Queensryche and Dokken Rock Atlantic City
In the 1980's, when metal ruled MTV and the radio airwaves, two of the greats from the era are the legendary Queensryche and Dokken. When the news of this pairing for a 2008 tour was released, fans made sure they purchased their tickets early. They did not want to miss what was sure to be an evening that evoked long-lost memories and truly great music. There were many surprises in store on this tour--even more that usual.
Queensryche is known for their social awareness, and being artists who do more than write music about it, they take action and get their fans involved too.
During their Mindcrime I and II tour in 2006 they partnered with Buell motorcycles and VH1 to raise money for the Save the Music foundation, fans donated and got to ride along with vocalist Geoff Tate and guitarist Mike Stone from one venue to the next on their one of a kind custom motorcycles Eric Buell designed especially for Stone and Tate.
I do not have the exact tally of the funds raised for Save the Music Foundation, but I understand it to be in excess of $80,000.
Mike Stone told me both he and Geoff Tate are very passionate about music programs remaining in the schools and that it offers children a chance to grow and develop creatively. It is in fact one the reasons Stone is a musician today. Seeing Queensryche live is proof positive that the world and our children stand to lose too much that can be derived from music programs, so they must be kept going, period.
Queensryche live February 9th 2008 at The Tropicana in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was the best concert experience I have ever had, and for many reasons!
I arrived at the venue to pick up my press passes with out a hitch and I was given all the access I needed to get the job done. Major kudos' go out to all the folks involved behind the scene with Queensryche and The Tropicana staff for a job well done, I was very impressed by all, and the venue is beautiful!
In true Queensryche fashion they are again giving back--this time raising money for local food banks. A truly beautiful hand-made quilt (made by two Northern California fan club members Laura and Jen--well done ladies!) with a Rocking Ryche design was displayed in the lobby. For a $10.00 raffle ticket you have a chance to win this one-of-a-kind quilt worth $700.00. It will be on display at each tour stop and the winner will be selected at the tour's end in March.
There is an additional surprise on this 2008 tour as well. The people who arrive early can take part in helping someone live a dream--to sing live with Queensryche during the first encore song that very evening.
On queensryche.com they set up 3 songs that the fans could choose to sing from their current release: "Take Cover," Black Sabbath's "Neon Nights" (the most popular so far), "Synchronicity II" by The Police, and Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine." Three contestants are pre-selected and one is chosen by the applause from the crowd. If that wasn't enough, out of all the finalists from each tour stop one fortunate vocalist will record a song on Queensryche next release. To see and hear what this is all about, visit www.queensryche.com/sing .
The stage design is fabulous on this--tour simple and elegant for both acts.
Don and MSG guitarist Kelly Keeling walked out to stools at center stage surrounded by candles and played an impressive acoustic set of Dokken favorites. For me there was one song that was breathtaking (and my personal favorite): "Alone Again." Don's voice has never sounded better, and Kelly was a magnificent compliment vocally. The two really know their way around an acoustic guitar. This was my first time seeing Dokken and Keeling and I hope it will not be my last.
Here is the Don Dokken and Kelly Keeling set list from that night:
Into The Fire
Breakin The Chains
Just Got Lucky
It's Not Love
In My Dreams
Finally what we all came here for: QUEENSRYCHE! The band hit the stage with full force and never once let up on the intensity during the 90-plus minute set. The crowd was so ready and completely into the music they were singing along to every song the band pulled out from their impressive back-catalog, and it was evident that the band was enjoying the energy exchange and having a great time performing for the packed house.
Rarely preformed songs like "Killing Words," "Last time in Paris," and "Burning Man" met with a loud roar of approval.
As vocalist Geoff Tate sang the lyrics from the "Killing Words" - "you forced me to force you, aahh do you remember" - and he simultaneously raised his arms above his head and crossed them at the wrist, I heard the fans roar in approval.
Tate, in my opinion is hands down the best frontman in music. His live performance is engaging, energetic and intense. Being highly respected for his vocal range and ability, Tate has inspired many other singers to chase the rock star dream. Soon Mr. Tate will embark on another creative adventure--that of an actor. Will he be the villain or the hero? What says he can't be both as Alder Grayson in "House of Eternity?" This finally ends the constant inquiries from fans that Tate should try his hand at acting.
Tate was not the only band member to garner positive crowed response through out the set each member had his time to shine again and again.
One of the most striking aspects of the stage design was a large reflective Tri-Ryche that hung over the most magnificent drum kit and drummer extraordinaire Scott Rockenfield. Not only has Rockenfield garnered a Grammy nomination for his side project, but he designs these spectacular drum kits and his innovative designs called Rocken Wraps. I do not know what is more impressive: his designs or his massive talent and skill as a drummer.
During "Jet City Woman" bassist Eddie Jackson came to the edge of the stage and nailed this awesome base line that he played with such expersitese and the fans went wild. This man is so solid, only a few in music today can compare. Jackson is one of the most reserved on stage yet his playing shows his musical passion does burn strong beneath his calm exterior.
Mere seconds later Mike Stone wailed on his New "MS-1 signature guitar (designed in collaboration with motorcycle designer Eric Buell and Peavey Custom Shop) and the crowd of fans with raised fists in front of him frouscialy sang along. Stone has truly brought a new edge to Queensryche and the legions of fans are growing rapidly.
During "Is There Anybody Listening," Michael "Whip" Wilton stepped into the spotlight and created his special brand of melodic magic on his signature ESP Guitar. Whip's fans gathered around him, hanging on every note that their guitar master played. You can always recognize these fans as they are sporting their Whipwear, from Wilton's clothing line. Wilton's skill and passion is evident every time he picks up his guitar to play, and like Tate, he has inspired many a young guitarists to live out their musical dreams.
I have witnessed many of Queensryche tours and I must say this is one of the finest productions they have ever put on--right along side Operation Mindcrime I and II and the "Promise Land" tour.
After 27 years of being touted as musical innovators that have received numerous awards and Grammy nominations, gold and multi platinum selling CDs and DVDs, and sold out tours world-wide, one would wonder what is left for Queensryche to achieve. Only time will tell us that, and of course visiting queensryche.com.
Here is Queensryche's set list from the concert:
Screaming In Digital
Welcome to the Machine
Another Rainy Night
Gonna Get Close to You
Best I Can
Last Time in Paris
Breaking the Silence
Jet City Woman
Eyes of a Stranger
Neon Knights (w/contest winner Mark Chasen)
Photos from the show can be viewied in our photo gallery.
(Photos and report by By Ellie Timms)
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