So last Saturday night, Queensryche played its first official gig with Todd La Torre at the mike, at the Halfway Jam in Royalton, Minnesota. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, those of us who weren’t there still got to witness some of the magic…
“Queen of the Reich”:
“Take Hold Of the Flame”:
“Jet City Woman”:
Oh, and just for comparison’s sake, here’s a clip of Geoff Tate-led QR performing “The Whisper” from 2009:
Geoff Tate was a vocal MASTER back in the day, but that last video was painful to watch. (It was filmed right here in San Antonio. As I said at The Breakdown Room, I hope the band comes back to San Antonio soon to give the fans a do-over on that one. ;-))
From what I understand, the last couple of years the band has had to play all the older songs in a lower key so Tate could choke ’em out. Mostly that’s his own fault, though; from what I gather he knocked out a chunk of his upper range when he started chain-smoking back when Mindcrime was being recorded. (Such is evident from a listen to the live cuts of “Take Hold Of the Flame” from Live In Tokyo and Building Empires.) Tate also smoked on and off through the ’90s and ’00s, and then came the whole wine thing, which as I understand it also negatively affects the voice — all of that on top of the fact that Tate pretty much gave up on that upper register in the studio about the time Hear in the Now Frontier came out. So, there you go.
The videos with Todd were pretty damn good, though. As I noted before, for those of us who never got the chance to see the band back when GT could actually sing, seeing them with Todd La Torre is about the closest we’re gonna get.
And that’s not a dig on La Torre by any means. The dude can flat-out wail. Flaws and all, he’s light-years ahead of Tate. And I stand by what I said about how much TLT sounds like Tate did 15-20 years ago.
(Oh, and an enterprising fan recorded the whole thing and put it up for download, if you’re interested….)