Geoff Tate at The Vault Music Hall, New Bedford, MA – September 12, 2021
After singer Geoff Tate parted ways with Queensrÿche in the early 2010’s, he went on a tour where he performed a unique show, which consisted of the albums Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II performed in their entirety. He clearly must have enjoyed these performances, because he’s now out on tour playing another two classic Queensrÿche albums in their entirety. This time, it’s 1986’s Rage for Order, and 1990’s Empire. Opening the show is his tour support act, a new project by actor Kurt Deimer, as well as Boston-based Bad Marriage.
Coming out of Boston was Bad Marriage, the local band for the night. These guys have been around for a few years, and they are throw-back to the 70’s and 80’s, with lots of classic rock and hair metal influences showing up in their set. They’re now embarking on a tour opening up for Tesla. The crowd loved these guys, and it was the perfect way to start off the night.
This was an interesting performance. A solid band that played great music is fronted by Kurt Deimer. I knew nothing about them before tonight. As they played their first song, I thought to myself, “this is like if Mike from Breaking Bad was fronting a band.” I looked him up, and Kurt is, in fact, an actor who has had small roles in movies such as 2018’s Halloween. His performance was much closer to talking than it was singing. Their set included a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar.” When introducing it, he said “this is the first song that Phil X and I did together.” Wait a minute, the Phil X? Yep, his guitar player is in fact Phil X, better known as Richie Sambora’s replacement as lead guitarist of Bon Jovi! The band was great, and Phil’s solos were certainly a highlight of their set.
The lights went down, and Geoff Tate’s band took the stage. Made up of musicians half his age, they kicked off “Walk in the Shadows,” the first song off of Rage for Order. The packed house when crazy when Tate joined them. I have to say, I didn’t have high expectations for how he would sound. I feel like I’ve heard negative things said in recent years, not to mention the fact this was the second of two nights in a row performing here. Well I was wrong, and he blew me away, as his voice sounded phenomenal.
I was excited that Rage for Order was one of the albums he chose to play, as the third track, “The Whisper,” is probably my favorite Queensrÿche song. It did not disappoint!
Guitar player Kieran Robertson seemed to have some technical difficulties at the start of the night. As the band was just about to take the stage, the lights and the house music came back on. A guitar tech ran across the stage carrying an antenna for a guitar wireless unit. A couple minutes later, the lights came back down, after fixing the issues… or so they thought. Almost immediately in “Walk in the Shadows,” Kieran walked off stage, coming back with a different guitar in time for the solo. It seemed to be a problem with that guitar, as a couple other times throughout the night, he tried to switch back to it, but would need to switch back before making it through a song. I’m sure most people didn’t notice this, and even if they did, Kieran played the parts of these classic songs perfectly, with solos that would make people forget about any technical issues that came before them.
Before introducing the song “Surgical Strike,” Tate spoke to the audience a little bit. The reason they decided to play this album was, “because I wanted to,” he said with a shrug. He explained it’s a little bit of a weird album, but that there’s some cool songs on it was looking forward to performing.
As they finished playing “I Will Remember,” the final track off Rage for Order, Geoff announced they would be taking a short break, before returning with Empire. This “short break” ended up being 45 minutes long, and the crowd started getting very antsy, but they did finally return. The crowd went wild as they teared into “Best I Can.” Empire is an album from the peak of Queensrÿche’s success, and of the two albums played tonight, by far the more popular. Every song went over huge with the audience.
During “The Thin Line,” Tate surprised me when he picked up a saxophone to play the horn notes in the chorus, as well as a solo toward the end of the song. But as soon as that song finished, bassist Jack Ross started the bassline for “Jet City Woman,” and that’s when the crowd really lost it, singing along to every word.
Songs like “Empire” and “Silent Lucidity” were highlights through the rest of the album. After finishing the album, they played a two-song encore that consisted of “Last Time In Paris” and “Eyes of the Stranger.”
It’s hard to imagine any Queensrÿche fan left this show disappointed. Tate signature voice was as strong as ever, and hits all the notes. If you’re a fan of the Rÿche, don’t pass up an opportunity to see this show!