TVD Live Shots: Queensrÿche, John 5,
and Eve to Adam at the House of Blues, 1/30

I’ve seen Queensrÿche upwards of 40 times and can’t seem to get enough of this ever-evolving band. Their seventeen-song set was chock full of new material, classic tracks, as well as a few from the vault that I haven’t seen performed live in years. Add guitar virtuoso John 5 to the bill and fans were treated to an unbelievable night of rock and roll music that left the capacity crowd screaming for more. It’s the perfect blueprint for what a live music show should be and delivered on all levels Thursday night.

I make no apologies for being a Queensrÿche fan and have been all my life. Watching a virtually unknown band from Seattle on WTBS’s Night Tracks was where it all started, and I have been a die-hard fan ever since. Their brand of no-frills rock and roll (and lineup) has obviously changed over the years, but they continue to crank out amazingly relevant music that’s fresh, entertaining, and most importantly real. Where most bands from their generation have fallen by the wayside, Queensrÿche has reinvented themselves and are still doing what they love on their terms. Their story is rare and their evolution even more extraordinary.

Opening Thursday’s show at the Anaheim House of Blues was Eve to Adam, and band hailing from the East coast and one I honestly have never heard of. However, it was evident from the moment they took the stage that these guys were serious rockers and ones we shouldn’t take lightly. Eve to Adam’s set was short but highlighted the ability of these talented rockers and why Queensrÿche would have added them to this bill. I gave their recent release Ithaca a spin and its solid and think you’ll feel the same way.

Next up was John 5. I’d seen him live numerous times touring with Rob Zombie but never had a chance to see one of his critically acclaimed solo tours—until now. I’m not sure if I have the words to express just how special his talent is, but it poured out during his incredible 45-minute set and solidified his status as a true guitar prodigy. My favorite tracks from the evening included “Crank It – Living with Ghosts” as well as an unbelievable medley of guitar riffs honoring Neil Peart of Rush, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, and so many more. John 5’s set took this show to a ridiculous new level and eviscerated one’s soul in the process.

After a brief 20-minute intermission and stage change out, it was now time for the evening’s main attraction, Queensrÿche. I’d been waiting for their set all day and can unequivocally say they brought their A-Game to Orange County on Thursday. Their set started off with one of my favorite Queensrÿche songs, “Prophecy,” and could not believe how Todd La Torre brought this one to life in front of a now packed house. His vocal control is simply amazing. Next up was “Operation: Mindcrime.” As expected, everyone (and I mean everyone) was singing along at the top of their lungs as Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren mesmerized fans with their dueling guitars. Simply bad ass!

Over the next few hours, Queensrÿche faithful were treated to a 17-song set chock full of new hits and older classics that satisfied even the pickiest of fans. While I’m a traditionalist by nature, my favorite track by far on Thursday was one of their latest, “Dark Reverie.” For me it highlighted the band’s recent resurgence with incredible new material that meets (if not exceeds) anything they have done previously. Another favorite of mine was “Screaming in Digital” of 1986’s Rage for Order. For me that album is special and this one took me way back. Eddie Jackson’s signature bass sound was spot-on throughout and accentuated by Casey Grillo on the skins. Again, no drop off in vocals from La Torre as he continued to shine throughout this set.

The evening concluded with two fan favorites including 1990’s “Empire” and 1988’s “Eyes of a Stranger.” The crowd was once again off their feet and fully engaged as the show came to a crashing end at the House of Blues. Attending a Queensrÿche show is still special to me, and know it was as well to the capacity crowd here in Anaheim. The setlist played like a soundtrack to my own ever-evolving life and one I won’t soon forget. Many thanks to founders Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson for keeping Queensrÿche relevant and special after nearly 40-years entertaining its fans. What you do is not easy, but you continually make it look that way for us fans. Cheers!




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