Veteran Seattle prog metal band Queensryche showcase their classic back catalogue to wow Glasgow, showing they are still a powerhouse and one of metal’s finest

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! Progressive metal band Queensryche have been providing some of the finest hard hitting metal, exquisite songs and melodies ever since the release of their first self titled EP way back in 1983. Some 15 studio albums later (3 with Todd La Torre), Queensryche have been recently touring to promote 15th album The Verdict since it’s album launch at the start of March earlier this year. This is the bands second visit to Europe and the UK since a string of shows in the summer and it never slows down for the band. Which is a good thing right?

First band, New Jersey based Dark Sky Choir kick off proceedings tonight. A relatively recent collaboration of musicians and vocalist with a history of experience in previous bands and live touring. We are treated to a hard and heavy metal set full of heavy chunky riffs and well crafted solos from experienced guitarist Ira Black, top notch drumming by Jordan Cannata, who gave his all, and the heavy bass grooves from Percy Trayanov backed up by the power vocals and growls from vocalist Brian Allen. Apart from the sound guys taking a few songs to get the vocal levels right it was a faultless set from the foursome. High on energy Dark Sky Choir did Whip the crowd into a frenzy by the end of their 7 song set.

Up next are Greek power metal gods Firewind. Headliners in their own right, it doesn’t take long for the Glasgow crowd to warm to the band. Even some Greek fans made their way to the gig tonight, draping a Greek flag over the barrier! Firewind has been a long ongoing project for founder and lead guitarist Gus G. Over the years, with much international recognition and 8 albums later there have been several personnel changes but this has always been Gus’s baby. Firewind start strong opening with Ode To Leonidas. It doesn’t take long to see the amount of talent and skill on display as the guitar genius gets the crowd going with some amazing flamboyant solos song after song. There is of course strong backing with Keyboard/guitar partner Bob Katsionis complimenting, switching seamlessly between the two instruments with ease. Petros Christo provides some heavy bass grooves and is backed with the heavy pounding rythms of drummer Jo Nunez. Vocalist over the past few years, Henning Basse, fronts the band with a lot of charisma, presence and some huge power vocals to boot. Combined Firewind get the whole crowd going song after song. The sweet guitar intro of set ender Falling To Pieces gets the Glasgow crowd clapping and bouncing up and down, and sets the party mood for the main act to follow.

Queensryche are given a huge warm Glasgow reception once they make their entrance to the stage to the instrumental intro and get straight into ‘Blood on the Levent’, the hard and heavy opening track from the bands latest album The Verdict. The band members dressed mainly in all black attire sets a dark, heavy captivating atmosphere as the first few songs hit hard and heavy. ‘I Am I’ and the classic fan favourite ‘NM156’ complete a frantic opening. There is space for one more new song ‘Man the Machine’, which does get the crowd going, but from then on the Glasgow audience are treated to a string of classic fan favourites from the band’s EP and first 4 albums respectively.

As soon as vocalist Todd La Torre says the words “this one is off of Rage For Order” the jubilent Glasgow crowd goes wild, as we are treated to a stellar ‘Walk In The Shadows’. Casey Grillo, long time stand in tour drummer for Scott Rockenfield seems to have welded into the Queensryche mold seamlessly, you would think he has been with the band for many years. His pounding rhythms are backed up by the always consistent and reliable Eddie Jackson on bass. Jackson produces awesome tones from his 5 string bass and makes it look effortless. Original guitarist Michael ‘Whip’ Wilton, and Parker Lundgren (guitarist since 2009) have become well established as the Queensryche guitarists over the past 10 years and are a well oiled machine, each taking turns to lead or produce that beautiful Ryche dual guitar tone the fans have grown to love over the years.

The band were on fire by this point, as the classics kept coming. ‘Operation Mindcrime’ had the audience singing through the roof. There was a moment of tranquility as the ballad ‘Silent Lucidity’ has the room transfixed and every word sung. “How many in the audience have never seen Queensryche before?” La Torre asks. “50/50. Thanks everyone. To the Newbies and those who have supported us over the years to come out and see the band. Let’s show the newbies how this is done. I want you to sing your asses off for this one. It’s from the roots of Queensryche – ‘Queen of the Reich’”. The Glasgow crowd certainly don’t disappoint. The band are clearly enjoying themselves as Wilton and La Torre exchange looks grinning ear to ear.

The audience again are encouraged to make more noise for ‘Screaming In Digital’. This has all the headbangers out in all their glory. Audience participation continues as the whole room sings along to ‘Jet City Woman’ before main set ender ‘Take Hold of the Flame’. A perfect way to end the set. Another crowd pleaser with lots of bouncing and head banging from the Glasgow crowd. One where the audience can really bellow out “take hold” and La Torre is in very fine voice here.

A brief break before the band re-take to the stage for the encore and it does not disappoint. The band finish with two songs from what could be regarded as many a fans favourite album, Operation: Mindcrime. La Torre orchestrates the crowd to participate in ‘The Needle Lies’ before usual set ender, ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ is belted out by band and fans to end a perfect night of Queensryche’s heavy metal mayhem. It certainly is a fans classic setlist.

And the Verdict! Who could argue with such a strong setlist of songs from their earlier material spanning Queensryche’s backlog of quality songs. For being a band that has 37 years of experience, the classic songs never seem to age, and with the current band lineup sounding as sharp and fresh as they were back in the heyday. La Torre has brought much enthusiasm and has rejuvenated the band since replacing Geoff Tate in 2012. Grillo is doing a stellar job filling Scott Rockenfields shoes, which is a huge task, but he manages this with ease. Queensryche are still one of the top metal/hard rock bands you will see live, long may their reign continue.

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Dark Sky Choir
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Event Date: 30-Nov-2019