Queensryche – McKees Rocks, PA – February 14, 2020

Still recovering from a week of fun aboard the Monsters of Rock Cruise which dropped me off in port in Fort Lauderdale the day prior, I sadly arrived to the show too late to catch Eve to Adam. But, luckily go there just in time to catch JOHN 5, who somehow I only recently met while working as his photo experience photographer onboard the MegaCruise last fall.

Interestingly, fellow cruiser Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick) caught JOHN 5 on this tour as well and noted, “Finally caught John 5 live…who now also goes onto my list of “guys who need to be stopped” along with Bumblefoot Wayne Krantz and Jimmy Herring,” which sums things up all so well!

JOHN 5 who is perhaps best known for his work with Rob Zombie came onto my radar in full force as his show aboard the cruise was shut down by the San Diego police for noise violations.  He was not stopped, just moved to an overflowing karaoke lounge as word spread about the party…with influences from bluegrass to classical to rock, this performance at the Roxian theater was similar in fashion…Instrumental yet mesmerizing and spooky yet playful. From delicately finger picked instrumentals to the lively jam session showcasing everything from Nirvana to KISS, his band kept the full attention of the packed in theater with his three-piece band in anticipation of headliners Queensryche.

Coincidentally, we last caught up with Queensryche on MegaCruise as well and were delighted to find such a talent-packed line-up making it’s way through town for a Valentine’s Day treat.

Then, after much anticipation, as they continue on nearly a year later in celebration of their latest release of The Verdict which dropped last March, Queensryche, covered a catalog of favorites dating back to Rage for Order like “Walk in the Shadows” and “Screaming in Digital” to “Light-years,” Dark Reverie,” and “Bent,” from the Verdict album, songs I’ve recently added in heavy rotation in my current playlist (and I’d encourage you to do the same).

While I wish I could say that last year’s interview with Todd LaTorre was informative and enough to convince you to grab the disc or download, I believe you’ll find it humous if anything as sleep deprivation on the 2019 Monsters of Rock Cruise took over and gave me the new policy of never trying to squeeze in interviews onboard (and to  focus instead on photography which doesn’t require silence and coherent thought)…

While I’ve caught these guys everywhere from the high seas to Harley festivals in the past year, they typically can be found playing the Rex Theater when traveling through Pittsburgh.  This newly restored Roxian Theater was the perfect upgrade for Queensryche with killer lighting, lots of room,  great sound, and finally a glimpse of drummer Casey Grillo from the balcony!

Also notable, we got to hear more from Operation: Mindcrime now that Geoff Tate can be found performing Rage for Order and Empire in his live set.  This time, Queensryche’s coverage of Mindcrime included the album’s namesake, “The Needle Lies,” and as always “Eyes of a Stranger” with that killer “Anarchy X” outro that I love to hear (but hate to hear because it means that the show is over)…Sadly, neither band performed “Suite Sister Mary” this time around…However, our favorites from Empire including “Silent Lucidity,” “Jet City Woman,” and the title track still found their way into the set list along with some older favorites like “Queen of the Reich” and “Take Hold of the Fame.”

So excited to find these guys in residence this summer: Scorpions “Sin City Nights” with Special Guest Queensryche in Las Vegas, in addition to their return to the Monsters of Rock Cruise along with headliner Alice Cooper next February.

Follow us @ThePureRockShop for more pure rock coverage including our Monsters of Rock Cruise 2020 recap as well as upcoming shows from Geoff Tate at Jergel’s, DragonForce at the Roxian Theater, Lynch Mob and Beasto Blanco both at Crafthouse, BLE Ballroom Blitz featuring Last in Line and Beasto Blanco and more in Maryland, The Quireboys at the Hard Rock Cafe and KIX at the Lamp Theater.