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Review: Queensrÿche, the Altar Bar, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/29/15

Posted by on May 18, 2015

On Wednesday April 29th, the prog metal legends Queensrÿche descended upon Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar, a church converted bar/concert venue at the heart of the city’s Strip District. The show featured two local Pittsburgh acts as openers, Vermithrax and Icarus Witch, and was being called “the classic metal event of the year.”

Vermithrax

Certainly the heaviest of the three bands to play, Vermithrax opened up with a thunderous wall of sound akin to Testament or Iced Earth. They made the most of the little room they had one stage, and filled the venue with thrash with ease.

 

Icarus Witch

Next up was a set of gentlemen that have graced the local scene here for the last ten years. Icarus Witch is a contemporary band that could also have easily fit alongside Dokken or Skid Row, a perfect bridge between the heavier Vermithrax and lighter, more progressive Queensrÿche.

 

Queensryche

I’m not going to lie, I was very apprehensive on how I’d feel seeing this great band fronted by somebody other than Geoff Tate. Having heard the new album featuring Todd La Torre, I knew he at least sounded like Geoff on album, but I was certainly skeptical about how it was going to stand up live. Now that I’ve seen the two incarnations of Queensrÿche (although there is only the one now), I can assure you if the new singer is a deterring factor from seeing them, there is nobody else out there that would make a better fit for that position. Although I imagine seeing them is sort of like seeing Journey nowadays as well, you know there is somebody new in the position but it just looks and sounds right. For the most part, the band stuck to their earlier material, throwing in “Where Dreams Go to Die,” the first track off of their newest, self-titled release. When they broke into “I Don’t Believe in Love,” there was so much of the crowd singing along that it was hard to tell who was singing louder, the band or the fans. Overall, Queensrÿche sounded amazing. The band was damn near note-perfect, and Todd proved to me, and hopefully the rest of the skeptics, that he’s filling the awfully large shoes left behind.

Setlist:

Nightrider
Speak
I Don’t Believe in Love
Walk in the Shadows
En Force
Warning
Silent Lucidity
X2
Where Dreams Go to Die
The Needle Lies
NM 156
My Empty Room
Eyes of a Stranger
Empire
The Lady Wore Black
Queen of the Reich
Jet City Woman
Take Hold of the Flame

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