TVD Live Shots: Queensrÿche and
Fates Warning at the Observatory, 3/27

As a lifetime fan, I could not have been more pleased with Queensrÿche’s recent performance in San Diego. Where many people wrote them off after Geoff Tate’s departure, I argue that the band is even better with Todd LaTorre at the helm and are now performing at a level not seen since 1990’s Empire. Wednesday’s show—along with their latest release, The Verdict—has signaled the reemergence of one of the most important bands in the history of progressive metal.

The early eighties were a magical time for rock and roll. Bands like Rush, Iron Maiden, and Van Halen were all in their prime and upstart bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison were beginning to take a hold on the Hollywood music scene. The Sunset Strip was flush with new talent, and clubs such as The Whisky and Troubadour were showcasing these acts nightly.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, a little-known band from Seattle named Queensrÿche burst onto the scene. Their unique brand of progressive rock infused with thought-provoking lyrics quickly won over the hearts and minds of fans worldwide. Almost 40 years and 30 million+ albums later, this band is still rocking harder than ever. On Wednesday, March 27th, Michael Wilton (guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), Todd LaTorre (vocals), Parker Lundgren (guitar), and Casey Grillo (drums) took over the Observatory Northpark in San Diego for what turned out to be an epic night of rock and roll.

Kicking off the show for Queensrÿche on Wednesday night were progressive metal masters, Fates Warning. For many in attendance, Fates Warning was their reason for attending the show in the first place, and the boys didn’t disappoint. Their abbreviated 10-song set was solid and captured the essence of their storied 35-year career, churning out some of progressive metal’s finest anthems. I was taken back by Ray Alder’s incredible voice, as he slayed classics like “The Eleventh Hour,” “A Pleasant Shade of Gray – Part III,” and “Pieces of Me.” My favorite track of the night was “Point of View” off 1991’s epic album, Parallels. This one took me way back and left no doubt why Fates Warning is still held in such high regard as true pioneers in the new progressive metal movement.

After a quick set change, Queensrÿche opened the show with “Blood of the Levant” off their 2019 release The Verdict. This is one of my favorite tracks off of the album and they absolutely nailed it. Wilton’s guitar work was simply epic! Next up was “I Am I” off 1994’s Promised Land. Todd LaTorre had little trouble bringing this track to life with his amazing vocal range and dynamic stage presence, and reaffirmed to the near-capacity crowd why is now considered one of progressive metal’s greatest voices.

Over the next hour, Queensryche fans were treated to an incredible set list that spanned their entire fifteen album discography. From crowd favorites such as “Take Hold of the Flame” and “Silent Lucidity,” to more obscure classics like “NM156” and “Screaming in Digital,” there was something for every Queensrÿche fan. The 15-song mega set came to an end with a brilliant encore consisting of “Jet City Woman” and “Empire.” Fans from all walks of life were singing along to these classics (with clenched fists in the air) as if they were the last songs they would hear on Earth. Truly amazing way to end a show with Queensrÿche in fine form.


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