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GEOFF TATE, ADRIAN VANDENBERG In Houston, TX With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, March 18, 2024 @ 10:09 AM


The 'Big Rock Show' Hits The House Of Blues Downtown on March 15th

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All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

The much vaunted 'co-headline' jaunt for original QUEENSRYCHE vocalist Geoff Tate and guitar legend Adrian Vandenberg made its way to Houston as part of a 3-city run to close the tour. It was a shrewd move for Tate in calling this a co-headline affair even though their performance times weren't exactly equal (11 songs vs. 16 songs), but it certainly accomplished the desired effect of bringing more people to the show that might have otherwise passed. More on that later. Though not quite a sold out show, the place was plenty packed and the crowd was eager for a night of rock, and boy did they deliver!

I'm sure if you're old enough you'll remember Adrian Vandenberg and his namesake group VANDENBERG from the 80's and in particular their big hit, "Burning Heart". Or perhaps you caught on to him when he made a splash as part of quite possible the greatest WHITESNAKE lineup ever assembled along with Coverdale, Vai, Sarzo and Aldridge. Either way you remember him you were sure to get a dose of both on this tour, Adrian's first in about 3 decades since he was last in the U.S. as a member of WHITESNAKE. Indeed, with the first 5 songs alternating VANDENBERG and WHITESNAKE, the band started the evening with the appropriately titled "Hit The Ground Running" from his 2023 album Sin, then straight into the WHITESNAKE classic, "Fool For Your Loving", back to VANDENBERG for "Your Love Is In Vain", WHITESNAKE's "Give Me All Your Love" and finally "Freight Train" from the VANDENBERG release 2020. At a whopping 70 years of age (!?!?), Vandenberg neither looks nor acts it. He was truly enjoying his time back on North American stages with one of just a few vocalists who can actually pull off the Coverdale numbers, that being Swede Mats Leven, who has a long list of acts he's collaborated with including VANDENBERG, CANDLEMASS, TSO, TREAT and FIREWIND. He was certainly up to the task of covering other WHITESNAKE inclusions of deeper cuts like "Sailing Ships" and "Judgement Day" as well as "Crying In The Rain", Still Of The Night" and set closer "Here I Go Again". Of course the one number that had to be included was the aforementioned "Burning Heart". It was a great opening for the night and so awesome to see Adrian gracing stages in the States once again. And even though I would have preferred the set to be a bit more weighted toward the VANDENBERG material, beggars definitely cannot be choosers here! Let's just hope that it's not another 30 years before we see him again because at 100 years old, that might be pushing things.

Setlist:

  • "Hit The Ground Running" (VANDENBERG)
  • "Fool For Your Loving" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Your Love Is In Vain" (VANDENBERG)
  • "Give Me All Your Love" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Freight Train" (VANDENBERG)
  • "Sailing Ships" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Judgement Day" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Crying In The Rain" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Burning Heart" (VANDENBERG)
  • "Still Of The Night" (WHITESNAKE)
  • "Here I Go Again" (WHITESNAKE)
Ok, by a show of hands, how many of you out there think that vocalist Geoff Tate has lost something over the years? Being perfectly honest here I am guilty of being in that group. The last time I saw a Geoff Tate I was left mostly unimpressed with his performance, stage demeanor and his voice, which seemed at the time to be almost shot. But after seeing some videos and reviews of recent shows Tate looked like he had rejuvenated himself so my curiosity was definitely piqued and all I can say is Holy Shit! So, going back to what I said earlier about the move to call this a co-headline affair certainly worked in bringing in the naysayers, myself included!

Tate and his band of merry men, consisting of 3 guitarists, a bassist, drummer and keyboardist, all of whom you've probably never heard of, proceeded to blow the hearts and minds of those in attendance, starting with "Empire" and then going right into a pair of deeper cuts that I don't think I've ever heard before even when he was with QUEENSRYCHE, that being "Desert Dance" from the Tribe album of 2003 and "I Am I" from 1994's Promised Land. Geoff Tate for his part was all smiles and thoroughly engaging throughout the night. You would have never known that they were just one show from the end of the tour as they rolled through "The Thin Line" before cranking out a trio from the epic Operation: Mindcrime in the title track, "Breaking The Silence" and "I Don't Believe In Love". We got QUEENSRYCHE classics like "NM156", "Screaming In Digital" and "Walk In The Shadows" along with a threesome from Empire, "Another Rainy Night (Without You)", "Jet City Woman" and "Silent Lucidity", which was somewhat of an odd choice to close out the main part of the show, but whatever.

The band returned, this time with a fourth guitarist in tow, Cillian Plummer from Ireland, giving the band and even fuller, richer sound for the encores, a rousing cover of PINK FLOYD's "Welcome To The Machine" followed by two numbers that just had to be seen to be believed, "Take Hold Of The Flame" and "Queen Of The Reich", neither of which I had even seen Tate attempt in I don't know how long. He addressed the crowd twice, asking what they wanted to hear at that point and the resounding answer, which he totally knew was coming, was answered with "You got it, baby!". What an absolutely killer way to bring the crowd to a crescendo to end the show!

Now, as fantastic a show as it was, was it a perfect one? No, in fact I observed a couple of times where Tate was just a tad off-key, but you know what? That just proves what a real live show is and was, imperfections and all with no backing tracks for lead vocals. Did he hit every high note in every song? Absolutely not and in a lot of instances he actually sang it in a lower register, but when you can hit all those notes at the age of 65 then come and see me and we'll talk. But when it counted and things were on the line he laid it out and nailed it, particularly during "Take Hold Of The Flame" and "Queen Of The Reich". Each time he hit one of those I glanced at my fellow photographer, grinned and nodded in approval. As he pulled it all out for the final scream in "QOTR" the crowd roared their approval and appreciation.

Geoff Tte's performance in Houston, Texas proved that he still has plenty of gas left in the vocal tank, detractors be damned! Well done Geoff Tate! Thanks for putting the "ROCK" in the "Big Rock Show" in Houston!

Setlist:

  • "Empire"
  • "Desert Dance"
  • "I Am I"
  • "The Thin Line"
  • "Operation: Mindcrime"
  • "Breaking The Silence"
  • "I Don't Believe In Love"
  • "NM156"
  • "Screaming In Digital"
  • "Walk In The Shadows"
  • "Another Rainy Night (Without You)"
  • "Jet City Woman"
  • "Silent Lucidity"
Encore:
  • "Welcome To The Machine" (PINK FLOYD Cover)
  • "Take Hold Of The Flame"
  • "Queen Of The Reich"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography


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