It’s been a long time since Australia has seen Queensrÿche. The legendary band has been through some pretty significant changes since their last tour of the Country, but finally managed to kick off their first tour in a long time on Tuesday night in Brisbane. Supported by some great local acts, the night seemed like it was destined for success from the outset.
Awaken Solace were first up tonight and it seemed like they were a bit slow to get into the groove of things. While only being given the opportunity to play 4-5 songs, the performance just didn’t feel like it clicked until the latter half of their set. While there was some great intensity and showmanship coming from the Bass player, drummer and the keyboard/Keytarist; the front of stage with the vocalist and guitarist just seemed quite stagnant. I’m also not sure if it was the sound system in the venue, but it seemed like whenever the vocalist tried to hit some of her higher notes that the volume was too loud and the vocals sort of pierced. I like this band, and I like their sound, but whether it was the venue or not, it just seemed like their set was off tonight.
The second band of the night Seraphic seemed like a more comfortable step up than their predecessor, with everything about their set just seeming like it flowed smoothly. The female fronted outfit seemed well at home on stage, with energetic performances from all members and some simply superb guitar passages. This band are going from strength to strength recently as they play more shows and have a natural chemistry among the band that is reflected in their performance. They have the symphonic metal genre nailed.
After Seraphic had finished it seemed like the Queensrÿche fans had got the memo that the show was about to start and had flocked in droves into the venue, and from the moment that the band set foot on stage, there was intensity in the air that you could almost taste. Being a band as established as they are, Queensrÿche could have just come in and rested on their laurels and called it a night. But ever the showmen, they instead put on a show that was worthy of the Australian fans waiting such a long time for their return.
Todd La Torre deserves all the praise that he has been receiving because by-god, some of those notes that he hit were tremendous and his stage presence is second to none. Making ample use of the stage, La Torre moved his way from side to side, engaging every member of the audience he could, be it singing with them, shaking their hands, fist bumping, or winking and smiling at fans, which was just brilliant. This is the first time Australian audiences have been treated to Todd in this role, and I’m sure for many present he left a very lasting impression.
Normally when you have such an enigmatic frontman it takes some of the gloss off the band, but that wasn’t the case with this show, with guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren knowing just the right time to come to the forefront and showcase their brilliant guitar work; bassist Eddie Jackson staunchly finger-picking or strumming his bass, and drummer Scott Rockenfield staying cool, calm and collected as he jokingly raised his middle finger to the crowd when everyone was screaming for his drum stick.
Queensrÿche played a quintessential set that catered for all fans. Filled with some Geoff Tate era tracks, but also not skimping on their latest releases, there was literally something for everyone at this show, and that was evidenced best by the reaction from the crowd. With almost every member of the audience joining in chorus for so ngs like “Jet City Woman”, and ‘Queen of the Reich’, it’s very hard to miss why Queensrÿche fans are considered some of the most faithful in the industry. The sound from the fans was that fierce that La Torre even commented that the crowd all had ‘beautiful singing voices’, and flatteringly boosted the confidence levels of those in the audience.
It may have been a long spell between stops in Australia for Queensrÿche, but absence makes the heart grow fonder and for such a large crowd to gather in Brisbane on a Tuesday night just shows exactly how much Australia has missed this very influential band. If you have the chance to get to one of their remaining shows then you need to, because you don’t know how long it might take for them to come back, and if the energy of the Brisbane show was anything to go by then the remaining shows of the tour are going to absolutely explode!