Queensryche Delivers the Verdict in Orlando
The Plaza Live, Orlando Feb. 27th, 2020
To say that I was looking forward to this show would be an understatement. I’ve listened to Queensryche for years, but the last time that I saw them was in 1986, when they were on tour with Ozzy Osbourne in support of their Rage for Order album. Although they had played three Florida shows a month earlier, tonight they were at the Plaza Live in Orlando, on the final stop of their Verdict tour.
Eve To Adam started off the night’s events with an inspired six-song set. The band is comprised of Taki Sassaris (lead vocals), Ilyn Nathaniel (bass guitar), Ronny Gutierrez (guitar) and Jeff Raines (drums). These no-holds-barred rockers have been on the music scene for roughly twenty-three years and have toured with such acts as Motley Crue, the Scorpions, Tesla and many others. The highlight of their set was their cover of Robert Tepper’s No Easy Way Out which was featured in the movie Rocky IV. Before concluding their set, the band paid tribute to 2vetsoam "On A Mission". This awesome group works with veterans and their families, tackling such issues as suicide prevention, PTSD and homelessness. Just like Eve To Adam, 2vetsoam "On A Mission" are a class act!
Next up was John William Lowery, better known as John 5. I have to admit that John 5 had me the most intrigued. John 5 has played with numerous musical acts, but is probably most associated with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Although his relationship with Marilyn Manson could be described as tumultuous, it was in fact Manson that dubbed Lowery as John 5.
John 5’s stage setup resembled a funhouse, complete with inflatables, monsters and ghouls. From the moment John 5 walked on stage, he methodically stalked the crowd, often sporting a devilish grin to go along with his evilly painted face. The set was strictly instrumental, showcasing John 5’s prowess on the guitar. Ian Ross (bass) and Logan Nix (drums) provided support throughout the set, but it was clearly John 5 who proved to be the master showman. John 5 kicked out a blistering twelve-song set including the infectious Crank It-Living With Ghosts. Toward the end of the set, John 5 was joined on stage by a bevy of creatures including one that resembled John 5 himself. This creature proceeded to launch an explosion of ticker tape confetti as John 5 raised his guitar triumphantly over the crowd. The defining moment of the set came in the form of a long medley consisting of snippets from great artists such as Rush, Motley Crue, Van Halen, White Zombie, KISS and numerous others. One thing I came away with is that John 5 is entertainment personified.
The time had finally arrived. Queensryche have earned their rock-n-roll stripes by surviving and prospering for forty years, in a fickle and constantly changing musical business. They have also endured several roster changes. Tonight’s lineup was Todd La Torre (lead vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar), Casey Grillo (drums), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Parker Lundgren (guitar). The band has released fifteen studio albums and have become a staple in the rock/metal community.
I always marvel over the how the atmosphere noticeably changes just prior to the headlining act coming act. Tonight was no different, as evidenced by the roar of the crowd as the house lights went off. Queensryche has been touring relentlessly in support of their 2017 album The Verdict and fans were treated to several songs from it including Man the Machine, Light-years and Bent. Sometimes when a band changes members, their original sound or identity might be compromised. I have to say that this was not the case. Although Wilton and Jackson are the only two original members, this lineup sounded like the Queensryche of old. The band’s set also included fan favorites such as Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman and Queen of the Reich. The fourteen-song set was clearly not enough for fans and they were rewarded with a four song encore highlighted by the classics Empire and Eyes of a Stranger. Thirty-four years may have gone by since I saw them last, but I have been able to reach a verdict. The rock/metal world is alive and it’s a better place with Queensryche in it. The complete setlist is as follows: