Concert review: Queensryche at the Sunken Garden Theater

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I suppose I should preface this by saying I don’t have that much of a frame of reference for Queensryche live. I have seen YouTube clips here and there, from the EP-Warning era all the way to the Corpus Christi show with Todd La Torre on Friday night, but as you all know YouTube and live in the flesh are two rather different animals.

Now, with that being said…

From left: Parker Lundgren on guitar, Eddie Jackson on bass and Todd La Torre

I remember after the first Rising West shows, someone commented at  The Breakdown Room, “If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to see Queensryche circa 1985, you may now get the chance to find out.” From what I saw last night, I’d believe it. What did I see last night? I honestly believe that I saw a band that has risen from the ashes.

You know that first high note on “Queen of the Reich”? Yeah, Todd nailed it. Of course I knew he would, but from that point on, I just had a huge grin on my face. I remember at one point Todd told us all, “You guys are fucking amazing.” (Far cry from Tater telling the crowd they suck, eh?)

From left, Lundgren and Michael Wilton

As far as I am concerned he and the rest of the band were the amazing ones, though. Michael, Scott, Eddie and Parker all played like they were men on a mission. And Parker may be the new kid on the block, but from what I can tell he fits in pretty well. It was pretty cool to see him and Wilton side-by-side on stage. I know the circumstances of his hiring were downright awful, but it looks like they have pretty good chemistry on stage. Funny thing about it, though — Wilton is 25 years older than Parker, but the old man was the one who moved around on stage the most. Just like with Todd La Torre’s vocals, seeing them play live is quite different from watching a YouTube clip. Getting to see Wilton and Eddie Jackson (and the rest of the guys as well, for that matter) doing their thing from 20 feet away is just, just…I really don’t have the words. Even with all the crap that had been going on with Geoff Tate on board, Queensryche has gotten to be my favorite heavy metal band over the last few years, but with Tate’s voice having gone to pot over the years, I didn’t really have that much if any interest in seeing them live. That completely changed with Todd La Torre coming on. I do have to be honest and say that toward the end TLT had to shift a couple of notes down, but for the other 98 percent of the time, he nailed it. “Roads to Madness,” as epic as it is on record, is even more so when it’s sung live the way it was meant to be sung. I probably would have gone for “Spreading the Disease” or “Neue Regel” in place of “Silent Lucidity,” though, but that was about the only gripe with the  set list I had. To be fair, though, it was a very good showcase for Todd’s lower register, as was “Child of Fire” and “My Empty Room.”

From left, Lundgren, Wilton, and Scott Rockenfield on drums. You will carefully note Mr. Rockenfield is not getting spit on here.

I also talked with a guy at the show who said he’d have never gone to see them again had it not been for La Torre. I doubt he was the only one. And the place was packed. So when you hear about Geoff Tate saying shit about Whip, Scott and Eddie having destroyed the band by getting rid of his ass, don’t you believe it — not even for the time it takes for the blink of an eye. Far from destroying it, the guys with Todd La Torre have brought this band back from the brink of total, irreversible destruction. If you’re a fan at all of metal, I highly, highly recommend you go see them if they come close to you.

One final note: La Torre said last night that they were in the final stages of recording a new album, that final recording on the album was going to be done in the next couple of months. If they put the soul, the heart, and the energy into that album that they put into their live show as evidenced by what I saw last night, they’re going to blow away anything they’ve done since at least Empire. I can’t wait to hear it.

Set list:

“Queen of the Reich”


“Walk in the Shadows”

“The Whisper”

“En Force”

“Child Of Fire”


“The Needle Lies”


“Roads to Madness”

“I Don’t Believe In Love”

“My Empty Room”

“Eyes of a Stranger”


“Take Hold of the Flame”

“Jet City Woman”

“Silent Lucidity”




46 Responses to “Concert review: Queensryche at the Sunken Garden Theater”

  1. PISSED Says:

    Thanks!! I will definitely go see them. We are on the same page about them. After Empire it went downhill. After I post this comment I’m checking their tour schedule.

    Again, THANKS!

  2. southtexaspistolero Says:

    You won’t be disappointed, PISSED. Check out these videos from the show:

  3. Albatross Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. I saw Queensrÿche live three different times back in the day, and thoroughly enjoyed every show. It sounds like they are still delivering to this day.

    P.S.: Holy crap! Sunken Garden is still a metal fest? That kinda warms my heart a little.

  4. southtexaspistolero Says:

    From what I’ve heard, Albatross, they actually didn’t deliver too well with Geoff Tate the last few years, but they brought their A-game Saturday night. I have talked with people who saw them back in the day and more recently with Todd La Torre, and from all accounts he has given the band a new lease on life. From what I saw Saturday night, I’d believe it. And I would gladly go see them again.

    They had a few notable acts at the STRF this year, including Accept, the Michael Schenker Group and Dokken. I didn’t see the last two; from what I heard the MSG was pretty good, but Dokken not so much due to Don’s voice going to seed. I did catch Accept, though, and to be honest they were phenomenal. I didn’t know any of their songs besides “Balls to the Wall” or “Restless And Wild,” but they rocked those two and all the rest like it was 1983. Original frontman Udo Dirkschneider isn’t with them anymore, but his replacement, Mark Tornillo, is a dead ringer for him, vocally speaking. I seriously did not know Tornillo was not the original singer. I would be interested to hear what Tornillo-fronted recordings sound like.

  5. That Guy Says:

    I’ve seen QR twice live. Once for Empire, and once for Hear in The Now Frontier. Empire was OUTSTANDING. Lots of older stuff, A LOT of Mindcrime, and just lots of energy and a dynamic show.

    Hear in The Now was ‘meh’. Almost no older stuff, just the top 10 hits from Mindcrime and Empire. No encore, IIRC.

  6. southtexaspistolero Says:

    Once for Empire. You lucky bastard! I have heard a bunch of recordings from that tour (and seen a few video clips) and the band was in top form all around. From what I’ve seen from back then (and before) and Saturday night, I’d have to say they’re definitely back to that point. I hate that I wasn’t old enough to see them with Tate back then, but what I saw Saturday night definitely measured up to those days, in my opinion.

    Somehow I am not surprised that the HITNF tour was not as good, though. From the court documents, it appears that’s about the time things really started going to crap.

  7. Albatross Says:

    I did catch Accept …

    Now I’m jealous.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Man, you should be. Queensryche alone was more than worth the price of the ticket, but Accept was a NICE little bonus. Maybe I should’ve gotten there earlier for Michael Schenker…

  8. Dottie Says:

    If you’ve never seen the REAL Queensryche play live then you really don’t have any comparison do you? I’ve seen them at least 10 times over the years including in small clubs when they were touring for the EP.. why the hell would I want to see a “cover band”? Because that’s what it is when you get a vocalist who sounds like the original one. He’s just a cover artist. A sound alike. I rarely like covers.. I’d prefer to hear the original. If I wanted to pay to hear a cover I’d go find a tribute band. … no, I won’t be going to see the new band.. I’ll listen to the real thing on disc and remember what they used to be. I wish both they and Tate would do the proper thing and drop the name all together and form new bands because neither side will have Queensryche.. that is dead.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      I won’t be going to see the new band.

      That is your right and I respect your opinion, but I don’t agree.

      • Dottie Says:

        And that is your right.. again though.. you admit you never saw the original.. I would have more respect for everyone involved if they would retire the Queesryche name and start new bands. They could each sing Queensryche songs along with anything new they came up with. To me it would have been the more respectable thing to do. Not too mention would have required a lot fewer attorneys..

      • southtexaspistolero Says:

        They could each sing Queensryche songs along with anything new they came up with.

        I don’t know about that. I’ve seen clips of GT-led Queensryche from the last few years and was not impressed at all.

        Point taken on the attorneys, though. 😉

    • Nikolai Says:

      Dottie, I respect your opinion but as another old-metalhead who has seen them since the 80’s, I completely disagree. This band is not a cover band. It is a revitalized and very much alive and kicking monster with TLT on board. I saw the opening show of this tour in Corpus Christi and they had the energy and good cheer of the band I saw in the 80’s and early 90’s before GT began losing his mind and becoming a megalomaniacal beast. Watching QR slowly become a boring GT show has been painful and frustrating over the last 15 years or so and if you have seen them in that time-frame you KNOW I’m right. I would implore you to open your mind give this band another chance, They deserve it and you deserve to be rocked like I was last Friday night. Cheers! \m/

    • Rico Says:

      Sorry, that’s just fucking ridiculous. Just because the singer has been replaced does not make them a “cover band.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t Scott, Ed, and Mike members of the band from day one? Did they not write, record and perform as Queensryche over the past 30 years? It’s not the Geoff Tate Band, honey.

      • southtexaspistolero Says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t Scott, Ed, and Mike members of the band from day one?

        Yes they were. Whip’s name was all over, well, pretty much everything up through Empire. I have said before that I think he doesn’t get enough credit for his contributions to the band’s sound through those years.

      • brandon standler Says:

        it is a cover band man, tlt is singing songs that geoff wrote thats not cool,geoff and chris wrote mindcrime the concept it self was geoff’s and I love queensryche have for 20 years seen shows with geoff that would blow all your minds fantastic vocals that harken back to warning, and I do think todd is a good singer, but a cover singer Just like Black sabbath with no ozzy didnt work out so well for them,,,, just food for thought “long live the real ryche”

      • M Heinz Says:

        Anyone remember when Ripper covered Halfords songs with Judas Priest. He could really scream. Just like Rob , but it wasn’t Priest until Halford came back. I think AC/DC is one of the few bands that did it right with a new singer without changing the name , and of course Bon was dead.

  9. NM156 Says:

    Lucky enough to catch them years ago opening for Metallica in Toronto then saw them again the same summer in Hamilton open for Def Leppard… caught the Empire tour in Halifax… lucky enough to see them 3x with the original lineup… haven’t seen them since… I must say I was reluctant to listen to them with the new singer and didn’t care for it at first (Tate has left big shoes to fill with the classic QR) but watching them play the oldies with an excellent singer and hearing Todd come in to his own with the material is amazing… I haven’t learned to play any of their songs after Promised Land as the vibe was gone for me… but they are back in top form… I rant I know, but have been a huge fan since the EP release… yes nearly 30 years ago… glad to hear them BACK IN TOP FORM!!! No offense to the new guitarist, but wonder if DeGarmo might consider returning now that Tate is gone… always wondered why he left, and Whip’s deposition finally confirmed what I had suspected all along… great job guys… love hearing the classics and hopefully the new album is along the same vein…. ROCK ON!!! I’ll stop ranting now…

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      I must say I was reluctant to listen to them with the new singer

      Trust me, you’re not the only one there. I heard about them doing their thing as Rising West and was pretty skeptical. I honestly didn’t think anyone could fill GT’s shoes…but I gave RW a listen. And I was sold from the first note.

  10. Floyd AkaFloyditude Says:

    well I can tell you from experience since i am from there home town and have been watching them live for over 30 years Dottie & Southtexaspisolero I have never missed a Seattle show. Geoffs voice may not have everything it used to but make no mistake he is still a master & damn good in his craft I have heard him nail his upper regester many times over the last few tours,but that being said I saw the very first shows with Todd & he delivers & then some. the biggest deal with this new line up is there is no ego’s or Drama ,the chemistry is a renewed sense of excitement I have not seen on stage in over 15 years. being a seasoned musician myself it does suck that this has turned into a messy divorce, but the band has moved on so should you.. if not dont listen, dont buy the new album keep listening to that regurgatated crap the radio plays all day long.. thats the coolest thing about music you have the choice.. but for anyone not wanting to go see this show based on ” Iits a cover band” your loss… line ups change all the time & I can honestly tell you thats life…I understand but I for one will not miss the show coming back here in 2 weeks… Personally I am excited about a new album & that will be the real tell if this band continues IMHO

  11. tony Says:

    look at that awesome setlist. I wish I could have seen the show

  12. Chris Cruz Says:

    I first saw QR open for AC/DC at The Summit in Houston, TX (now Lakewood Church) in 1986, on tour for Rage For Order, my fave album of all time. Queensryche is my fave band of all time and I’ve seen them at least two dozen times in all their incarnations in several cities across the U.S (including with the Empire Orchestra at White River Amphitheater, Auburn, WA in 2008. In fact, I saw them 3 times that week. In Auburn, Dallas and Houston). I was at the show in S.A. on Sat. in the pit. This version of QR killed it that night. I was very impressed. However, they are not the 80’s-90’s era QR. Nor, I believe, are they trying to be. I think they are just trying to evolve as musicians, a band and human beings and they are succeeding wildly. I will always be down with Mike, Eddie and Scott (and yes, with Geoff, too). I totally support Taylor and Todd for what they are contributing to the Queeensryche legacy. And, judging by Sat. night, I know I’m not alone. The fact that this band allows themselves to evolve is the reason that they continue to exist and put on incredible live performances. As for the haters, I let them hate. As long as I can see my fave band of all time rock on, I’m happy. – QR Fan For Life!

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Well said. Just to be clear, I didn’t mean to imply that it was ’80s Queensryche, just that from what I’d seen it was pretty close.

      We weren’t too far from each other. I was right behind the pit.

  13. Chris Cruz Says:

    I mean Parker! Always, forget the kid’s name.

  14. Laprichaun Says:

    Todd if your reading this.your the greatest thing that ever happend to Queensryche in the last 18 yrs. since or after Promise land cd or album.I’ve been a fan for 28 yrs. I am 43 and listening since I was 15. don’t forget to include the songs the lady wore black,and also the song before the storm.that us the fans haven’t heard in ages.Todd I wish you and the band the best. sincerely a true fan. long live the ryche. Laprichaun.

  15. frznaudio Says:

    I’m a diehard Queensryche fan since 1988 on the Metallica tour, and since then I’ve seen them about 10 times over the years. I saw Queensryche last year in August on the Anniversary tour here in Charlotte and they were awesome. They nailed everything including Tate as well. I’m saddened that Tate is gone but I will see them with Todd because I enjoy the band in general.

  16. jamey strauch Says:

    I have seen Queensryche 7 times back in the early day’s.. including opening for Metallica in the 80’s.. then 3 nights in a row for the Empire tour. A friend of mine was at the San Antonio show and said it just freakin rocked… Hopefully I can see this new revised version of the band on the east cost soon.

  17. Ryche fan Says:

    I’ve seen Queensryche on every tour since 1994, and probably have seen them 15+ times. Tate hasn’t been hitting high notes since I’ve been seeing them. I wish I was a bit older so I could have seen him in his prime (I was 16 in 1994). While they always sound great live, Tate rarely tried for the high notes (and many times skipped them totally), and hasn’t attempted a high note on a cd since Empire (and even then it was no where near what he could do). I’m so glad Todd is singing now, and while not a clone, he is doing justice to the old material. I can’t wait until March to see them live. Maybe by then something new will be out. I think it is a great time to be a Ryche fan once again with their renewed energy and passion. The guys in the band have written some of the classic songs, so it is exciting to see what they will come up with without Czar Tate in the way. Anything will be better than DTC!!!

  18. Stan Tettleton Says:

    Queensryche is the most amazing band! I
    have seen them 21 times since 1986! I
    cannot wait for the Dallas date to see them
    again. So glad to see them happy again,jamming as they should,and not be ridiculed by someone no longer in the band!
    QUEENSRYCHE RULES!!!! If anyone has not
    seen them,do yourself a favor and go!!!

  19. Shawn Says:

    Well said! I saw them open up for Kiss in 85. And just saw them here in Minnesota this last July, it was Todd’s first live performance with the band and he blew me away on the vocals. Outstanding!

  20. stoney11771 Says:

    I saw them in Corpus. I did not want to like Todd. I have always loved Geoff’s voice, until he couldn’t hit the high notes any more. I love that they got Todd to be the vocalist! He can sing the way it was originally sang. He’s humble and they all seem to be having a great time! There was more feeling in Queensryche than there has been in more than a decade. I have been sold on Todd and will be buying their new album when it comes out! This was the best performance of QR in maybe 15 years. I was so excited to be on front row! They were losing me as a fan, so this really makes me happy! As for whether they should keep the name or not….3/4ths of the group (corporation) are the majority and should be able to keep the name. Not to mention Michael Wilton and Scott Rockenfield started the band and hired Geoff to sing.
    If you get a chance GO SEE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!! :o)

    • stoney11771 Says:

      I meant for that to be a smilie face! LOL 🙂 Oh and Accept was great too! I didn’t remember if I knew any of their songs but they rocked it and were a blast watching as well!
      I did feel very sad for Don Dokken. He has definitely lost his upper register. Now if his backing vocals had of been correct they would have sounded ok. Instead the notes were clashing. He is fun to watch however since he was having such a good time!

  21. rivethead smith Says:

    I have seen the band since they opened for Quiet Riot. Does anyone here remember that? Ryche was on their first ep. I saw them headline sunken gardens on the Rage for Order tour with Black and Blue. This was just a few weeks after they opened for AC/DC at the Convention Center. Undoubtably at their best! I also saw them play the sunken garden for the Caberet tour. I have seen them at their best and at their worst. They need to move on and let their legacy alone. If both sides continue on the roads they are on their legacy will be nothing more than a joke!

  22. southtexaspistolero Says:

    They need to move on

    Queensryche DID move on. It’s Geoff Tate that’s clinging to the past and making a joke out of all this.

    • H2SO4 Says:

      BS, Brain-dead ballwashers like you are pathetic. I love the band, always have, but there’s lots of ego and blame to go around. Maybe Michael and Scott should have gotten off their butts and written more so Tate wasn’t the only one relaly contributing. Maybe Geoff and Scott shouldn’t have let their overbearing wives stick their fingers in the business as much as they did, but then maybe if they’d all have stepped up they wouldn’t have been able to step in. Maybe if Eddie and Michael would have stopped partying long enough to take an interest Chris might not have gotten burned out, PO’d and left. Blaming one side is retarded, they’re all culpable. TLaT is an okay vocalist, but he’s not as good as Tate, nor is Tate’s new crew likely to be an equal to Rockenfield and Co. even with Blotzer and Sarzo. Then again, Mike Stone was good but the guitar tandem hasn’t been as tight since Degarmo left.

      The best we can hope for is for all of them to put out some good tunes because what was Queensryche is no more. Now it’s like squabbling parents after a divorce hanging with “new mommie” and “new daddy”.

  23. RAY MEDLEY Says:

    LIFE is Grand! my BEST WISHES & THOUGHT`S for all the MEMBERS of `Queenryche` Past & Present, p.s. just let the music do the TALKIN ………..

  24. RAY MEDLEY Says:

    May Peace and Happiness Be With YOU ALWAY`S…

  25. Jenny Lee Says:

    I wish them no ill, and will buy the record, But don’t suppose to discount Tate’s contributions to this band. Prima Donna or not, it’s his voice that Todd is “nailing”. You can’t change that fact , so don’t try.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      But don’t suppose to discount Tate’s contributions to this band.

      I wrote this piece and read over it several times. Nowhere did I see myself trying to discount his contributions. And that’s a fat lot more than can be said vis-a-vis Tater and his own attitudes towards the rest of the band’s contributions.

  26. Robert De La Rosa Says:

    I have to say, I have been trying to look for the correct QR link and keep being directed to the old link, hello, I’m here. Well the show was simply amazing to say the least. I’ve been a QR fan from the early days of the EP and lost touch after Empire. I have to say I’m back on the QR wagon once again. The set list really kicked some ass and “mine too!!!” Warning is my favorite of all the records. I wish they would come back to San Antonio during fiesta. I will look forward to the next tour dates in Texas.

  27. southtexaspistolero Says:

    That would be

    And yeah, that show really did kick ass. First time I ever saw QR, and boy, did they deliver.

  28. M Heinz Says:

    Seen them on the Warning tour, Rage for Order headlining with Keel and Black n Blue, with Metallica 3rd row floor, Headlining again and again on Empire. After that I lost interest in the crap they were making. I remember our rock radio station in San Diego KGB playing them for the first time. It was Christmas morning and Take Hold Of The Flame. I’ve seen Todd La Torre and he is exceptional but he can’t hold a candle to Tate and what he once was. He has a Voice that mimmics Midnights of Crimson Glory and that is where he should be if he wants to be a cover vocalist. Yes he hits the highs and holds them but he has a raspy axle scream , he strains , looses pitch and goes out of key. It took GT 30 years to lose his voice Todd is already having issues. The excitment will wear off and the voice will go and once again Queensryche will need a singer. And that goofy cartoonish warrant headbanging is a far cry from Tates Awsome stage pressence. With music being all about Dubstep and screaming queer bands now it seems that Queensryche and Queensryche are splitting precious amounts of fans .

  29. southtexaspistolero Says:

    Tates Awsome stage pressence.

    WHAT awesome stage presence? He had that in 1991. Not so much anymore.

    And as for the alleged “problems” with TLT’s voice…I’m not hearing them. Buuuut then again, that could be because he sounds so much better than Tater these days.

  30. Deborah hale Says:

    U will take note when i said spit i ment on typeing really ?? well i would never SPIT! on a man ever maybe just clean up his i love todd,. and look forward to seeing him as a QUEENSRYCHE ! fan look me in the eyes spitting words on my facebook page is the most fun ill ever have in my life,. sharing pitchers and even taking notes where u are,. or going to be is alway on my mind spitting is slang for type oh please ,. take note

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