It’s been a little over two years since Queensrÿche last stepped into the light at Baltimore Soundstage, previously visiting on their Condition Hüman tour, and fans were champing at the bit for another night of Rÿche N’ Roll. The sold-out show, the fourth stop on the Verdict World Tour, put all of us shoulder to shoulder for an evening that would leave us spellbound.
Opening up the March 7th show was The Cringe of New York City, led by John Cusimano on guitar and vocals. While best known as a producer of the Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai anime series and husband of chef Rachael Ray, Cusimano has also released several albums with The Cringe, which has played alongside the likes of Cheap Trick and ZZ Top. Being as they have a more classic rock sound, their pairing with bands known for progressive metal backgrounds felt a little mismatched, but they put on an energized show, and performed a great rendition of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.” The Cringe will continue to support Queensrÿche, and they are days away from debuting a new single entitled “I Can’t Take It No More.”
Though Queensrÿche was billed as the headliner, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this tour had been listed as a co-headlining effort, given the amazing longevity and talent of Fates Warning. It was quickly evident that those in attendance were as much there for them as for the band to come. Drawing on material going back to the 1991 album, Parallels, up to their most recent studio effort, Theories Of Flight, Fates Warning dished out one classic after another. The new material was perhaps my favorite, with the tracks “Seven Stars” and “The Light and Shade Of Things” striking a deep chord, and it carried a weight and aura that signaled to me how proud the band is of their recent endeavors.
The Verdict World Tour showcases a new spectacle for Queensrÿche: an array of LCDs displaying individualized visuals for each of their songs. As we awaited their impending arrival, a ghastly, crimson-cloaked figure danced across the stage. A hush rolled over the crowd, followed by the band blasting into the opening track off their new album, “Blood Of The Levant.” While the last tour had been about playing those overlooked deep-cuts from the first five albums, this tour sets out to highlight the La Torre-era releases. A third of the setlist featured songs from the last three records, and boy did they sound powerful. This was especially the case for the EdBass-penned tune, “Light-years,” off The Verdict, which radiated an undeniable groove through the air. Everyone loved the new tunes, but even if it hadn’t been their favorite, the other two thirds of the concert dug into the discography and featured at least one song off of ever release from the 1983 debut EP up through Promised Land (this being the first touring year to feature “I Am I” since 2010, before Todd joined the band).
It felt like an excellently well-rounded evening of wailing dual-guitars from the hands of Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren, and the ever-astounding pipes of Todd La Torre. And while Scott Rockenfield has yet to return from paternity leave, Casey Grillo held things down admirable alongside Eddie Jackson. As the spectacle came to an end, as these things are wont to do, and we ushered ourselves out over the smattering of rogue beer cans into the chilly air beyond the doors of the Baltimore Soundstage, we all seemed to have a similar feeling: Damn, that was good!
Be sure to check out the upcoming tour dates for the Verdict World Tour and catch these great bands in action.
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