Geoff Tate has brought his ‘Building An Empire’ acoustic tour to a close, with a festive show in Belfast. Taking to the stage in the city for only the third time in a more than three decade career, the singer, who achieved multi-platinum success as part of Queensrÿche peaking with their 1990 release 'Empire', fittingly ended the run at the Empire Music Hall.
Proving to be as engaging a raconteur as he was a gifted singer, Tate’s Friday night (23rd December) show saw the former Queensrÿche singer mix up tracks from his entire career, from the first song he ever wrote with his former outfit – ‘The Lady Wore Black’, to tracks from his current Operation: Mindcrime project.
Stripping things right back, Tate’s rootsy ensemble which included his O:M colleague Scott Moughton on guitar, also featured a number of Irish musicians on violin, cajón and cello, from Tate’s adopted Irish base in Cork city, in the south of Ireland.
Although adapting and reinterpreting Tate’s catalogue acoustically, the band stayed faithful to the original arrangements, and from deceptively powerful opener ‘Walk In The Shadows’ to underrated classic ‘Another Rainy Night (Without You)’, the six-piece were in fiery form from the off.
Greeting the crowd, a jovial Tate said: “Happy holidays to everyone! I love being on tour at this time of the year, because people feel good at this time of the year”, before knowingly asking; “Is everybody drinking?”
Pulling a number of Queensrÿche rarities out of the bag, from ‘Here In The Now Frontier’s ‘Some People Fly’ - “One of my favourite songs” – to the brooding ‘Blood’, which he dedicated to those affected by the conflict in Syria, Tate’s song choices proved a massive hit with his dedicated fans.
Closing his main set with the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ pairing of ‘I Don’t Believe In Love’ and ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’, Geoff and band were aided by the eager Belfast crowd, who lifted the roof, singing along rapturously to every word.
With the show, and the tour at an end, with obligatory pint of Guinness in hand – “it doesn’t taste like this anywhere else in the world” - Geoff Tate ended the evening in spectacular ramshackle fashion, inviting open act Mark Daly and band onto the stage for a mass singalong to The Pogues’ festive classic ‘Fairytale Of New York’, complete with indoor snowfall, in a special treat for Irish fans.
2017 will see Geoff returning back to his electric guise with Operaton: Mindcrime, with a the final part of their trilogy concept due for release in the latter part of the year.