I’ve been to hundreds of shows and have enjoyed many a concert, but what I just witnessed at the Baltimore Soundstage was as close to perfection as it can come. Queensryche, Armored Saint, and new symphonic rockers Midnight Eternal flew into Charm City and left us a present like Santa; a kick-ass three hour plus sold-out show.
First up was Midnight Eternal. Discovering these guys earlier in the year, these New York City newcomers were more than impressive. Thirty minutes was nowhere near enough time for these guys. I so wanted to hear more from them. Lead singer Raine Hilai’s voice is simply stellar and more than compliments the band, guitarist Richard Fischer, bassist Greg Manning, and drummer Daniel Prestup (who I spoke to briefly at the end of the night, telling him I enjoyed their show). “Signs of Fire” and “When Love and Faith Collide” were two of my favorites of the night. I hope this band comes around here again.
Next up were vets Armored Saint. You wanted power? You got it and then some. Now this band had not come through here since 1991. I knew this because I was at that show at Hammerjacks which, ironically, lead singer John Bush told the crowd. Now Armored Saint have the privilege of being the only band to blow out my eardrums at any show that I’ve been to. It happened during the first song of the night,”Reign of Fire,” at that 1991 show. Luckily, that did not happen when they played it this time, and with the exact same band line-up. “Win Hands Down,” the title track off of their new album by the same name, led off their set.”March of the Saint,” was second, and the crowd roared. Roared I tell you! Everyone there fist pumped to EVERY song. “Can U Deliver,” my personal favorite, was played just like on the 1984 album March of the Saint. You can see fan footage of this song also on Shockwave’s Facebook page for a small taste of their power. I was actually exhausted from seeing two great bands perform and I still had the headliner to go.
Waiting for Queensryche to come on, no one moved from their positions out in the crowd. You could feel the energy still from the first two bands. Then the projectors started showing the band members names along with the Queensryche symbol and the band came out and immediately went into “Guardian” off of the new album Condition Human. Wow. Just wow. I have seen Queensryche before, but never in a small club. The energy just radiated everywhere. “Operation Mindcrime” was followed by “Best I Can.” Todd La Torre never sounded better. No way this band misses Geoff Tate in my opinion. No way whatsoever. “Damaged” was next from Promised Land and I did not expect to hear that one. Guitarist Michael Wilton was just meticulous on guitar and it showed on that song. “The Mission,” “Silent Lucidity,” and “Empire” followed quickly after. La Torre then thanked the crowd and hoped everyone was having a great time before asking if anyone remembered 1984. “Queen of the Reich” and “Take Hold of the Flame” were then played and pretty much brought the venue to its knees. This was becoming one of the greatest shows I have ever seen period now. “Eyes of a Stranger” ended the night as it usually does with Queensryche shows and the crowd applauded until the band completely left the stage. The band will be entering the studio in the beginning of 2017 to start album number three since Tate’s departure and I unfortunately have to wait until they tour again for my next Queensryche fix.