“We’ll walk in the shadows / By day we’ll live in a dream…”
If this is a dream don’t wake me up! Geoff Tate, back in Greece in an unexpectedly beautiful concert that gave us the opportunity to listen live two full albums from the classic period of Queensrÿche, “Rage For Order” and “Empire”. A magic night that we will remember for a long time since his performance was great, something necessary of course so not to spoil what we loved when we heard for the first time those great albums. The opening act was Emerald Sun from Thessaloniki.
“Stick to the signs in my quest…”
Sticking to the schedule people started to arrive outside the club at 20:00 with the opening act getting on stage right at 20:30. The band from Thessaloniki is an active band on and off stage and had played many times in Athens but this time they knew that had to play in front of fans that were here for something else. But theydidn’t let this affect them in any way and for the next 45 minutes they played very well. They are into what is called euro-power metal with their setlist based on old and new stuff, especially from their recent album “Kingdom of Gods”. Although they have some fast songs I must admit that I enjoyed them more during their mid tempo compositions.
Emerald Sun live video:
Emerald Sun setlist:
dust and bones / blast / raise hell / speak of the devil / weakness and shame / metal dome / we will die on our feet / kingdom of gods / hellbound
“I remember that there was a time when fears we had we left behind and we danced”
In most cases I don’t want to know the setlist of a favorite band beforehand but this time was different because our main concern was more about what it’s gonna be listening to the great compositions of two favorite albums live on stage. Because, these songs were not just another pack of great songs, but songs that have left a mark on us and we knew every lyric, every note, every pause between the tracks. And the reason is simple, during our teen years we were trying to organize the inner chaos of our soul until we reach out a brighter future and it was an album like “Rage For Order” that kept the pieces together and made us endure the pain and anxiety.
I may get a bit of emotional but yes, I know that reality was harsh for Tate the last years before and after he left Queensrÿche and continued as a solo artist carrying around the heavy history of some great albums. I have seen him live many times through the years with, or without Queensrÿche and yes, I had to taste the bitterness every time we had news considering the fights before the break up, or later the studio releases from both parts. Well, that was the reason I wouldn’t get my hopes up again because in the best case scenario I was expecting an experience similar to his 2019 tour when he performed “Operation: Mindcrime”, it was O.K., but not amazing. And then “Walk In The Shadows” kicks off, the planets align and everything seems so nice… “What? You say you’re through with me / I’m not through with you…” Oh yes indeed Geoff, you are right, and I owe you an apology, I think most of us inside the venue felt the same way.
“You will remember / The star that came tonight…”
There’s no point to go through the setlist track by track, the important thing was that Tate had with him some talented young musicians, full of energy that tried to be as close to the original, so there’s really no complain about them. But what about the voice? Oh, the divine voice is still here! He may not be the alien man that performed “Livecrime” thirty years ago, but he is a 63 year old great singer that still can give you goosebumps. What’s more, his performance on stage was giving him extra points (and no, we won’t judge the strange colors of his shirts, who really cares?).
“How many of you were alive back in 1986?” he asked us and then… “And how many are still alive?” with people screaming with joy. The album was performed the way it should with only a few words by him in between… “People were saying that it was dark and futuristic, they couldn’t understand that this was exactly what we wanted to sound like!” Of course dear Geoff, they couldn’t understand that we were listening to RFO saying that it was ahead of its time and look at it now, 36 years later and the album still shines and you are “killing us with words…”
Geoff Tate live video:
Then we had a thirty minute long intermission where we still were trying to figure out what a blast was that that we saw on stage the last hour. There was also an announcement that Geoff Tate was kindly asking people not to smoke. Obviously, we’re embarrassing ourselves when we show no respect to the others (and the fact that smoking isn’t allowed in venues anyway makes things even worse).
“Can’t you feel it coming? Can’t you hear it calling?…”
Thankfully, the band didn’t seem to be affected by the long break and came out eager to play the “Empire” album. In case you don’t know, this is the most successful release by Queensrÿche from a commercial point of view, the album that put the band in numerous homes all over the world and made them huge beyond the prog metal borders. Although here there are numerous hits it is not that easy to perform it live because there are several slow compositions, but Tate was great once more and made us all happy. Wearing a new multicolor shirt he played saxophone during “The Thin Line”, pumped up the fans with super hits like “Jet City Woman”, the bass line was great during “Della Brown” and personally made me emotional during my favorite ”Another Rainy Night”. The streak continued with fans screaming the lyrics of “Empire” and everyone loved “Silent Lucidity” as expected and smiles kept on our faces on the rest of the songs too. If the gig was over there no one would be unsatisfied.
But no, then we had he surprise of “Last Time In Paris” (here’s why we were buying singles back in the day) that was great opened for a great encore that led to “Take Hold Of The Flame” (oh yes!) and the classic anthem “Queen Of The Reich”.
Getting out on Liosion avenue the light rain found us full of emotions because we just had a blasting nostalgia shot, so blasting that everything we experienced that last 2,5 hours seemed like a dream. Once in a lifetime experience…
“Hush now, don’t you cry / Wipe away the teardrop from your eye…”
Geoff Tate setlist:
part 1 Rage For Order:
walk in the shadows / I dream in infrared / the whisper / gonna get close to you / the killing words / surgical strike / neue regel / chemical youth / london / screaming in digital / I will remember
part 2 Empire
best I can / the thin line / jet city woman / Della Brown / another rainy night / empire / resistance / silent lucidity / hand on heart / one and only / anybody listening?
last time in Paris / take hold of the flame / queen of the reich
® text/video: Konstantinos Mindcrimek Vlachos
® photos: Πέτρος Παπαπέτρος