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Queensr˙che - Live Evolution CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 48 ratings

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4 stars I have waited patiently for Queensryche to release a comprehensive live disc for over 15 years. I thought the Promised Land show offered the perfect opportunity but the idea never seemed to arise. Finally....after all this time, the group puts together what should be the perfect live compilation: a lengthy, two-disc effort that spans the bands entire career, consisting of a show performed in front of home-town fans specifically for a live recording. All is as I would have designed were I in control. Only one small problem....all of Queensryche wasn't included.

Now I know it's easy to pick on the obvious but the obvious is just too overwhelming to ignore. Chris DeGarmo left QR in 1998 and is not a part of this live release. In his place is Kelly Gray, best known for producing Candlebox in the mid-90's. Now, it would be one thing if Kelly proved to be a unique multi-talent capable of stellar production, eye-popping guitar playing and riveting stage presence. But the fact is he's none of the three. His presence throughout the show lessens what is otherwise an all-around outstanding performance that lives up to the high QR standards set throughout their career. I'll be the first to admit I'm not being fair. No one could really refill Chris's shoes. And usually I'm the first to defend those who replace a long-time member of anything (band, sports team, organization...anything). But it's simplay painful to watch Gray in place of the charismatic DeGarmo; in neither appearance nor sound does he bring anything new or interesting and is thus simply a hollow replacement. He's adequate as a guitaris but his endless reliance on the wah-wah pedal remind me of newbie just learning his chops. Worse is his goofy appearance...everytime his image shows up on screen the validity of the entire DVD comes into question.

Other than that the rest of the DVD is great except for the limited, uninspired DVD extras. No long-time QR fan could be completely satisfied by any set-list as favorite songs will always be left off. With that, this is a pretty good set. About the only real complaints are the lack of songs from the underappreciated Promised Land and the inclusion of the predictable "hits" from Empire. Oh yeah....and the incomprehensible decision to truncate Roads to Madness. I was initially stoked to see this song in the set but was devastated to hear the song conclude as it enters the bridge, completely leaving off the frantic climax; a major disappointment.

The highlights are consistent and evenly spread throughout both discs. The opening NM 156 recalls past days when the band routinely opened with the 4 minutes of metal mania (only the shortened guitar solo disappoints). Screaming in Digital is performed flawlessly and perfectly highlight Geoff's computer distorted voice; maybe the best song on either disc. The Lady Wore Black and Take Hold of the Flame are well-done if a little predictable; no set would be complete without either yet they somehow fail to shine. Queen of the Ryche features a mind-bending opening guitar solo while the much-anticipated London plods to an unsatisfying result.

As expected the Operation: Mindcrime set elicits the biggest cheers from the fans. The reworked intro of Anarchy-X is creative and different but I prefer the original. The absence of the songs Operation Mindcrime and Speak are a surprise as these have been included in almost all OM compilations while the inclusion of the usually overlooked Suite Sister Mary is a major bonus. Eyes of a Stranger is a shortened version but the powerful ending shows the band can still rock.

MrMan2000 | 4/5 |


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