Meadowlands Arena, New Jersey
Upon first hearing of this bill, I had some reservations about how SUICIDAL TENDENCIES would come across opening for a band as drastically different from their hard-hitting, street-oriented approach as QUEENSRYCHE is. However, based on this particular performance, I needn't have worried. Arriving late enough to miss the first couple of tracks of SUICIDALs set, I was instantly surprised at how well the TENDENCIES were going over with the Meadowlands crowd, a large proportion who were hearing the band's material for the first time. The group seemed in fine form, running through cuts culled mainly from their latest outing, "Lights, Camera ... Revolution", while occasionally pulling a cut or two from their back catalogue for the unenthusiastic but appreciative audience. Doing their best to take full advantage of the limited space and lights, SUICIDAL didn't quite blow anyone away with their stage presence, but were impressive nevertheless, particularly when you consider that they were relying on nothing but their raw energy for visual entertainment.
Vocalist Mike Muir in particular was as animated as ever, running around the stage in his typical manical fashion and delivering long-winded, breathless raps that were truly a refreshing experience, even if they were thoroughly rehearsed. Overall, It was a strong New York arena debut for the LA combo who are easily one of the most unique and consistently enjoyable acts out today.
Having heard about QUEENSRYCHE's amazing light show prior to witnessing it first-hand, I knew to expect one of the most professional concert performances in a long while from the Seattle quintet. Needless to say, the boys didn't disappoint, although much to my surprise, they virtually ignored the early material (circa "Queen Of The Reich"/"Warning"/"Rage For Order"), which this here writer was particularly looking forward to hearing.
Opening with "Resistance" off their platinum "Empire" release, the band looked and sounded fresher and better than ever, with possible only vocalist Geoff Tate straining a bit with some of the higher notes (understandably so, considering he was suffering from slight laryngitis at the time of the gig). This said, he put in an excellent show, never allowing his physical difficulties to become obvious or affect his enthusiasm for the gig.
Although the whole show was delivered with incredible professionalism and breathtaking musical ability, it was the "Operation:Mindcrime" portion of the perlormance that really made this one of the most memorable concerts I'd witnessed in a long time. Playing the whole record from beginning to end, the band relied on two huge screens behind them to highlight the storyline behind the music, succeeding in creating the sort of mood that only the most gifted of arena acts are capable of producing. The sound was equally unbelievable, with drummer Scoff Rockenfield particularly benefiting from the crystal-clear mix, proving once and for all that he is one of rock's premier skinsmen.
If there was any other flaw with QUEENSRYCHE's performance this evening, it could have only been the fact that they chose to end the evening with the rather pace-slowing "Silent Lucidity", which was impressively done but still a bit laid-back compared to the high energy nature of the bulk of the rest of the material.
Anyway, this minor complaint aside, QUEENSRYCHE rocked the house thoroughly and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that their place is among the most talented and most important rock outfits of the past decade. As one of the last few real bands in a sea of pretenders, QUEENSRYCHE is destined to be around a long, long time.