LIVE: Queensryche – O2 Academy Islington, 28/08/2016
As the UK took full advantage of the bank holiday weekend, we ventured to Islington’s O2 Academy to see what Queensryche had to offer on their Condition Hüman tour, with dates in Sheffield, Bilston and the last one in London before hitting mainland Europe.
Featuring support from Methodica and Archer Nation, Shaun Neary boarded a plane and headed for London to check the show out.
It’s been just over three years since Queensryche released their self-titled fourteenth album, and their first without longtime frontman Geoff Tate. A lot has happened in that time, between the settlement of the use of the Queensryche name, the successful transition period with the new line up, their second album with current vocalist Todd LaTorre, and the subsequent tours. Condition Hüman was released last October, harking back to the bands more progressive metal era, something many fans had been chomping at the bit for quite some time.
Queensryche take to the stage launching into Guardian, the first of the newer offerings from Condition Hüman. Given the sea of Queensryche shirts in the crowd, it’s obvious that even the new material is familiar territory to a large portion of the audience, who are then treated to Operation Mindcrime and Best I Can. If there were any naysayers in the crowd seeing them with Todd on vocals for the first time, they had their doubts quashed. He’s more than capable of handling the classics as well as the current material.
The twin guitar showmanship of Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren has also had its bar raised since the 2013 tour. This is especially evidenced during the solo of Queen Of The Ryche. They were confident before, but it’s different this time. They’re having fun, and they’re letting it show by playing not only to the crowd, but even to the photographers at the front of the stage. The Tate era of theatrics and characters may be gone, but they’ve been replaced with three showmen at the forefront as opposed to one, four if you count bassist, Eddie Jackson moving to the front of the stage towards the end of the set.
By the time the introduction to Silent Lucidity kicks off, the audience participation is clearly noticeable, especially when the crowd harmonises during the chorus. Given that Queensryche had only played London a little over a year beforehand, one would honestly believe that they hadn’t visited the city for several years. It’s definitely one of those shows where the loyal and faithful were in attendance.
Oddly, for a tour that’s called the Condition Hüman tour, only two songs from the album are performed, the aforementioned Guardian as opener, and Eye 9 the second of the two. The album lead single Arrow Of Time didn’t even make the set list. Not a show stopper by any means when you have Jet City Woman, Take Hold Of The Flame and Eyes Of A Stranger bolstering the set and sounding better than they ever did.
Despite personnel changes, court cases, tour reschedules and everything else, if you asked anyone who was at Sunday night’s show, they would verify that the band are a long way away from being on life support. No theatrics, no bells and whistles, just a stripped down set and five talented musicians who rocked out the Islington Academy and sent the punters home happy.
© Shaun Neary. All images are subject to copyright laws. All rights reserved.