Geoff Tate // Operation Mind Crime 35th Anniversary // Live Review // The Nightrain // Bradford
It’s been a few weeks since we last came down to Nightrain however there’s a very good reason to bring us out tonight and that’s the 35th-anniversary tour of the album Operation Mindcrime performed by Geoff Tate.
Since first hearing this album I’ve had a steady Obsession and hearing it performed in its entirety once more is an opportunity that we can’t miss. Before the main act, however, we have Nightrain regulars Dead Demonsto get us warmed up. Having reached the finals in Manchester for Metal to the Masses, these guys are ready to give their all tonight. Vocalist Mark Hale is an excellent frontman as he runs around the stage and encourages the crowd who have arrived early to get involved. Mixing his melodic yet aggressive vocals with the driving hard beats, these guys have perfected a formula as a strong 4 piece and it’s easy to see why they are a favourite support act for this venue. That mixed with their enthusiastic stage performance is a recipe for success and the crowd seemed to enjoy them as much as we did.
Up next are the fantastic Daxx & Roxane and it’s been a few years since I last saw these guys so it’s been a set I’ve been looking forward to. Their fast-hitting bluesy music is always guaranteed to get you moving and the guys themselves are mesmerising to watch. The whole band bounces off one another’s energy and you’re never quite sure where to watch. Even if New Wave Of Classic Rock isn’t your thing, these guys will bring a smile to your face and have you clapping along in no time. You have to wonder where they get the energy to run around the whole time but it’s the fact that they never miss a beat the whole time that’s really impressive. Playing hits such as “A Strange Woman”, “Breathe” and new track “Grind’, the crowd are taking in every second of this set. There is of course one trick at every Daxx & Roxane show that you don’t want to miss and it’s the incredible jump performed by guitarists Cal Wymann and Simon Golaz over one during “Wrong Side”. Even if you know it’s coming, it’s still an impressive sight to see as they continue playing throughout it. Another highlight of the set is during “Fast Lane” which sees Golaz swapping places with drummer, Luca Senaldi, seamlessly to play himself for a few seconds and later climbing up into the kit himself with some extreme balancing skills. Both the band and crowd are enjoying themselves so much that the guys even manage to slip in one extra track at the end with “Hard Rockin’ Man” to try to satisfy that need for more. These guys aren’t just a support band but a highly energetic party band on the rise!
With a black stage, the recording of “I Remember Now” plays as the band stands in the darkness. As soon as the beginning to “Anarchy-X” starts, the lights come up and the band comes right to the front of the stage to play the track. Stepping back ready for Geoff Tate to go straight into “Revolution Calling” the crowd cheered ready to hear him sing. The busy crowd is quick to sing along, and Tate often encourages them to sing. Watching him perform the songs is something else as he throws himself into each word and genuinely performs the story. His voice has clearly stood the test of time but the advantage of seeing it performed live is seeing the sheer passion Tate has for these tracks all these years later When not performing, he is encouraging his band during their solos and the instrumental parts showing a genuine affection for each of them and awe for their talent. I don’t need to go through every track played as anyone familiar with the album will know each part of the story. What’s incredible is how relevant the themes in this conception album are even 35 years later. It’s definitely one of those albums which even if you’re not a huge Queensryche fan, you should listen to this album fully. As we get halfway through the album, it’s time to meet Sister Mary and as with the last tour of this album, it’s Tate’s daughter Emily who performs this part. At the start of the track, “Suite Sister Mary” Geoff shows intense emotion as continues his fully immersed performance of the story. Emily takes to the stage and plays her part to perfection. The duo together is quite the sight and it is like watching a theatre performance the way that they both throw themselves into the parts. Throughout the band have a steady presence but do step back to allow the pair to take centre stage. After this, Geoff takes a slight pause to speak to the crowd for the first time of the night. It’s a very brief chat as he asks the crowd shall we keep going which is met with a responding yes! Going into “The Needle Lies” the band step back forward continuing as they were before taking the spotlight for those instrumental parts of the song. Tate is happy to let them take centre stage and once again encourages them. As we head towards the end of the album, his performance escalates into the emotions of this part of the story. The whole while the crowd is singing along and cheering, clearly having the time of their lives. The album does however need to come to its dramatic conclusion with “Eyes of a Stranger”. Just because we’ve reached the end doesn’t mean the night has to end though as Tate and the band perform a few Queensryche classics including “Silent Lucidity” and “Jet City Woman” before finally closing on “Queen of the Ryche”. It’s been an incredible night that many fans won’t forget in a hurry. It’s an absolute privilege to watch Geoff Tate perform and watch the passion that he still has for this music all these years later. Having seen him for the third time, I’m not tired of it and hoping for a 4th time, maybe with a 40th anniversary tour??