Queensrÿche calling: ‘We’re a force to be reckoned with’

Todd La Torre wins over Queensryche fans Oct. 2, at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Tahoe Onstage photos by Kurt Johnson
Todd La Torre wins over Queensryche fans Oct. 2, at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Kurt Johnson

On a night when enduring-rockers Queensrÿche released a new album, a sold-out crowd of more than 400 energized fans, young and old alike, provided backup vocals throughout 90 minutes of heavy metal bliss at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Frontman Todd La Torre, who replaced Geoff Tate as lead singer in 2012 amid controversy, nailed lt.

“They played an amazing show,” said Zephyr Cove, Nev., resident Jason Fisher, a longtime Queensrÿche enthusiast, accompanied by his wife, Cat. “La Torre tore it up. He was on fire.”

Fisher said the couple had reservations about going to the show because of loyalties to the original band. He attended nine or 10 performances over the past 30 years, including concerts in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, and Detroit and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“They played their hearts out (tonight),” Fisher said. “Queensrÿche is back. To anybody who used to hear or has never heard (the band), they need to listen. Queensrÿche is calling.”

“La Torre hit every single note, crisp and clear, and floored me with his vocal capabilities, said Fisher, a guitar player who once pounded out Queensrÿche songs in the front room while his now twenty-something kids were growing up. “… Todd La Torre has pipes, golden pipes. “

Cat Fisher, standing aside her husband, admitted she blew more than a few kisses to band members. A country-music fan when she’s not listening to her “all-time favorite rock and roll band,” she said “My heart just sank,” when Queensrÿche played “Silent Lucidity.”

Before the tune, seven pieces into an 18-song set, La Torre asked, ”Are you guys having a good time? We’re just getting warmed up. We’re going to slow things down a bit.”

“Silent Lucidity” is a lullaby by heavy metal standards.

Just ask Michael Morris (when he’s older.) Morris celebrated his birthday on Friday – 8 months to the day. He managed to sleep through the last half-hour of the show, crashed-out but smiling as his parents reflected on the concert. Queensrÿche members, flanked by security, popped out a side door in the lobby and strolled by the baby’s stroller following the performance.

“Great show,” the infant’s dad, Adam, told the band.

“They rocked,” chimed in the mother, Rachel. The family moved to Lake Tahoe six months ago from Big Bear, California.

Young Michael already is a veteran rocker. “He went to Skid Row (at Hard Rock) a couple weeks ago,” Adam Morris said. “In 20 years, that’s what he’ll be doing (onstage).” On Friday night, though, “Silent Lucidity” was just the ticket.

“Hush now, don’t you cry / Wipe the teardrop from your eye/ You’re lying safe in bed/… Relax child, you were there/ … I will be watching over you/ I am going to help you see it through/ I will protect you in the night/ I am smiling next to you, in Silent Lucidity…”

The Hard Rock’s Vinyl showroom is an intimate setting. It holds a standing-room crowd of 500, but the casino-hotel limited ticket sales to 400 Friday (plus staff , band and crew) so that concertgoers could have some elbow room, explained Karen Estes, Hard Rock’s entertainment manager. Queensrÿche has been performing its 2015 World Tour for thousands of fans most nights, sharing the stage with the Scorpions.

But it’s “awesome” to play before just hundreds in a smaller setting, LaTorre confessed during the concert, where the show is up-close and personal. “People ask us all the time if we like doing the small stuff. We really do.” The sound and mix sparkled Friday at the Vinyl.

“What a great place to see Queensrÿche,” said one fan upon entering just before the show’s start. “This is bad ass.”

The band clearly was having a good time. Veteran guitarist Michael Wilton joined fellow guitar player Parker Lundgren in a number of jams throughout the night, including fan favorites “Where Dreams Go to Die” and “Jet City Woman.” Original band members Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums were superb. Queensrÿche closed with “Take Hold of the Flame” after La Torre advised congertgoers that “all good things must come to an end.”

The evening was special in another way, though. The band’s new album, “Condition Hüman,” hit the shelves earlier in the day.

“Today’s a pretty cool day,” La Torre said. “You know why? ‘Cuz our new album came out today.” A lot of “blood, sweat and tears” went into the record, he noted. Dozens of people in the crowd already had purchased the work.

In mid-show, Queensrÿche featured “Arrow of Time” from the album. A new time, a new place. “We’re a force to be reckoned with,” La Torre said.

RELATED STORY: Queensrÿche’s La Torre wins fans over one at a time. LINK

  • Queensrÿche
    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Lake Tahoe
    Oct. 2, 2015
  1. “Anarchy-X”
  2. “The Needle Lies”
  3. “Breaking the Silence”
  4. “Walk in the Shadows”
  5. “En Force”
  6. “Warning”
  7. “Silent Lucidity”
  8. “Where Dreams Go to Die”
  9. “Arrow of Time” (new)
  10. “I Don’t Believe in Love”
  11. “NM 156”
  12. “The Lady Wore Black”
  13. “My Empty Room”
  14. “Eyes of a Stranger”
  15. “Empire”
  16. “Queen of the Reich”
  17. “Jet City Woman”
  18. “Take Hold of the Flame”
    Photos by Kurt Johnson. To see more concert photos from Lake Tahoe shows, visit Johnson’s website: HERE

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  1. Randy (Tahoeonstage.com) captured the “vibe” spot on. This was one of the best shows I have seen in two decades. The band played a huge set-list of older Ryche that fans from the early days would have died to have heard today. Queensryche came, saw and shredded! The 1st half of the show was a mix of Warning, Rage and Mindcrime songs that generated enough energy to bring down the walls! I guarantee you the paint curled on the walls of Vinyl that night! Sorry to the fans that were there to relax and listen to ballads (although they did play Silent Lucidity and Jet City Woman)….this night was about jamming! Queensryche…..I wont miss another show. They didn’t miss a beat and nor will I! Thanks guys for making me believe (“if only you believe” – Walk in the Shadows)!!

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