Geoff Tate

Oran Mor, Glasgow on Tue 27th Aug 2019

Frontman of seminal progressive metallers Queensrÿche Geoff Tate returns to Scotland, following last year's 30th anniversary of the ground-breaking classic 'Operation Mindcrime'. Tonight his home is the basement of Glasgow's ornate gothic 1800s church, Òran Mór. Since Tate's acrimonious divorce from Queensrÿche back in 2012, he has been performing the world performing the band's classics under his own name. After all, it was his voice that graced the albums for over three decades. This year, he already toured Europe with his solo outfit in February, toured with the power metal troupe Avantasia and released a heavy metal album with Sweet Oblivion. He is certainly not deficient in supporters in Glasgow, seeing as Òran Mór's basement is busy this summer evening.

It's undeniable that Queensrÿche's best material is from the first part of their career. Tate starts solidly with a muscular take on 'Neue Regel' from their 1986 sophomore album 'Rage for Order'. Winding prog metal guitar leads crawl to a sinister and satisfying climax. Ages comes for us all and while Tate's vocal range doesn't match the sustained falsetto that he was blessed with on the recorded counterpart, his voice still packs a punch and services the song dutifully enough. The second hit of this one-two punch comes from 'Screaming in Digital', a sci-fi drama with an audible performance rare to identify in today's music. Next Tate makes the right decision by employing the song 'Operation: Mindcrime', its familiarity greeted with earth-quaking applause and the fans' vocal participation.

Tate hails from a generation of lead singers where it was imperative to be an all-rounder frontman. In spite of the compact stage, he utilises a captivating stage presence, interacting with over-heating audience members individually and drops wise-cracking sharp banter. He bemoans the lack of air conditioning in the venue, chronicling how he will come back to the UK with air conditioning units for sale and become a billionaire. He interacts with his backing band warmly, a line-up that includes the drummer of power metal powerhouses Edguy and Avantasia, Felix Bohnke. The band's loyal efforts are greeted enthusiastically by the venue and the trio of guitars works well.

Frolicking through more 'Operation: Mindcrime' classics, like 'Speak', 'Spreading the Disease', 'The Mission' and 'Breaking the Silence', strike sweet spot after sweet spot. Tate must have performed these songs thousands of times but still imbues each with an unwavering sense of authentic feeling. Even older prime cuts 'Take Hold of the Flame', 'I Dream in Infrared, 'Walk in the Shadows' and the first song Queensrÿche ever composed 'The Lady Wore Black' sound ambitious, meaty and energetic rather than dated, lethargic and weak.

After the cynical 'I Don't Believe in Love', Tate and his band of merry men vacate the stage. With the glaring omissions in their set, it's a sure thing that they are back. The first hit of the encore is Queensrÿche's most popular, one that Tate claims people got married to, got buried to, got born to and got conceived to! It is none other than the tender ballad 'Silent Lucidity', of course. This is proceeded by another 'Empire'-era song, 'Jet City Woman', deluging the venue with its rain-drenched guitar melodies. Last but not least comes 'Eyes of a Stranger', another bold and haunting 'Operation: Mindcrime' anthem that has Tate and fans singing together for one final time tonight.

Queensrÿche may have plenty of success touring without Tate but there is definitely room in the world for both. He performs almost non-stop and although this is his second time in the continent in six months, there is evidently no fatigue from the fans as Òran Mór's sweating basement walls proves. Giving a full hour and a half exclusively playing Queensrÿche songs is a testament to how timeless these songs are and how fans just cannot get enough. Support.

article by: Elena Francis

published: 03/09/2019 15:18

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