Queensryche with Fates Warning at The Fonda, Hollywood, CA – 3/28/19
2/3 of what some consider “The Big Three” of Prog. Metal, Queensryche and Fates Warning, came through Hollywood on Thursday evening. (Ironically the third of those bands, Dream Theater, played LA just a week ago).
Fates Warning kind of dropped off my radar over the years, so I was excited to see and hear the band and get an idea of what they’ve been up to. They’ve been up to lots of good. They played a very balanced, 1 hour, ten song set that saw 3 songs from their stellar “Parallels” album as well as 3 from their last studio album, “Theories Of Flight“. So a good taste of the old and the new (from the Ray Alder Years).
I really dug their show and was happy that they had a good 60 minutes to really allow them to get into a groove with their songs. For me there was a comfort in hearing the new material, because it still had that old school feel and sound from their early days.
Ray Alder still sounds amazing and was feeding off the rare energy from the (not tonight, but usually subdued) Hollywood crowd. They were singing along to both the old and newer songs which is always a good sign. Founding guitarist, Jim Matheos and touring member, Mike Abdow traded off licks and solos. Bobby Jarzombek (Sebastian Bach, Halford), was almost completely eclipsed by his kit but was a beast. The focal point for me was bassist, Joey Vera (Armored Saint) who is a man possessed. If you’ve never seen Joey play, go check out some you tube videos. It almost seems as if he’s not in control of himself. I’d have to throw his name out there as one of the most underrated bass players out there.
I was inspired and I plan to delve back into the Fates Warning discography to catch up on everything I’ve missed.
In all honesty, after “Empire“, Queensryche solely became a live draw for me as opposed to feeling the need to rush out right away and buy their albums. I felt they veered too far away for my liking from everything that made them great; The great catchy hooks and melodies that were easy to sing along to. You could say that they grew up and I didn’t. Well, I think with their latest album, “The Verdict“, I may have finally caught up. From the chugging opening chords of “Blood Of The Levant“, I was back on board.
Having just seen them play a blistering short, but classic heavy, set on the Monsters of Rock Cruise (Check it out here), I knew that there would be more of a focus, and rightly so, on the new material. Well it was a fucking delight and fits in very comfortably in the set. Tonight saw 4 songs (“Blood Of The Levant“, “Man The Machine“, “Propaganda Fashion” and the introduction into the encore of “Light-Years“) from the new album. The rest of the set was similar to their Finale on the boat and included a bunch of songs that get the hairs tingling on the back of your neck from the first notes including, “Walk In The Shadows“, “Queen Of The Reich“, “Silent Lucidity” and “Take Hold Of The Flame“.
Of course, none of this comes close to being possible if you don’t have someone with the pipes to pull these songs off night after night. Ladies and Gentlemen.. Todd La Fucking Torre! He gave me goosebumps hitting those notes on the boat and I thought it was because it was the first time I had seen him. Nope, same thing again last night at The Fonda. Geoff Tate’s work on the early albums is legendary…but the legacy couldn’t be carried on with this band, at this high of a standard, if it wasn’t for the range of Todd La Torre.
Mike (Of The Ryche) Wilton did an incredible job of perfectly duplicating all those amazing solos from the classic Ryche songs. Especially on “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Jet City Woman” that I SO wanted to hear played Album perfect…and they were!
Besides Todd, Guitarist Parker Lundgren is the most animated member of the band. He chugs out all the Ryche Rhythms and adds some of the rock star guitarist flair.
Eddie Jackson, although almost trance-like at times, is another bassist that is wholly underrated. Such a huge part of the Queensryche sound both on the 4 string as well as on background vocals.
Casey Grillo has been touring with the band on drums for the past couple of years in Scott Rockenfield’s absence, and would make an amazing permanent addition to the band if Scott decides to hang up his sticks for good.
As all good things must come to an end, the last song of the night was the epic, “Empire” which had the crowd singing along to every word.
If you missed the band already, don’t make that mistake twice. They’re touring extensively through the end of the year and are definitely worth a road trip if you can swing it.
Much like Queensryche’s set on the boat, Iron Maidens guitarist, Courtney Cox was side stage rocking out to the band.
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