Queensrÿche and John 5 live in Orlando, FL, 2020

For a band to last thirty plus years, they have to be doing something right. Progressive metal pioneers Queensrÿche have been turning out album after album since their formation in the early eighties. With Grammy Award nominations under their belts, as well as platinum selling hit records, including one of the greatest concept albums of all time “Operation Mindcrime”, they continue to put out great music to this day in spite of well known line up changes. In the spring of 2019, they released their latest effort “The Verdict”. Of course, with a new album means a new tour. For this tour, they are hitting the road with John 5 and Eve To Adam.
Queensrÿche and John 5 Tour 2020 poster
First up to take the stage at The Plaza Live in downtown Orlando was somewhat of a home state band, Eve To Adam. Having formed in Florida in the late nineties and playing many of the state’s rock venues they were no stranger to many in the crowd. When they hit the stage, there was no theatrics or drama. They came out with a purpose to rock out, and that’s exactly what they did.
Lead singer Taki Sassaris was all business and sounded great as did the rest of the band. Whether they were playing “Locked and Loaded” or “No Easy Way Out” or any other song on their set list, the results were the same; the fans loved it. As this was the last night of the tour, you know someone had to be pranked, and Eve To Adam were the recipients. Two of the road crew came out during the last song dressed in short shorts and Eve To Adam t-shirts that were tied up into belly shirts, with John 5 masks on. They ran around the stage holding a homemade sign saying, “Someone has to pay the f*cking price”. Watching the band trying not to crack up during this was loads of fun, an added bonus to the night.
After a brief change over, the stage looked like something out of a fun house with inflatable entrances on either side of the stage. Behind the drum kit hung a giant banner with John 5 emblazoned it. With a setup like that, you knew what was coming up was going to be special. Having been the side man for Marilyn Manson and currently Rob Zombie, John 5 has rightfully become one of the guitar greats of our time.
As his band hit the stage first, he came out last wearing his trademark garb of a long flowing silver and black robe with the number 5 on it, and of course his trademark face paint. Armed with his trusty telecaster guitar, he ripped right into “Crank It – Living with Ghosts”. He quickly followed it up with “Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers from Hell”. For those that weren’t familiar with him, they were getting a college level education on just exactly who he is and how good a guitar player he is. At one point during the show, he took a second to ask everyone if they were having a good time. He then looked up at the balcony and pointed to everyone and said he was going to get everyone up there on their feet.
Besides being an incredible guitarist, he also has quite a bit of showmanship in him. Tonight, he pulled out all the stops. To the delight of the crowd he had giant balls tossed out into the audience for people to bat around. As they came back to the stage, he would manage to pop them with his guitar without missing a note. He also performed one of his songs with a lit up mouthpiece that made for a really cool visual effect.
Of course, he also had a guitar that was completely lit up too. He even had crew members dressed as aliens running around on stage too. For his last song of the night, he played a medley of some of the greatest guitar riffs of all time. He started out with “Limelight” and “Fly By Night” as a tribute to Rush. He quickly transitioned into two songs he was far more familiar with, “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “The Beautiful People”. He played riffs from “Spoonman”, “Dr. Feelgood”, “Unchained”, “I’m Broken”, “Walk” just to name a few. It was an amazing display of musicianship and the fans were cheering wildly with each part they recognized. It was a perfect ending to his part of the show.
While Queensrÿche featured much of their material from across their career, they also have a new album chock full of great songs. With a sound that harkens back to their early days, their new material has more of an edge to it. The first song they played from “The Verdict” was “Man the Machine”. There was no denying that everyone was digging the new music. Three more times they rang the bell from their latest effort, with “Bent”, “Dark Reverie”, and “Light Years” answering the call. Each song they played was met with an enthusiastic response from everyone there. While they may have written some of the heaviest songs in a long time, they sounded great and fit in well with all of their other songs.
After a brief well deserved breather, along with the crowd clamoring for more, the guys came back on stage to give their fans the last bit of music for the night. Just like the rest of the night, they decided to mix things up for the encore. They kicked it off with another trip back to “The Warning” album and played “No Sanctuary”. Then they fast forwarded to a cut off of “The Verdict” “Light Years”. If there was questions in anyone’s mind as to whether Todd La Torre belonged as the voice of Queensrÿche, his performance of this song was stellar. As with any great concert, the band ends the night with their biggest songs. Tonight, would be no different. They ended the evening with some of the biggest hits of their amazing career “Empire”, and “Eyes of a Stranger”.
It’s not often that such a complete concert comes along. Every band gave it their all and sounded great in the process. From the rocking energy and passion that Eve To Adam brought to the sage, to the insane guitar wizardry that John 5 displayed they showed that they are more than capable of carrying a rock n roll concert. But it was Queensrÿche that showed everyone that time and a lineup change did nothing to their ability to play some of the fiercest music out there. While this tour may have ended, eventually they will be back on the road. So, in the meantime, get your copy of “The Verdict”, crank it up, and get ready for their next tour.