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Queensryche ‘Take Hold of the Flame’ in Snowy Massachusetts

The snowstorm wreaking havoc on the Northeast didn’t stop Queensryche from bringing their best to the Palladium in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday night (Jan. 23), nor did it stop the fans who came from all over to fill the house front to back. The band first lit up the stage with a frenetic rendition of the speedy “Guardian” off 2015’s Condition Human, quickly following that with “Operation: Mindcrime,” which is always an audience favorite.

The setlist then got truly interesting as Todd LaTorre went into “Best I Can,” “Damaged” and “The Killing Words.” LaTorre truly took on these Geoff Tate classics and made them his own. All of the inflection and raw emotion was there in his voice as if he had written the songs himself and they sounded even more powerful with his commanding vocal abilities. “Damaged,” being the first Promised Land track LaTorre has performed live with the band, proved he could handle the more modern Queensryche songs just as well as the classics, and showcased his deeper vocal range with aplomb.

All of the songs were enhanced with two large LED screens of videos and images to bring some multimedia depth to the band’s work.  Proving the strength of the new material, the band performed the emotional “Bulletproof” off the new album and lost no energy from the crowd before ramping things up further with “Empire,” featuring a blistering solo by Michael Wilton. Keeping in the theme of Empire, one of the highlights of the night for any true Queensryche fan was “Anybody Listening,” yet another song not yet performed by Todd until this tour, silencing any doubters about LaTorre’s rightful place in the band.

Next up was “In This Light” — the only song off the self-titled 2013 album — which drew a great audience reaction as LaTorre himself pointed out after the song. Of course, following this newer track the band dipped back into the the classics with a high energy performance of their namesake song “Queen of the Ryche.” Todd called Meliah Rage / Let Us Prey singer Marc Lopes up to the stage to enhance the opening high note before delving fully into the ‘Ryche classic.

Drummer extraordinaire Scott Rockenfield kept things going, showcasing his tightest drumming skills and kept the rhythm flowing between songs. As If the audience wasn’t pumped enough, the following performances of “Jet City Woman” and “Take Hold of the Flame” could only take them higher as these songs always do before the band walked offstage. With so many classics played many wondered what the band would be back with for an encore. It was certainly no disappointment and they were back in no time to further solidify their set with “Screaming in Digital,” a song that never shows its age and always inspires awe in the crowd.

The ever-popular “Eyes of a Stranger” ended the night on a high note, not that it needed it with this set. Queensryche once again proved that their appeal is still strong following the split with Tate and the departure of guitarist Chris DeGarmo many years before that. The enthusiastic audience showed that many fans of old, as well as a new generation, are happily here to support them even through the worst weather. The band didn’t need to ask if there was anybody listening that night!

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