to one of those shows was a highly coveted item. Now, 20 years later, and with the release of Operation: Mindcrime II, Queensryche is out on the road playing both Mindcrime albums in their entirety.

I guess a true fan never gives up on his or her favorite band, but the last studio album, Tribe was a disappointment and the Universal Ampitheatre show at that time left much to be desired. Geoff Tate was sporting a bald head (he looked like Morpheus from The Matrix) and was sluggishly schlepping 30 extra pounds around the stage on his frame.


A couple years pass after this tragedy and the press releases started to hit, telling the world that the band would release the sequel Operation: Mindcrime II. The talk around the water coolers and kegs was that if Queensryche doesn’t pull this one off—they’re finished!

Queensryche and the continuing story of Nikki, Dr. X and Sister Mary, hit the Gibson Ampitheatre and showed Los Angeles that this band is alive and well. With new guitarist Mike Stone, who recorded with the band on OM II, the Jet City quintet may have exceeded many fans expectations—I was blown away with Michael Wilton’s and Mike Stone’s guitar playing. Sharing equal time playing jaw-dropping leads, these guys, dare I say it, sounded better than the DeGarmo/Wilton duo of yesteryear. Drummer Scott Rockenfield and bassist Eddie Jackson held up a bruising bottom end throughout the whole two-part theatrical show while frontman Geoff Tate energetically worked the stage. His vocals are still strong, despite the inevitable dampening of his range.

The cast of characters did a fine job throughout Acts 1 and 2. A nun shooting dope? Oh my! The lovely Pamela Moore played her role as Sister Mary, singing powerfully while complimenting Tate’s vocals. Moore provided the other actors with a heavy metal Meryl Streep-like support.

The visuals were amazing with media screens showing Operation: Mindcrime related imagery. The music was mind-blowing! I pre-judged Mike Stone because he currently wears a Mohawk, thinking ‘Okay, this dude is going to hack up his rhythm parts and Wilton will carry the guitar sound’. Not the case—Stone is a virtuoso. I judge myself as a bad judge. He played great solos and is the perfect accompaniment to Wilton and a suitable replacement to the departed Chris DeGarmo.

A big (if not the very biggest) event of the evening was when metal god Ronnie James Dio took the stage as Dr. X to sing “The Chase.” Mr. Dio’s co-lead performance was stellar, however brief.

Queensryche put the hook in me early on when they played “Revolution Calling”, and gutted me with “Walk in The Shadows” as one of the encore songs. If you can’t snag fishing analogies then let’s say that their sound and stage performance was memorable and well worth going out to see. Sorry folks, the Ronnie James Dio cameo was a one-time deal on this tour.


    Operation: Mindcrime (released 1988)

    1. I Remember Now
    2. Anarchy-X
    3. Revolution Calling
    4. Operation: Mindcrime
    5. Speak
    6. Spreading The Disease
    7. The Mission
    8. Suite Sister Mary
    9. The Needle Lies
    10. Electric Requiem
    11. Breaking The Silence
    12. I Don’t Believe In Love
    13. Waiting For 22
    14. My Empty Room
    15. Eyes Of A Stranger


    Operation: Mindcrime II (released 2006)

    1. Freiheit Ouverture
    2. Convict
    3. I’m American
    4. One Foot In Hell
    5. Hostage
    6. The Hands
    7. Speed Of Light
    8. Signs Say Go
    9. Re-Arrange You
    10. The Chase
    11. A Murderer
    12. Circles
    13. If I Could Change It All
    14. An International Confrontation
    15. A Junkie’s Blues
    16. Fear City Slide
    17. All The Promises


  • Walk in the Shadows
  • Jet City Woman
Click on the thumbnail shots for larger pictures.

Photos by gnarlyfotos.com

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