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QUEENSRYCHE Live In Houston, Texas With Photos

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, June 17, 2013 @ 4:56 PM


Todd La Torre-Fronted Version Rocks The Concert Pub North

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I saw QUEENSRYCHE for the very first time way back in the early 80's. The band had recently released their EP and were out on the road as the third band, opening for QUIET RIOT and AXE ("Rock And Roll Party In The Streets" anyone?). I actually had the extreme pleasure of meeting now former guitarist Chris DeGarmo on that day and though their set was very short (after all, the EP had only 4 songs on it), I was hooked as a QUEENSRYCHE fan.

That would turn out to be the only time I was able to catch them on tour until the mid-2000's, when they went out with DREAM THEATER. In the interim I had gotten married, had a child and basically did what I needed to do to provide for my family, which left little money leftover for concerts. I did catch the band again on the American Soldier tour, then again at the now infamous appearance at the 2012 Rocklahoma Festival, which would end up being their last with longtime vocalist Geoff Tate. Just a scant 2 weeks or so after my interview with new vocalist Todd La Torre, which you can still read HERE, the band announced a show in Houston at the Concert Pub North, a great club on the north side of town that in the past 8 months or so has really established itself as a place to see great bands from the era I love, the 80's. Needless to say, I was completely stoked about this announcement, but as you will see, the show ALMOST didn't happen.

My concert cohort Stephen and I arrived at the club around 6:15, as the doors were supposed to open at 6 or 6:30, depending on which internet posting you saw. The original plan was for me to call the tour manager after the band's soundcheck and he was going to take us back to meet the guys prior to the show. The concert was taking place in the parking lot of the club, where they set up a nice outdoor stage for the summer concerts, but due to the threat of rain earlier in the day, equipment had to be covered until the threat had passed. So, when we arrived, they were nowhere near soundcheck yet and were still testing the drums and bass while we stood and observed. Now, mind you, there were supposed to be 2 local bands opening this show: LOVE & WAR at 7:15 and VICTIM at 8:15, with QUEENSRYCHE to go on at 9:30. Finally, a little after 7, the band came out to do their soundcheck. Security from the club chased us off from behind the chain link fencing that surrounded the stage and so we took a vantage point where the end of the fencing meets the end of a boat shaped restaurant that makes up another part of the club. During the middle of their brief check, vocalist Todd La Torre calls out, "Where's Larry from KNAC?". Of course, I had to throw the horns up in the air and when he saw me, gave me a thumbs up. Totally unexpected and yet very cool at the same time!

So, the band leaves the stage at around 7:30, well into the first band's set time. At this point I opted not to call the manager as planned, seeing as how he probably would not have been in the best of moods. Besides, we had been provided with After Show passes, so I figured we would just catch up with them afterwords. We just continued to hang by the stage watching the drama unfold. LOVE & WAR scurried to get their gear set up and get checked when the 2 rented generators that power the stage lights and sound decided to clock out for the day. I wish I could say I was kidding, but unfortunately I was not. A mad scramble ensued and it didn't take long to determine that one of the generators was NOT coming back to life, so the crews moved everything to the lone one that was left, but then that generator was asking for a certain 'code' in order to come back up. Just when it seemed that the entire show might be in jeopardy, they managed to get the one generator back online. The delay stretched until 8:45, when it was finally decided that only LOVE & WAR would play, and their set was cut from 45 minutes to just 20. They made the most of it, certainly to the delight of the crowd, which was growing both in size and frustration at the lengthy delay. Their brief set included the songs "Love & War", "Hungry", "710 Groove" and set closer "Six Feet Under".

By now things were running a little more smoothly and as scheduled, at 9:30, the rejuvenated QUEENSRYCHE took the stage. I knew that the Houston stop was part of their "Return To History Tour" and I also knew that the set was going to be composed of songs from Empire and back, so it was certainly no shock when the band stormed into their 90 minute set with the song that got myself and I'm sure legions of others into the band in the first place, "Queen Of The Reich". It is the perfect song and in their 30+ year history I personally think they should have never opened with anything else! It just gets you rocking from the get go. From there, the band played "Speak", from the 1988 epic release, Operation: Mindcrime, before finishing my 3 song photo op with "Walk In The Shadows".

It certainly was a pleasure to see the attitude of the guys in the band. Smiles were all around and the group was certainly more lively than most of my previous experiences of seeing them live. Guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren, along with bassist Eddie Jackson moved all over the stage instead of being relegated to their specific "area". Jackson noted after the show that 'It was nice to be able to move more than 5 feet from one spot'. Drummer Scott Rockenfield was methodic and precise, notable especially considering that he was using a 'borrowed' drum setup because the band had flown in to Houston after playing Mexico City just 2 days prior. I returned to my spot by the stage in time for "The Whisper, from 1987's Rage For Order and then "En Force".

The band plowed through the rest of their set and kept the momentum going with other classics like "Child Of Fire", "Warning", "Prophecy" and "Roads to Madness". It was during this latter tune that Todd La Torre, whom my friend Duane referred to as 'The AntiTate', asked for a fan's cellphone and then proceeded to film the other members of the band as they played the song, then gave it back to the appreciative concertgoer. Todd would tell us afterwards that, in spite of the fact that video of him doing just that had surfaced only recently after video of former vocalist Geoff Tate taking a fan's phone and chunking it into the crowd had been posted, he (Todd) had been doing that for most of his career and was really nothing new. The band finished the pre-encore list by returning once again to Mindcrime for "Eyes Of A Stranger".

The band returned for a 4 song encore set, kicked off by a track from the band's brand new, not yet released, self-titled album, "Fallout". Next came the tune I had waited all night for, "Take Hold Of The Flame", followed by "Jet City Woman" and "Empire". Not only was this the band's first appearance in Houston with Todd on vocals but, as he mentioned during the encores, that night just happened to be the one year anniversary of his first performance with the band, that being the first of two RISING WEST shows they played in Seattle in 2012.

The night was topped off with our being able to hang with the guys in the 'hospitality' room of the club until the tour manager came and announced that it was time for them to go. All the guys were very cordial, cool and had a great time hanging with those of us that were there. Many thanks to them and to the tour manager for being a true professional!

It was a great show and it was quite apparent from the start that the fire and energy they used to display years ago is back, hopefully to stay! The only thing I found completely out of place was that there was NO merchandise for sale! No CDs, no shirts, posters, nothing. The only thing I could assume was that they sold out of everything at the Mexico City show. Quite a bummer there as numerous people I knew at this show were searching for something besides drinks to spend their money on and the band probably could have made a bundle on it.

Setlist

  • "Queen Of The Reich"
  • "Speak"
  • "Walk In The Shadows"
  • "The Whisper"
  • "En Force"
  • "Child Of Fire"
  • "Warning"
  • "The Needle Lies"
  • "Prophecy"
  • "Roads To Madness"
  • "My Empty Room"
  • "Eyes Of A stranger"
Encores:
  • "Fallout"
  • "Take Hold Of The Flame"
  • "Jet City Woman"
  • "Empire"
All Photos By Larry Petro

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