Out of this divorce came some interesting collaborations on the part of newly ousted Tate as well. Fans may be inclined to think Tate’s version of this iconic prog metal sound might be a pathetic and flaccid mockery of itself—a mishmash of mediocre musicians phoning in live karaoke versions of better-known Queensrÿche hits. Au contraire, mon frère du metal. For the final tour allowing Tate to use the band’s name, he’s pulled out the big guns, recruiting tenured metal demigods. He has enlisted none other than Rudy Sarzo on bass (Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot) and his brother Robert Sarzo on lead and rhythm guitars (Hurricane), Simon Wright on drums (AC/DC, Dio, UFO), Kelly Gray on lead and rhythm guitars (Queensrÿche and Myth, Tate's previous band) and Randy Gane on keys (Myth, Queensrÿche).
The details of the settlement included a division of the band’s work. The La Torre-fronted Queensrÿche has been awarded the entire band’s catalog except for its most successful album, Operation: Mindcrime, and its sequel, Operation: Mindcrime II, which go to Tate. Mindcrime is an incredible concept album. Often considered the gold standard by which all other concept albums are measured, it's even been compared to Tommy and The Wall. It seems the original band's compositions aren’t yet off limits, and many hits from the band's various studio albums will be performed. When this tour concludes at the end of August, the band will change its name to Operation: Mindcrime.
Avid rockers are now required to do their research before going out to shows, as the murky aftermath of ’80s metal often leaves the audience without a clue as to who is in a band anymore or frankly, if the show will be any good. Whether due to untimely death or irreconcilable musical differences, few bands from this era are comprised of all original members. Unless you’re going to see the ever-faithful Twisted Sister—a band that’s stuck together through three decades of thick and thin—you’re taking a major gamble, but this show is the exception.
I had the privilege of seeing Queensrÿche in 2011 prior to their split, and the performance was nothing less than stellar. Tate may be a megalomaniac, but he’s also a real showman with the skills and dedication to back up his ego. His pipes haven’t aged, and his energy on stage is palpable. While we may never find out who killed Sister Mary, this is a chance to see hardworking veteran musicians and hear excerpts from Mindcrime and other amazing metal masterpieces. Irish rock band The Voodoos opens the show.