Three decades down the line and Queensryche’s seminal opus Operation: Mindcrime is long overdue a live revival. HRH Mag took up Geoff Tate‘s invitation to hear a prog metal classic performed in full.

 

As Geoff Tate kicked off the raucous post-Mindcrime party with the rarely heard Best I Can there was no escaping the deep sense of irony: he’d already done the best he possibly could.

The first of four cuts from 1990’s criminally underrated Empire was an added bonus on a night when Queensryche’s career-defining concept classic was celebrated in its entirety.

To say Tate had done his best belting out one of progressive metal’s most feted albums would be a gross understatement. The sheer quality and consistency of the veteran frontman’s peerless performance was, quite simply, breathtaking.

Operation: Mindcrime might be 30-years-old this summer but with Tate to the fore every track sounded as fresh – and relevant – as the day Queensryche dropped their stunning and cerebral platinum-selling opus. Form may be temporary but class is permanent.

Of course there was nothing classy about Tate’s acrimonious and very public split from his former colleagues in 2012 but six years down the line and it’s surely time to move on. The 58-year-old might have lost his band and the brand but nobody can stop him from mining Queensryche’s rich back catalogue. Tate is – and always will be – the voice of Operation: Mindcrime and that voice sounded better than ever five shows into a world tour which promises to take all 60 minutes of a remarkable record to every corner of the globe.

The foreboding juxtaposition of I Remember Now and Anarchy-X still boasts an unerring ability to lay the chilling foundation for a spectacular journey through superior songwriting and intense socio-political debate. By the time Tate launched into the anthemic Revolution Calling a red hot crowd had reached boiling point: for the next hour the most motivated of fans sang every word of the monumental Mindcrime – often drowning out the man himself.

For Tate this was very much a family affair. Daughter Emily had warmed things up as the focal point for support Till Death Do Us Part and returned sporting a blonde wig to play Pamela Moore’s Sister Mary. An intense and emotive duet was one of many highlights on a night when Queensryche’s breakthrough album was frequently taken to the next level.

In fact an epic version of Suite Sister Mary narrowly shaded Mindcrime’s deeply disturbing denouement, Eyes Of A Stranger, as the defining moment of a game-changing show: even chart-busting ballad Silent Lucidity couldn’t quite capture the passion at the heart of a truly brilliant song.

Tate has endured his fair share of bitter disappointment and potentially debilitating regret during the past decade but with a brand new trilogy of concept albums under his belt (under the Operation: Mindcrime band name) and hundreds of live shows lined up throughout 2018 it seems his time has come again. This was a standout performance screaming positivity as one of rock’s most consummate performers proved his worth with a back-to-the-future barnstormer of a set.

Being the best he can is Tate’s overriding ambition. So far, so good.