Geoff Tate has delved deep into his past, performing a set of early Queensrÿche material during his stop off in Belfast with band Operation: Mindcrime. Taking place at the Empire Music Hall on Wednesday night (20th February 2019), Tate’s show was a treat for long-time fans of the Seattle band.
Kicking off with the ‘Rage for Order’ pairing of deep cut ‘Neue Regal’ and fan favourite ‘Screaming in Digital’, it was clear that this was going to be a night of rarities, from the former Queensrÿche front man.
Mixing up the old with the very old, it was with the title track from Queensrÿche’s third full-length that the evening really lifted up a gear, with the crowd embracing and singing along to every word of the colossal ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ - the first of a trio of tracks from the band's landmark release.
Making his third trip to the suitably named Empire venue in as many years, Geoff revealed that following an acoustic greatest hits set in 2017, and a full performance of ‘Operation: Mindcrime in 2018, he'd decided this time around, to shake the set up. Said Tate; “We’re only going to do old stuff tonight. We’re going to go way back to almost the beginning of my career”.
Backed by an incredibly capable band, the singer was surrounded by “a rather international group of musicians” from Italy, Germany, Scotland, and Ireland, who made each classic track sound fresh and vibrant. With the young band playing with power and passion, Tate’s voice came alive, with his remarkable tone and range riding over the music and sounding stronger than it had in years.
Keeping to his word, it wasn’t until the encore that Geoff busted out a track from later than 1988, with “one of my favourite songs to perform”, in 1990 hit single ‘Silent Lucidity”.
Despite calls to add 'Empire' to the set, Operation: Mindcrime instead finished with a mesmerising 'Eyes of a Stranger', before closing the evening, as on the original album recording, with a dramatic 'Anarchy X' coda.
Taking their bows, it was clear that the somewhat bold move to marginalise some of the biggest hits hadn't affected the reception of the show. Given that rumours abound that an 'Empire' anniversary tour is being set for 2020, those disappointed shouldn't have too long to wait before hearing that material again.
Geoff Tate and Operation: Mindcrime appear at Stonedeaf Festival at Newark Showgrounds on 24th August 2019. For information and ticketing, click here.
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Warren Blair.