Queensryche has made Tucson a second home for much of their storied history, but the band rocked the Old Pueblo with new vocalist Todd La Torre for the first time. It was also the Seattle rocker’s first trip to Tucson since settling a legal dispute with former vocalist Geoff Tate over the use of the Queensryche name.
The band played an unusual venue, rocking the Breakers water park for over an hour and a half. As they have done since adding De La Torre to the fold, band focused on songs from their first five records, as well as a few from their latest album.
They came out of the gate swinging, with La Torre hitting the air raid siren high notes of “Night Rider” then diving into fan favorites “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Walk In The Shadows”, getting plenty of fan participation on the older favorites.
The sound was strong despite an outside show and an unconventional venue. While the majority of the fans sat in VIP seating right next to the stage, the bulk of the park was available and many fans chose to site further away in an area occupied most summer days by sunbathers and families taking a break from a day in the water. You don’t normally see fans at a hard rock show sitting on lawn furniture, but a few dozen chose to do just that.
With palm trees flanking the stage and the wave pool in the distance, it was almost like watching a rock show at a backyard BBQ.
After the third song De La Torre promised the band had “a full evening ahead” and he wasn’t exaggerating. All told the band played 18 songs, touching on much of the early, more popular catalog. Essentially giving the fans what they had been clamoring for in recent years.
The band kept it old school through songs off of “Rage For Order” and “The Warning” playing a few songs they had not played on the last tour, giving fans a taste of tunes that had long been shelved by the band.
“Spore” off their 2013 self-titled album was well received, but when they went back to 1984’s “The Warning”, a more classic heavy metal tune, the fans were back fully engaged.
“Silent Lucidity”, the Pink Floyd-esque power ballad, was the band’s biggest hit, but is a polarizing song that drew a handful of boos. Despite some old school metal head’s disapproval, most of the fans sang along with the song, or broke out their lighters or cel phones to accompany the band.
Two newer songs from the recent record fit in with the set, but still lacked a lot of the drive and memorable hooks of the older songs, although the promise of a new record in 2015 drew a round of enthusiastic cheers.
The band is known for their twin guitar leads and Parker Lundgren and Michael Wilton showed off some guitar acrobatics before the band settled into “Needle Lies” and the seldom played NM 156. La Torre showed off the falsetto on “Lady Wore Black”, a song off the band’s debut LP.
In customary fashion, the band closed out the set with two of their most recognizable radio hits “Eyes of a Stranger” and “Empire.”
Of course, there was an encore, and they went to the EP with “Queen of the Ryche” another tricky vocal display from La Torre. After “Jet City Woman”, another radio hit from the early 90’s, the band closed out the night with “Take Hold of the Flame” a concert staple that got the fists in the air and the fans chanting along with the chorus. With a final crowd chant of “take hold” the band said their goodbyes and the fans headed off into the Marana night, waiting a return trip from a band that has built a loyal following in Tucson.