Queensrÿche in Worcester – April 7, 2023
Queensrÿche came packaged with two openers, Trauma and Marty Friedman, for their night at the Worcester Palladium.
Founded in 1981, Trauma has gone through several lineup changes including losing early member Cliff Burton to Metallica, and more recently lead vocalist Donny Hiller to a short illness in 2020. Fortunately the band’s original drummer Kris Gustofson has kept the act alive, and the new lead vocalist Brian Allen is doing a fine job.
The six song setlist included From “Here to Hell”, “Meat”, “The River Red”, “End of Everything”, “Walk Away”, and “Death of an Angel”. The second song, “Meat”, featured Allen wailing with death metal appropriate eyerolls, that make him look like a white eyed zombie in photo. Trauma delivered a strong performance setting an upbeat mood for the second opener.
A casual glance at the second opener had some viewers thinking they were getting a Japanese metal band. A few opening riffs from Megadeth’s Holy Wars and it was apparent we were standing in front of legendary metal itself. The audience leaned in to a six song treat from a guitar virtuoso.
Friedman laid down: “Stiganta Addiction”, “Devil Take Tomorrow”, “Amagigoe”, “Paradise Express”, “Dragon Mistress” (with guest Tomo Fujita), and finished with “Kaze Ga Fuiteiru”.
If some of those names look Japanese, they are. The former Megadeth guitarist has spent 20 years living in Japan (and unbeknownst to Americans is quite the Japanese tv celebrity). He came packaged with his usual bandmates, who happen to be Japanese. Although Friedman didn’t really comment in depth as to his love of Japan in our earlier interview, it was clear that the Japanese cultural approach to mastering art forms with obsessive and passionate abandon matches his taste. Friedman’s drummer Chargeee sports a mop of white blond hair that gives him the look of something otherworldly, and his drumming would probably be appreciated by the Shinto god of ‘storm’. So while the band looks entirely J-POP, they sound well, like metal perfection.
After a brief Megadeth reunion at Tokyo Budokan festival in March 2023 and this legendary performance as an opener– the audience was abuzz with rumors and hope that they might see him back with Megadeth in a tour.
Finally on to the main act. Queensrÿche delivered a feisty opening salvo with “Behind The Walls,” off their latest album. Although energetic, it was apparent lead singer Todd La Torre was still struggling with vocal problems as he gulped sips of water through classics “Don’t Look Back” (1982) and “Child of Fire” (1984). By song four; “En Force”, it seemed like his vocal difficulties had passed and he plowed through an audience pleasing mix of mostly classics with some new music– choking up mid-set he presented the new song ‘Forest,’ noting that it was written over the death of a parent. Fans leaving the venue were happy to hear “Empire” and “Jet City Woman” as well as “Spreading The Disease”, “My Empty Room”, and “Eyes of a Stranger”. With the audience singing to both new and old material, it was clear Queensrÿche has surpassed its 1980’s legacy and can look forward to selling more theater tickets and new albums down the road.