At Belfast’s entirely appropriate Empire Music Hall on Friday night (January 12th 2018), revellers were treated to an energetic late-night performance by Geoff Tate, presenting his former band's 1988 concept piece 'Operation: Mindcrime' in full. A set heavily lauded by both fans and critics, could the night possibly live up to the high standards set by the original album?
First, attendees were treated to the antics of local melodic metallers, Conjuring Fate who put on a simply thrilling performance. Making the most of the slot, the five-piece went down a storm. Whether this was something to do with presenting Geoff Tate with a specially branded 'Conjuring Fate' bottle of wine as an early birthday present before the show however, we'll never know.
They were soon followed by Tate’s own daughter Emily, who gave a convincing performance of her own, ahead of a reappearance during the headliners' set in the role of 'Sister Mary', singing opposite her father.
All this of course, was simply a warm up for the main act however, and as the familiar marching tones of 'Anarchy-X' introduced the members of Operation: Mindcrime - the band - to the stage, Belfast unequivocally declared "I remember now".
Made up of some long time Tate collaborators, as well as musicians from just down the road in Cork city, the instrumentalists were soon joined by their enigmatic band leader, who emerged from the background to a surge of applause.
Staying faithful to the colossal release's running order, the six-piece then dived straight into a still-powerful 'Revolution Calling', with a galvanised Tate rallying the crowd proclaiming; “Let me hear you scream!”
Despite having his detractors in recent years, due to the messy, widely publicised split with his former outfit, Geoff proved an engaging front man, holding the crowd in the palm of his hand whilst giving an enthralling and involved performance.
Taking the time to greet the Belfast crowd with a civil "How are you all doing?” , an energetically charged 'I Don’t Believe In Love' followed, prompting one of the loudest singalongs of the night.
With the atmosphere clearly rubbing off on stage, the singer confessed; “It’s so good to be back with you again”; referring to his last performance in the same venue just over a year ago, before the band reached a crescendo with the last track of the album, the unmistakable 'Eyes Of A Stranger'
Returning for an encore that featured more Queensrÿche highlights culled from 'Operation: Mindcrime's more commercially-successful follow-up 'Empire', the singer closed the night on a high, thanking fans for thirty years of support.“Thank you so much Belfast, you’ve been incredible tonight.”, he said, taking his final bows. As were you, Mr. Tate.
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Warren Blair.