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The House of Blues Anaheim was the setting for one of the most anticipated concerts in recent memory.  Currently, on their 2020 Verdict American Tour, the mighty Queensryche finally hit Southern California.  Supporting them on this go-around is John 5 and Eve to Adam.  This lineup had created a buzz for weeks leading up to the show, and frankly, the anticipation was killing me.  This night was sure to be a butt-kicker.

Opening the festivities was New York's own, Eve to Adam.  These guys stormed the stage and powered through a quick but impressive set.  When you get limited time on stage, you don't waste it and these guys definitely got that memo.  They put forth a tight group of tunes that damn near flattened the bill of my cap!  Tons of energy and volume on stage to accompany their straightforward relentless brand of metal, Eve to Adam didn't mess around. They came to make an impression and did so in fine fashion.

Next on the card, was the insanely talented John 5.  This guy has multiple solo albums to his credit and is also well known for his stints with powerhouses Rob Halford, Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth, and currently the lead guitarist with Rob Zombie.  It's easy to see that he brought with him to the stage a reputation as big as his show, uncorking one of the most engaging sets I've ever seen.  Visually and sonically off the charts, the band played a selection of tunes which teased industrial metal, country music, and of course, straight up in your face rock and roll.  Even a box of rocks could appreciate this talent. 

In addition to the ridiculous guitar work, we were treated to ghosts and ghouls, glow-in-the-dark teeth, face paint, and a giant bobble-head mascot of sorts moshed onto the stage which fired off a massive confetti-bomb into the crowd.  This put an exclamation point on the show but then reengaged to finish with a great medley of memorable rock riffs.  Worth the price of admission alone, these medleys are crowdpleasers in every sense of the word.  Now, I've seen him personally numerous times in the past with Rob Zombie, but in this setting where he can spread out and be himself, there's nothing else like it.  John 5 is undoubtedly one of the true guitar virtuosos of all time and routinely puts on a show like no other.  You'll stand mesmerized and satisfied at the end of a John 5 show, guaranteed.

With the crowd buzzing about the spectacle just seen, it was time for the reason we were all there. Queensryche.  I distinctly recall when I heard their initial release in 1983 and was utterly floored.  I can safely say this release was all I listened to for weeks on end and remember thinking this Seattle band is going to take the rock world by storm with their Iron Maiden-esque sound paired with a dash of dungeons and dragons mixed in.  An interestingly cerebral approach for the time, as many bands breaking onto the scene were focused on parties, girls, and beer.  Their next two albums still today rank among my all-time favorites, and I was very excited to see many songs from that era included on the set-list.

Right out of the chute, they pounded us with the classics "Prophecy" and "Operation Mindcrime" and it was apparent these guys were on point.  From the outset, Todd La Torre (vocals) again proved he can more than take care of the classics live.  He handily took ownership of the older stuff live and completely crushed crushed classics such as "Walk In The Shadows", "Resistance", "Take Hold Of The Flame" and "No Sanctuary".  I couldn't be more pleased with this set-list, and with the inclusion of new songs like "Bent" and "Dark Reverie" that landed right in my wheelhouse.  Just plain awesome.  As the night progressed, "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman" had the packed crowd singing along at the  top of their lungs.   When the band broke into "Screaming in Digital" and "Queen of the Ryche," it was all over.  You would have thought the roof was coming down.  The superb set-list indeed had something for everyone.

Having seen Queensryche many times over the decades, this show stands out.  They embraced all eras of the band and provided a mix of tunes that not only brought back many memories for me but created some new ones as well.  Queensryche is currently tearing up the U.S. right now, so drop what you're doing, look them up and see them immediately.  You will witness a professional-grade night of metal that you'll not soon forget.


John McAteer

Photojournalist - Orange County

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