Monday, March 2, 2020

Geoff Tate- Tupelo Music Hall, Derry, NH 3/1/2020

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I have only seen Geoff Tate live twice, both with Queensryche. The opening night of the Empire World Tour at the SFX in Dublin noteworthy for the first performance of the entire Mindcrime album and the second supporting Judas Priest in Manchester, NH promoting their highly anticipated big time letdown Operation: Mindcrime 2. Both times his voice was spot on. I had tickets to see them on the Dedicated To Chaos tour, they cancelled on the day of the show, some say I was lucky.

He's arguably the best singer from our genre of music who started making waves in the 80s. Now he's 60 and like many artists he's gone way back in his career to sell tickets, for many people Geoff hasn't put his name to anything remotely decent in a long time although the Sweet Oblivion album from last year was a return to form. He's mostly ignored Mindcrime this time, a wise choice as I felt he was overplaying it. Just because a court case grants you exclusive rights to play the whole thing live doesn't mean you should. He did. A lot.

So what we get here is the whole Rage For Order and Empire albums with a 2 song encore. It's one long show past the 2 hour mark. The biggest concern of course was how his voice would hold up singing songs from the prime of his career, I'm happy to report he did a fine job of it. Of course he's not as good as he was back then, no one is unless your name is Sammy Hagar or Glenn Hughes. Look at how high the bar is for him though? Yes there was help especially with the sampled backing vocals but it really was a joy for me hearing the guy sing all those songs again especially Rage For Order.

He has a solid band behind him too, no one I knew of before the show but they do a fine job representing the sound of the songs as close to the originals as possible. I genuinely felt bad for one of the guitarists who spent the set sitting down after breaking his ankle a few days prior. Geoff did converse with the crowd at certain points in the set but for the most part stuck with the formula: play the songs in the order people remember them. I wish he would lose the circus grand master act he puts on though at times, the cabaret stuff didn't work with Queensryche either. Also put the fucking saxophone away. Artists in general should change up their between song banter, it's on You Tube and there were people finishing his sentences. Maybe spend some time talking about some of the lesser known Empire songs that you never performed live before this tour. We know everything about Silent Lucidity already.

The encore began with an Empire b-side Last Time In Paris and the show ended proper with the inevitable nod to Mindcrime in Eyes Of A Stranger. I'm really glad I went and so did the sold out crowd.


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