Queensryche’s 2020 Verdict tour made its way to the House of Blues in Anaheim with John 5 and Eve To Adam. Queensryche has played an instrumental role in rock music history since 1982, setting the bar for creativity, powerhouse vocals and monumental performances. When original singer Geoff Tate left the band in 2012 to pursue other projects, the addition of Todd LaTorre was questionable. Tate had been the voice of Queensryche for 20 years, so how could fans even begin to imagine that someone could comparably take his place? Would Queensryche even survive or would they disband after a few years? It may have seemed in the beginning that replacing Tate would have been impossible, but over the past eight years, LaTorre has delivered all the bells and whistles that we had hoped for. And despite a messy period of lawsuits over the band’s name and rights to their original material, Queensryche has maintained their significance and shows no signs of stopping.
As people began to arrive and take a sip of their first beer or cocktail, New York City based band Eve To Adam kicked things off in a big way with Love So Far Away and Gotta Have It. Lead singer Taki Sassans expressed his excitement about being a part of the tour with Queensryche and John 5 in Anaheim saying “there’s no place I’d rather be.” The crowd roared as Sassans asked if everyone was having a good time. Drummer Jeff Raines shined in the title track to their newly released album Locked & Loaded. Taki Sassans (vocals, drums), Jeff Raines (drums), Ilyn Nathaniel (bass), and Ronny Gutierrez (guitar) were a welcome opening act for John 5 and Queensryche. Eve To Adam is committed to raising money for prevention of veterans’ suicide, a cause that unfortunately has only gotten worse as time goes on. As more and more bands dedicate themselves to making a difference, rock music is having a major impact on making the world a better place, not only through their music but through their genuine concern for people. This was the first time I had ever seen Eve To Adam but from what I could gather, they have an incredible fanbase and future on their hands.
It’s been said before that John 5 is a mastermind when it comes to the unbelievable level of his guitar playing skills. Some fans in the audience referred to him as the Beethoven of the rock world after his set was over. John 5 became known as the lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson and most currently, Rob Zombie. John 5 has also made a name for himself through numerous solo records like Vertigo, Songs For Sanity, The Devil Knows My Name, Requiem, Remixploitation, The Art Of Malice, God Told Me To, Careful With That Axe, Season of the Witch, It’s Alive and his most recent release called Invasion. It is through the timeline of these albums we can see how John 5 has evolved into one of the greatest guitarists of the last few decades.
John 5’s performances are theatrical, entertaining, awe-inspiring and full of surprises. You never know what he is going to do next and that is perhaps one of the best traits that he possesses , especially during his shows. The anticipation slowly begins to build while the set resembling a carnival is being put up. A doorway that said “This Way For Thrills & Chills” is used through which John 5’s stagehand would pass what would end up being 11 different guitars for him to play. The backdrop says “John 5” and the lights come up as he takes the stage. Roaring on all cylinders, John 5 and his band The Creatures came out effortlessly scaling up and down their respective necks, launching into Crank It Up from his 2019 album Invasion and 666 Pickers In Hell, which revved the vibe up even higher. Clips of A Clockwork Orange, Requiem For A Dream, Godzilla, Psycho and other classic monster movies communicated John 5’s love of horror and monster films as they played on the screens behind him while the intensity continued to grow with so much to hear and so much to see.
Typically, one would be leery of playing country or bluegrass to a rock and metal crowd, but John 5 does what he wants and does it well. It is also well known that he was inspired to pick up the guitar by watching Hee Haw, so naturally he pays homage to the genre while picking his way through Hell Haw and Howdy. Season of the Witch, First Victim, Black Grass Plague and self titled track I am John 5 continued to elevate the audience and John 5 and the Creatures fed off of every bit of it. John 5 graciously thanked the audience for being there and supporting him, Eve To Adam and Queensryche. As the crowd cheered, John 5 went in for the kill with his famous medley where he played nearly 10 different guitars. From chicken-pickin to strumming the highest notes or scaling every chord, John 5 brought the house down and as he walked off stage, it was time to prepare for Queensryche.
Todd LaTorre (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar and original member), Eddie Jackson (bass and original member), Parker Lundgren (guitar) and Casey Grillo (drums, touring musician) exploded onto the stage to perform in front of a high-octane, energy-filled crowd. Starting off with Prophecy, LaTorre’s powerful vocals and range sparked fire and emotions throughout the crowd. Fans gathered closer to the stage and came together to sing along in unison with each lyric and to each note. Queensryche continued to captivate the audience as they cranked out Operation: Mindcrime, Walk In The Shadows, Resistance, Man The Machine, Flame, Breaking The Silence and Sanctuary in a bigger than life way.
LaTorre took a moment to thank everyone for being there and hoped they were enjoying the show. The excitement continued to brew as he spoke about their latest album The Verdict which was released in 2016. “This is the continuation of the Verdict tour so it’s only fitting we include some of the new Queensryche material for you. So we’re going to play four or five songs from the new album.” The lights go on and off as LaTorre announces the song Bent. There were cheers but not as loud and welcoming. Surprisingly, a few people began leaving or heading back to the bar for another drink. Playing so many new songs consistently may or may not have been the best idea. Obviously they were heavily promoting the new album, but there seemed at times a sense of neglect when it came to the classics. Perhaps, slipping a new song in between the crowd favorites would have worked a bit better and it seemed that LaTorre was beginning to get the same impression when he made another announcement. “I know a lot of bands just play the old stuff but we’re playing the new stuff too. We have a lot of deeper cuts coming and we will play some of the classics that you expect to hear.” He asked the crowd if it was alright if they play more new stuff. As the crowd almost hesitantly cheered, a moment of silence broke out as LaTorre announced the next song, Dark Reverie.
The mood completely changed as the first few chords of Silent Lucidity echoed through the House of Blues. The crowd rushed towards the stage as purple lights beamed down on the band. This was the highlight and the heart and soul of the show and hit the nostalgia button right on those nose. It’s moments like this that keep fans going to live shows.
Queensryche finished the show with Jet City Woman, Screaming In Digital and Queen Of The Reich. They exited the stage leaving a cheering crowd wanting more. They came back out and finished the night off with Light Years, Empire and Eyes of a Stranger. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.
For upcoming tour dates, please visit: http://www.queensrycheofficial.com/tour-dates/
CLICK HERE to view more QUEENSRYCHE pics from the show.
CLICK HERE to view more JOHN 5 pics from the show.
CLICK HERE to view more EVE TO ADAM pics from the show.