GIG REVIEW: GEOFF TATE Live at the Token Lounge, Westland, MI
February 23rd, 2017 was a night to remember. To witness one of the top-rated metal vocalists of all time in person is a treat. And having an acoustic set only enhanced the listening experience. Geoff Tate is a vocal powerhouse, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, then I’m sure the moment you hear him sing, you’ll recognize he’s the original singer of the band Queensryche.
Having been booted from Queensryche in 2012, Geoff carried on and continues to perform all around the world. So, when Geoff made a stop at The Token Lounge in Westland, MI, I was glad I had the opportunity to finally see and hear for myself why Geoff is highly praised as a vocalist.
With a career spanning several decades, Geoff Tate has a wealth of songs to sing and many a story to share. One of the best things about acoustic performances is the story telling that goes on in between songs and Geoff shared some interesting events. Geoff mentioned how the power of television catapulted album sales of ‘Operation: Mindcrime’, by Queensryche, even after touring for 7 months with Def Leppard and then 9 months with Metallica, album sales of ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ was lackluster. Until MTV called praising the album and asked for a video to be made and the promise that the video would be aired. True to their word, MTV aired Queensryche’s video and a mere couple weeks later, the album ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ goes gold, a few weeks later it reaches platinum status, selling millions of copies. Geoff quipped, “Why the hell did we tour for all that time”? All it took was a video and album sales skyrocketed. Having a video work wonders to boost album sales is great, but I can guarantee fans all over the world were glad to see Geoff perform live.
Not to be outdone by stories, Geoff had an 18-song set that covered all the hits and more. From “Another Rainy Night”, “Jet City Woman” to “Silent Lucidity”, it was a night full of great music we’ve all grown up with. The set included other songs inspired by true events. Like when Geoff was a child and asking his step-dad who he considers his father, about how life was in the military and experiencing war, only to be told time and time again by his father that he didn’t want to talk about it. And then 40 years later, one day out of the blue his father starts talking about his time in the military and captivating Geoff so much that it inspired him to write the song, “Hundred Mile Stare”.
Geoff was supported with talented musicians providing the music. Scott Moughton, who has been playing with Geoff on various projects for years now was on acoustic guitar and had a comical moment when he took over the stage and got carried away as he riffed on the acoustic guitar. On drums or better worded, cajon, a box drum, was Ollie Jordan-kelly, who happily displayed his long hair and whipped it around like a death metal guitarist as Geoff talked about how time goes by and changes things, meaning some of us go bald. Rounding out the band also on acoustic guitar was Kieran Robertson and adding a touch of class on violin was Evan Kleve.
One story that tugged at the audience’s heartstrings was when Geoff was in Germany and got off a train only to walk right into a refugee camp. He was stunned at the sight, and being the middle of winter, freezing cold temperatures, people doing their best to stay warm, he sees a small boy wearing nothing but a t-shirt and shorts. Geoff knew he had to help the child, so he takes off his coat and hands it toward the boy, only to see the boy cower down with his hands up to his face full of fear. Geoff chimed in saying he’s not the smartest guy in the world but he can write songs in hope to inspire the smart minds in the world to come together and create solutions for a better life for everybody.
If you have the chance to experience Geoff Tate perform live, get there, you’ll have a wonderful time full of great music and humorous if not inspiring stories.
Also catch our Photo Gallery of the night here.