Perhaps an unusual choice of support act, old-school thrashmasters Death Angel give it everything. Songs old and new are played with enthusiasm and intensity, prompting an increasingly fervent response from the crowd as the set progresses.
Singer Mark Osegueda — who seems genuinely thrilled by the reception — says, “Tonight is a celebration of music. ALL types of music,” before thanking the audience for listening with open hearts and minds. The highlight of the set is the intro to The Ultraviolence segueing into Mistress of Pain, the fastest song of the night and Thrash at its crashy, noisiest best.
Through the smoke, Queensryche take to the backlit stage one by one and open with Anarchy-X, taking us back to 1988’s classic Operation: Mindcrime album. It’s one of the newest songs played, with only the title track from Empire and the brand new Arrow of Time coming from this side of the 90s. With a new album due in October, this feels less of a fresh start than a palate cleanser.
It also means airings for songs which are more vocally demanding, and with vocalist Todd La Torre suffering from a cold and on antibiotics, Queensryche only play for 60 minutes, stripping out their usual slower numbers. In doing so they lose the light and shade dynamic of the show, but it’s replaced by an all-out assault that works perfectly with the relatively short set. There’s virtually no time for chat between songs, which helps keep the pace up and the energy flowing.
Despite his ill-health, Todd still works well to engage the audience, trying to fist bump every member of the front row. If this is the singer firing on all cylinders then it’s an even more awe-inspiring vocal performance, as these older numbers aren’t exactly a walk in the park. Closer Queen of the Ryche is virtually note perfect, despite needing the greatest range and power.
While on paper the bill looked like a potential disaster, the evening shows how accepting rock music fans can be of other sub-genres, despite the impression you might get from social media. Hearts and minds, indeed.