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Mohegan Sun Never Knew What Hit Them As Queensryche Rocked The Wolf Den

A funny thing happened on the way to the Wolf Den…. Ever since the brief stint as Rising West and then the subsequent departure of Geoff Tate, I’ve taken back to Queensryche like white on rice. It was hearing “Rage For Order” in some of my earliest days as a metal fan and being blown away at the song writing and (at the time) daring approach of the band that lured me in. I was hooked. Going back to “The Warning” and the first EP made that even better. The anticipation of “Operation: Mindcrime” reached a fever pitch as I waited for the record store to open on the day of its release. “Empire” continued the greatness and it seemed as though nothing could stop them. “Promised Land” was solid, but then Chris DeGarmo departed after the lackluster “Hear In The Now Frontier” and from that point on it seemed to free fall all the way to the “thing” that was “Dedicated to Chaos.”

Sure, I can spout off for hours as to my personal opinions on Geoff Tate for the 15 years that came after DeGarmo left…all the way to his eventual ousting and “media firefight” that came over the last year. However, that would only give more publicity to his version of the band, which I glowingly call “FakeRyche.” The good news is that with the hiring of Todd La Torre (who I was following on Facebook with his string of covers of Queensryche and old Crimson Glory material) and release of the new song, aptly entitled “Redemption,” the band is back on track and I am proud to be “that fan” once again.

The show at the Mohegan Sun was announced months ago. It would take place at the Wolf Den, an open bar type venue that is located right in the middle of a heavily trafficked slot machine and table game area of the famous casino. The Wolf Den is open and free, though you need to get there pretty early to get in. It seats about 150 people “inside” and if you didn’t make it – you can view from the slots and can certainly hear it throughout the casino. I arrived at 2pm for the 8pm show and there was no line. Within minutes, a small line of about ten people formed and a guard at the end told me that it continued about 20 feet at a corner from where the “older” portion of the casino formed a circle (back when it was first constructed, this was the main part – which has given way to the much larger “Casino of the Sky”).

I situated myself about 10th in line from that point and dug in for the five hour wait, laughing at the conversations of people within earshot thinking Tate was there. The line moved at about 6:50pm and when I approached the entrance for the free show, the gentleman said “do you have tickets?” Now, suffice to say that what followed involved an hour of fighting with four different staff members, who clearly had no clue what they were doing or what they were in for. One of the more rude ones indicated that I was “this close” to being turned over to the “tribal police.”

Naturally, when a venue creates a “free show” and decides to hand out “tickets” to only the beginning portion of the line, neglecting the second part completely (which was created only to keep the area clear for the gamblers there to blow the family nest egg for Easter), and then claim they “went down the whole line” to cover their asses….clearly that represents "my fault." I did hear the greatest excuse ever heard from a venue: “We never anticipated this kind of response.” Dumbfounded, I thought: ‘the people who booked this didn’t know’? However, a guardian angel named Michelle showed up (as I was denied entry for the tenth time) and got me in with her “plus one” and suddenly all the tension of the encounter melted away.

Oddly, in all the times I’ve been to Mohegan Sun, I was never in the Wolf Den, which is usually reserved for smaller bands. The chairs and tables littered the tiny floor area, and as much as I felt they were an imposition for a metal show, they worked to my advantage as people were only one line deep at certain points on the stage. I was able to secure a perfect position just left of center where I was able to place my camera lens swap out just before the monitor.

Now, I don’t know whether some people were just ignorant of Todd’s ability or what, but just after opener “Queen of the Reich,” I heard a ton of people say “wow….” I laughed and said “Isn’t it great to finally hear Queensryche with a singer that can hit a note?” The band was tight and perfect….and with Todd at the helm, you can just see that rigid “obedience” and automaton “soldiering” of the past couple of years just melt away into smiles on the faces and all around fun from Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Parker Lundgren. The older album that received the majority of the attention was 1984's “Warning," as the band blasted through “En Force,” “Child of Fire,” “Warning,” “Roads to Madness,” and “Take Hold of the Flame,” in what had to be the single greatest Queensryche performance in the times I have seen them (twice before). The band was back with force as a metal band of old and seeing them shine in this tiny venue instead of yards away at an arena was pretty special.

As Todd finished his perfect rendition of “The Needle Lies,” he stared out into the crowd (which built up well beyond the “confines” of the Wolf Den) and said “Wow, this has to be the strangest place we ever played. People cannot hear themselves winning [referring to the slots].” However, it was the crowd watching Queenryche winning for two hours straight! Both Todd and drummer Scott Rockenfield mentioned how grateful they were for all the support. I couldn’t help but admire the way this REAL version of Queensryche has conducted business since Tate left and the lawsuits began. Amid confusion over the “two Queensryches,” the real one has been exuding class, choosing to not engage in a battle they already won. Talk of Tate pulling his "TateRyche" "FU" album to be remixed, true or not, is just another desperate attempt at “one upping,” but you wouldn’t even know it from this performance. There was no trash talking…just business as usual. The only trash talking was my own “fuck Geoff Tate” chant…but as a fan, I can voice that opinion (“classless” or not).

The band did not play “Redemption,” or any other new stuff – keeping all the material safely within the realm of 1982-1990, with the encores of “Jet City Woman,” “Silent Lucidity” and “Empire” as the “newest” material presented. It couldn’t have been a better set…though I would have loved a little more from “Rage for Order” than merely “Walk in the Shadows” and "The Whisper." It was pretty special that they pulled out “Prophecy” (originally on the “Live in Tokyo” release in 1985 and later added as a bonus track on “Empire”).

Queensryche is back…stronger…and better than ever. “Don’t Believe in Love”? Well, just make sure you catch them live now and make the decision on your own that you agree with me. All Hall La Torre!

CROMCarl's avatar

Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.

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27 Comments on "Queensryche Levels The Unsuspecting Casino Crowd"

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BrianMN's avatar

Member

1. BrianMN writes:

Thanks for writing this.
Spot on all the way.
I wasn't really sure if MU was even going to take a stance on the whole Geockoff Taterskins fire storm but I'm glad you did. I've been having a blast reading all the comments on Blabb almost daily.
As for Tate?
He brought this all on himself.
Spitting on his bandmates, pulling a knife, telling your fans they suck.
He hasn't taken care of his voice over the years and it shows.
Funny...for all the fans that lament his ousting they are the same ones to cry about DeGarmo.
Little do most of them realize that it was Tate that drove him out, not once but twice.
Sorry but I love Tate's old voice along with everyone else.
But the guy admitted he hates metal.
d***inson, Halford, Dio and a ton of others have gone solo and simply went by their own name.
Tate should do the same if he is that confident about his own material.
I honestly don't think his heart has been in it for a long time, if it ever really was.
November's court date will settle this nonsense once and for all.
I'm pulling for Toddryche.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 12:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Steve Pearce writes:

Year after year, album after album, tour after tour. Tate ruined the shows all the time. Always trying to be more than he was. His ridiculous acting on stage along with his saxophone. His solo album hilarious. The numerous let downs. I patiently await a Queensryche album. Redemption sounds great.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 1:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. Allen writes:

They played a fantastic show in Tampa at the Ritz. It was a great homecoming of sorts for Todd, seeing as how he is a local boy. And not to mention several of his friends and family were in attendance. Queensryche has been re-born!! Geoff is now a thing of the past. He WAS in the band, but he was NOT the band. Not to diss Parker at all, he is a great player, but I think a DeGarmo reunion or guest appearance will be in order sometime in the future... \m/(~~)\m/

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 2:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
CROMCarl's avatar

Writer / Reviewer

4. CROMCarl writes:

Yeah right...exactly! At least now the reason DeGarmo left twice has now been removed!

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 2:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. che writes:

i didnt mind the sax. it fit promised land.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 3:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. tpmartin writes:

Without geoff tate it is just tribute band. Going to see geoff tates queensryche next week.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 3:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Ragesouth writes:

Tpmartin, enjoy kelly gray on guitar! He could play the music when he was in the band 13 years ago! I will go see tateryche with an open mind. But your an idiot if you think this band lead by TLT is anything but the real thing!

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 4:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
CROMCarl's avatar

Writer / Reviewer

8. CROMCarl writes:

How is the rest of the band "a tribute band" and a group with the singer and a bunch of guest musicians "the band." OMG....At some point you have to give some credit to the guys who actually play the music behind a singer.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 4:09 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Dave Smith writes:

It's great to see this band is rising again! They are taking the world by storm again, fighting and clawing their way back to their deserved place in the metal world!! RYCHE ON!!

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 4:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. fair_warning writes:

At first, I was only going to go see Geoff's version of the band. I loved evey album Ryche did up to and including Promised land. Rage For Order was, in my opinion, groundbreaking. But I have to agree with most of you, the band has not been the same since Degarmo left, and neither has Geoff's vocals.

I don't know geoff personally, only met hin at a winery selling hs wine and singing a few songs in the wine cellar - it was very cool, but it seems like the people who know him better think he's a jerk. Regardless, hearing "Redemption" for the first time, and watching Todd belt out the older tunes made me much more open to them. I hope the rest of the new album is just as good or better.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 5:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. MarkO writes:

I have been a fan of the Ryche since the Ep was released, Kerrang! was raving about this new band hitting the scene so when the Ep came out I bought it and was hooked immediately. I saw them twice on The Warning tour, once of which was a club show. Twice on the Rage tour, twice on the Mindcrime tour, once on the Empire tour where they in fact played Mindcrime in it's entirety. Geoff Tate was incredible back in those days, sadly those days passed. The next time I saw them was in 2006 and I was totally depressed after, there was NO Fire in the band anymore, Tate went through the motions, the vocal histrionics that used to send shivers up the spine were MIA. Although I honestly had given up the ghost before that, afterwards all I had was the early days of the Ryche in their prime to listen to. I have to ask though, WTF was that whole Cabaret show about? OMFG! Who's idea was that, wait, I'm pretty sure I know the answer already. My interest was piqued when I heard about the Rising West project, even more when I saw the videos on Youtube. Hmmm, this Todd guy was doing Tate better than Tate had been doing Tate for years! Fast forward to Mohegan Sun last Saturday night, I witnessed the rebirth of Queensryche firsthand front and center. The band is back with fire! Todd nailed it, the band nailed it and it was one for the history books! There were smiles among the band, there where smiles in the audience and plenty of "Geoff WHO?" comments to go around. Yours truly included and I was a huge Tate fan in the 80's and early 90's. Clearly, Tate lost interest and the fire died, sadly to the point that the band suffered for it. We are all free to choose sides but at this point I am clearly on the side of THE Queensryche. With Michael, Eddie and Scott, you have 3/4ths of the original Ryche. While Tate has a few great players, they will never capture the sound nor spirit of the true Queensryche, sadly, nothing more than a Karaoke band in my opinion. By all means, feel free to disagree if you wish but this is my perspective on the whole thing. After last Saturday's show at the Mohegan I need no further convincing and look forward to the new cd!!! Long Live the Ryche!!!

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 6:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

Member

12. BrianMN writes:

@MarkO
Thanks for posting that it was a very interesting read.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 6:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. Wolfsong writes:

I'm curious... I've seen a few references here to Tate being the reason DeGarmo left. I've seen the same statement on other sites.

To my awareness, DeGarmo himself has never come out and stated that, yes, problems with Tate is the reason he left. Is there some official source for that somewhere? Not doubting it's true outright, but I'm not that quick to take things I read online as "fact" unless I can see the source for it myself.

That said, I began losing interest in 'ryche with Hear In The Now Frontier. After the thick, layered experience that was Promised Land (their last masterpiece, in my opinion). The interest has only waned farther with each release since then, until I basically reached a point, after Tribe, where I didn't even buy their stuff anymore. Not even Mindcrime II. They didn't sound like Queensryche anymore. I saw them live on tour with Dream Theater and Fates Warning back in '02 or '03, and have to say... 'ryche was the weakest of the 3. Tate wasn't singing. He was "speaking, melodically". Someone on another site used the term "beat poem" to describe Tate's performance, and even that's a pretty good description.

I got so sick of his preaching and ranting between and during songs that I was tempted to say "would you shut up already, and sing?". I was in the front row, so he'd have definitely heard me lol.

Having seen them on Building Empires, Promised Land (one of my favorite live shows of all time), and Hear In The Now... this performance by them was just so underwhelming and dialed in. No energy. No life. Hard to believe it was the same band that kicked my a$$ on Building Empires and Promised Land.

After hearing Redemption, however, I'm excited again. They sound like Queensryche once again. The life is back. The energy is back. The melody is back. They're back.

Tate can disappear into obscurity for all I care. He helped get 'ryche where they were, certainly. But he took that momentum and squandered it.

I'm just waiting for the judge to officially say "Sorry, Mr. Tate. The remaining members of Queensryche get to keep the name. You'll have to find something else to call yourself"

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 7:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. Btsoom writes:

Good for what it is. I heard the trailer and lot of the other clips sound more complex/technical than the song Redemption. We old school power/prog-heads don't have much of anything to latch on to these days and we aren't a target market by festival organizers. Its revivals like this that hopefully stay successful for years to come (fingers crossed), a Fates Warning US tour covering limited North American area, and Death to All this year. Fawk ProgEuroMeloGothpower

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 10:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. Bobby b writes:

You lost me three paragraphs into your rant about the venue.

Give the band a review if you're going to do a review.Not helping the bands fresh start by boring people to death with your personal issues.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 11:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
16. tpmartin writes:

Hey ladies, how is 3/5 of the original band queensryche?
When the main song writer (degarmo) left the band the quality of the music when down. When you go and see queensryche are you there for the classic old stuff or new sh** that no one buys or plays on the radio? Go and see the queensryche without geoff tate and close your eyes, sure the guy is a good singer but he is not geoff tate. Go see geoff tates queensryche and you'll here the original. I'm a musician and can play queensryche. Think about it, jack. There is no more queensryche.

# Apr 2, 2013 @ 11:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. luvspurses writes:

tpmartin, you are sooo right. Geof Tate has personality, stage presence, and charisma. I don't go to a concert to hear someone play just like the CD. I go to hear musicians play LIVE and put fun into their songs. Geof has professional musicians from different bands, so there will be creativity, NOT a boring show I have already seen 10 times.

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 1:10 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. Aly writes:

They were here in Arizona in December and they just blew me away! Todd is awesome!! The first song he did that had a high note...the crowd was silent in anticipation to see if he would hit it...since Geoff hasn't been able to in ages. Once he hit the note...the crowd went wild!! The concert was awesome.They did all the hits that Geoff refused to do. I'm excited to see what good things they can do now that the control freak is gone. And this is hard for me to say. I've been a fan of Ryche since the 80s. Was in the fan club. I've even met Geoff. But he got greedy and let his ego get out of control. Yes. Queensryche can survive without him and they are surviving without him. You could see the joy the guys had in playing again. It was awesome.

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 8:17 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Gaijin writes:

tpmartin & luvspurses - how is 1/5 of the original band Queensrÿche? Especially when that member cannot cut it live anymore. I suppose you have not heard Tate in the last 5 years or so?
LaTorre is doing a great job and while he's not as good as Tate was 20 years ago, he blows Tate in 2013 out of the water. Go to a Tate show in 2013 and close your eyes - your illusions of Tate will shatter.
Tate's control issues and poor direction has resulted in very mediocre albums. The last album I bought is Tribe. The ones after that aren't QR. Mediocre alternative rock songs written by outside writers and (sometimes) recorded by session musicians. If he wants to do that, he can release it as his solo albums (like he did with the clunker Kings & thieves).
I wish Tate all the best for his solo career and wine making. But he has ruined the good name of QR for far too long. The fire is back in the band and only the Wilton/Jackson/Rockenfield version can rightly lay claim to the name and legacy of Queensrÿche.

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 8:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. dave freitas writes:

I was there great great show thank God the real Queensryche found Todd great singer and they kicked my a$$ on my 195 th. concert one i'll never forget

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 9:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. dirk writes:

That would all be good if this guy didnt sound like sh**.

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 1:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
teecee74's avatar

Member

22. teecee74 writes:

This whole thing is very strange. I moved to Seattle 3 years ago and took every chance I could get to see QR or members of the band as they appeared at or hosted different events or played shows. Whether it was Geoff's wine release, Whip's beer release or a pre-show party at a local bar the guys always showed up for each other and I never detected any hostility. I spent time hanging out with Geoff at many of these events and he was never anything less than completely magnanimous and accommodating of everyone that approached him for an autograph, a handshake or just a chance to say hi. At the last event I went to we had a nice conversation about his wine making and the latest album and then he poured a glass for me to sample with him and his wife so I don't really understand all of the vitriol toward him. I'll admit his voice ain't what it used to be but I saw the last show on their anniversary tour where they played almost all old hits and everyone had a blast and the band sounded great. I get that people have a falling out but casting Tate or anyone as the bad guy in all of this seems childish, in the end it is the remaining fans that are losing out IMO. Any incarnation of Queensryche is a glorified cover band at this point.

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 7:33 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

23. hellrat writes:

^losing out to whom?

If both bands are 'glorified cover bands' as you say, shouldn't you not address yer new seattle buddies directly to ensure that they can all peace out so that we poor fans don't have to lose out? That would be a bit more logical than appealing to the 'victims', eh? ;)

Anyway, who the fvck cares? If the guy is nailing the warning material live as described above, hell yes, i'd check it out...new material is ok, not hideous...tater's solo material IS sh**e to my ears, but again, who gives a fvck?

And god fvcking forbid...but what if people like both? eh? blasphemy!! ;)

and I suppose a band like say, Iced Earth, is just a 'glorified cover band' as well...

NP---Prophesy live @ Tokyo '84

# Apr 3, 2013 @ 11:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
24. Just sayin' writes:

tpmartin~
Let us know how the Geoff "Taint" project works out this weekend. Im sure TLT loves the props he is getting for hitting those high notes that are over twenty years old. Those guys (QR) could have hired nearly anybody they wanted. They hired TLT for a reason, and it was not to spite Geoff. They have a goal to carry on for the fans who pay their bills. Don't forget, TLT isnt a spring chicken himself. He has been around for many years. I'm sure he gets wood knowing he is carrying on the legend of QR. He will front QR for a long time, just as Sammy fronted VH for a long time. I'm sure Geoff is bitter, just like Dave was bitter. But, when your head gets so inflated, and you have to lean out the window when you drive your car, you are headed for a downward spiral.....\m/(~~)\m/

# Apr 4, 2013 @ 9:15 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

25. hellrat writes:

just heard the 1st one off Tater Salad's record, and it was pretty fvckin flaccid

vocal the epitome of washed up mediocrity, music dull and uninspired

pretty much total crap

# Apr 4, 2013 @ 11:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

Member

26. BrianMN writes:

^^^I also heard “Cold”…
Here’s what I liked, it had a good lead.
That’s it.
I tried to be subjective...I really did.
It’s just sort of dull and lifeless…and sadder still it’s probably the best track on the album.
Tate sounds ok but no range is displayed whatsoever.
It could have come from any band but would fit nicely on any of his solo albums.
The whole song wasn’t bad per say but not something I’d go seeking out.
Redemption on the other hand has been stuck in my head for a week now.
Redemption comes out the clear winner.
"Cold"...final verdict.
Not good, not bad...definitely NOT Queensryche.

# Apr 4, 2013 @ 12:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
27. TheLostTribe writes:

I noticed that after all of his pointed comments and even after a direct invitation to do so, tpmartin did not post a review of the show he saw. What does that say? And how is 0/5 of the founding members Queensryche at all? Geoff was not a founding member. He was a hired singer (like you would hire any studio musician) who already had his own band. He decided to leave Myth and join Queensrÿche only after they were already signed to a record deal without him. luvspurses also needs to check out things personally before spouting comments since Todd has plenty of personality. I have seen Queensrÿche over 60 times (including seeing both current renditions several times over the last year). The TLT led is the Queensrÿche of old with some great new stuff coming out. They are full of energy and smiles, and you cannot help but leaving their shows in a fantastic mood. The GT led is more of Geoff's solo style, more mellow than what you are getting from QR these days. As someone commented, some do treat it as blasphemous if you go see both. They are entirely different styles of music. If you like both, go see both. But do not go see the GT version, expecting to hear anything that sounds like QR. It does not. I like his solo work, and would prefer that if that is what he is going to continue to play, he let the guys still performing the QR sound do so under the QR name with no more legal hassles, and he tour under his own name. Also Chris DeGarmo never made his reasons public because he has more decency. That does not make what has leaked out untrue. The same as the rest of the guys have tried to remain decent and keep their issues private until someone made the court depositions (public records) easy to find on the internet. Those bring enough truthful negativity to light, so falsehoods need not persist. By this, I mean the story about the knife being pulled was made up on a Brazillian blog, and is untrue.

# Apr 16, 2013 @ 11:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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