The progressive metal of Queensryche powers into the Motor City at Saint Andrew’s Hall with guitar wizard Marty Friedman and metal warriors Trauma.
To celebrate the release of their sixteenth album called Digital Noise Alliance, Queensryche is on the road sharing this brilliant album with their fans. Tonight, they are in Detroit at Saint Andrew’s Hall. This tour package is exceptional in that it offers fans an awesome and diverse array of heavy music.
If you are a metal historian nerd, you probably know the first band on the bill, Trauma. They were part of the origins of Bay Area thrash and the first professional band that Cliff Burton joined before moving on to become a legend in Metallica. It looked like Trauma would be a historic footnote until they regrouped in 2013. They are on tour supporting their latest album called Awakening which came out at the tail end of 2022. For those new to the band, they are Kris Gustofson (drums), Steve Robello (guitar), Brian Allen (vocals), Michael Spencer (bass), and Casey Trask (guitar).
Trauma came out in a blitz, delivering a hybrid mix of new wave of British heavy metal and thrash. They made the best of the limited stage real estate to put on a high-powered performance. The highlights of their set included a firestorm of a song called “End of Everything” which featured punishing rhythm and fist-clenching riffs. Their final song called “Death of the Angel” was another great headbanger with searing vocals. Trauma engaged the crowd and had everyone primed for a night of great music.Next up is native son and Japan’s Ambassador of Heritage, Marty Friedman. Marty brought his amazing friends Naoki Morioka (guitar), Wakazaemon (bass), and Chargeeeeee (drums) with him to share the stage. Fans who witnessed Marty’s U.S. tour in 2019 will certainly remember the hyperkinetic frenzy of Chargeeeeee. However, Marty relayed during their set that this tour marks the first time that Naoki and Wakazaemon have been to the United States. From the roar of the crowd after each tune, Naoki and Wakazaemon clearly made a room full of new friends.
The performance by Marty and his band is simply jaw-dropping and smile-inducing. You can’t help but be floored by the massive musical talent on the stage. At the same time, you can’t help but feel uplifted and smile your ass off in the process. Marty took us back to his blazing Loudspeaker album with songs “Stigmata Addiction,” “Devil Take Tomorrow,” and “Paradise Express.” Through flashing lights, Marty worked his magic on the fretboard. His guitar sang with a fierce passion that was personified in the performance of everyone on stage.
The evocative Japanese standard “Amagigoe” written by Sayuri Ishikawa was particularly brilliant with its taste of the solo from Megadeth’s “Tornado of Souls” tucked inside. Chargeeeeee smashed his cymbals with eyes wide and teeth bared. His animation and enthusiasm spill into the crowd as he points into the audience, coaxing chants of “Marty” between songs. During “Dragon’s Mistress,” Marty and Naoki trade lightning licks as Wakazaemon’s nimble bass lines match Chargeeeeee beat for beat. They wrap up their stellar set with “Kaze ga Fuiteiru” from the latest Tokyo Jukebox 3.A chorus of cheers rises high as Pantera’s “Walk” plays over the PA. The lights dim as the opening notes and anthemic drums of “Behind the Wall” beckon the start of an incredible set of music from Queensryche.
With eyes fixed on the stage, fans witness the pulsing rhythms created by Casey Grillo (drums) and Eddie Jackson (bass). A close look may catch a fleeting grimace or furrowed brow from the otherwise stoic face of Michael Wilton as he effortlessly plays some of the most transfixing and melodic solos. Not to be undone in stoic repose or fretboard finesse is Mike Stone. With his pipes gleaming and shimmering, Todd La Torre’s vocals are at once majestic and mesmerizing.
The pace quickens for “Don’t Look Back” from the self-titled album. Fists pump and heads bang; Queensryche is on fire. The melodic interplay between Wilton and Stone is superb. As Forrest Gump would say, they are like “peas and carrots.”
If you are an old-school fan of Queensryche, then you were in heaven as Queensryche launched into “Child of Fire” followed by “En Force” from their monumental debut album The Warning. Casey and Eddie bring the power and grandeur of these songs to life. Once again, Todd invigorates each song with his expert use of dynamic range. It doesn’t hurt that his highs are piercing and perfect.
The much prized Operation Mindcrime album gets a bit of love with “Spreading the Disease” which is the best song on that album. The driving propulsion played live is infectious. You can feel it resonate inside of you.
Queensryche digs into their awesome new album Digital Noise Alliance with the fist-clenching “In Extremis.” The popping drums and chunky riffs give this tune a driving locomotion. Next, we jump to “Light-Years” from The Verdict with its hypnotizing syncopation. Eddie’s bass tone shines as each pulsing wave of sound breaks upon us.
Queensryche returns to the DNA album with “Sicdeth” that is another hard-charging song which is brilliant to witness live. Todd takes a moment to thank everyone for coming and to ask for a little patience with the next song as he warns the pace will slow down. The theme for this next song, he explains, is dealing with the loss of a parent. Queensryche then tenderly rendered the beautiful song called “Forest.” Touching and somber, this song rings with truth and emotion. In some respects, there is a Pink Floyd vibe that seemed amplified when played live.
It is now time to switch gears and jump into the hits. Eddie’s prodding bass introduces “Jet City Woman” which leads into the title track “Empire.” Queensryche finishes up their set with the contemplative “My Empty Room” before bringing it home with “Eyes of a Stranger.”
With just enough time to grab a drink and wipe their brows, Queensryche is back with a powerhouse encore that begins with their fight song “Queen of the Reich.” This tune brings shivers over the spine and raises hairs on the neck with its glorious force. A look around the venue shows many singing along to the chorus as they raise their invisible oranges in union with this awe-inspiring performance.
For the deep-cut fans, Queensryche wraps up the night with “Deliverance” and “Roads to Madness” from The Warning. It has been over 35 years since “Deliverance” has been played live. Time has no impact on greatness and these tunes sound as potent today as ever. Many thanks to Queensryche for a tremendous night of music.QUEENSRYCHE
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