Queensryche Renders The Verdict For The First Time At The Plaza Live

By on March 3, 2019

All Pictures By Jordan Raiff


Queensryche (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          When Queensryche and Fates Warning (two of the top three progressive metal bands of all time ) are on the bill, you don’t expect them to hit the stage at 9pm. You don’t expect fans to line up ¾ the way around the building. You don’t expect them to run out of xl and 2xl shirts in a tour specific design, not even 15 minutes through the opening band especially on opening night no less. You also don’t expect to see people between the ages of 10 and 66 screaming their faces off. Yet….that’s exactly what happened on Saturday Night at The Plaza Live in Orlando.

Michael Wilton (Photo-Jordan Raiff)
Mike Abdow (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Opening up the night, Fates Warning stormed the stage, rocking the faces off the already packed venue. Comprised of founding member Jim Matheos along with Mike Abdow on guitars, Ray Alder on vocals, Joey Vera on bass, and Bobby Jarzombek on drums, this group has seen numerous lineup changes throughout the years. Yet the one thing that has remained consistent is their ability to bring a great performance.         

Jim Matheos (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Kicking things off with ‘From the Rooftops’ from their most recent album Theories of Flight was the perfect choice for this start of this tour. The shear roar from the crowd as the first few notes were played nearly drowned out the monitors up front. With some outstanding solos from the guitarists, the intensity grew even louder.


Bobby Jarzombek (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

As people pressed tighter to the barricade, the room was getting fuller by the minute. Fates Warning blistered their way through ‘Life in Stillwater’, ‘One’ (complete with audience sing along), A Pleasant Shade of Grey III’, ‘Seven Stars’, ‘Pieces Of Me’, as well as “Falling Further’.

Ray Alder (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          Closing with ‘The Light and Shade of Things’, their 40 minute set while brief was a great way to kick things off. As the stage lights dimmed the audience left them with a round of applause, whistles, and true appreciation for such an amazing performance.

Parker Lundgren (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          After a quick set change and some microphone testing, it was time for Queensryche!! Starting out with a blacked out stage, they opened up with ‘Blood of The Levant’, the first true single from their latest release The Verdict. Flanked by a total of 4 3×10 LED boards on each side of the stage, they meshed incredibly well with the LED kick drum covers on Casey Grillo’s drum kit.

Casey Grillo (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          While Todd La Torre played drums in addition to singing on this new album, Casey’s performance is absolutely spot on for the album. Starting with the end of the opening track, and on and off throughout the set, Todd joined in on various parts from a darkened, simple standing drum kit. This added in a rarely seen duet of drums, which perfectly complimented each other.

Michael Wilton (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

As always, Michael Wilton, and Parker Lundgren were flanking the sides of the stage, and gave a stellar performance with each belting out solos throughout the night. While the crowd was giving the energy back to them from the time the house lights dimmed, Queensryche played ‘I Am I’, ‘NM 156’, ‘Man the Machine’, and ‘Condition Human.’

Eddie Jackson (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

It was during the sixth song ‘Queen of the Reich’ that they really came to life. There wasn’t a silent voice in the house as everyone was singing this hit song back to them. Naturally, the band not only welcomed their sing-along but fully embraced it as well. You could see subtle smiles on the faces of the guys as they played. This energy from the fans is why they have consistently toured for so long, and they love every minute of it.

Todd La Torre (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          ‘Open Road’ was next and it is a song Todd wrote when he first joined the band as he was going through a rough patch, and met his now wife. Dedicating this performance to her, you didn’t just hear the passion for his wife through this song. You felt it. During the song, his voice had just a little extra on it.

Parker Lundgren (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Closing the main set with some of the loudest vocals of the night from the audience, ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ has never sounded better. While many vocalists can have a really rough time with pitch changes this late in a set, La Torre does not. The best part of this song though was the extended guitar leads from both Parker Lundgren and Michael Wilton. Despite keeping in line with the musical themes of the song, their solos here were substantial and passionate. Their facial expressions as they played were of pure bliss.

Casey Grillo (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          After a very brief breather, they kicked off the encore with ‘Silent Lucidity’. While normally started on an acoustic, Michael’s electric version of the opening riffs were nothing less than perfection for the night. As you looked around the room, you saw the flames on cell phones, as well as real lighters going up in the air as the crowd swayed and sang along somewhat softly to match the song.

Eddie Jackson (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Now bassists don’t usually get to showcase their talents too often, and that is a damn shame. Queensryche’s Eddie Jackson gets his chance every night with ‘Jet City Woman’ and he knocks it out perfectly. Strumming the opening notes from closer to the front of the stage than he has been all night, Jackson’s intro got the loudest pop of the night from the audience. Just before the sound of the jet roared through the speakers, the guitars joined in and we were off! The sound here seemed to be just a touch louder, and the audience was just as loud. As the song ended, shouts for ‘Empire’ could be heard from the crowd.

Todd La Torre (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          With Todd prefacing it as the final song, they launched into the aforementioned ‘Empire’. For quite a few that were in attendance you could see they had been waiting all night with baited breath for this track. Needless to say, Queensryche delivered and the fans were most gracious.

Michael Wilton (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

Ending the night with a few drum sticks and guitar picks being tossed to the audience, the five band-mates took center stage and took a bow to a standing round of applause, and a small chant of “Queensryche!! Queensryche!!”

Queensryche (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          The first show is usually a good indication of how the tour will go. From this performance here, there won’t be a fan who leaves disappointed. For the people reading this who complain about the absence of Geoff Tate, Chris DeGarmo, or now Scott Rockenfield as a ‘reason’ not to go, give Todd, Parker and now Casey their respect. These guys complete the band and from the looks of it are in it for the long haul. I heard multiple people who admitted they had not seen them in years talking about how the band sound even better than they did 20 years ago.

          One person was chatting with me in the parking lot, and we got on the topic of how the lineup has had some changes over the years. He went so far as to say “Geoff who? Chris who? Scott who? THIS is Queensryche, and THIS is how it always should have sounded!!” I could not agree more.

Michael Wilton (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

          If you’ve never seen them live, haven’t seen them in ages, or never miss a show, go check them out on this tour. With low ticket prices, 30 dollar tour shirts, 15 dollar signed copies of the new album, and a variety of other different things to take with you, there is no reason to miss this tour.

          The tour rolls into Atlanta, GA on March 5th; and continues on through April 3rd in Seattle. A full list of tour dates are on www.queensrycheofficial.com.

Queensryche (Photo-Jordan Raiff)
Michael Wilton (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

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