When Queensryche singed to Sanctuary in 2001, their debut record for the label was the excellent double live album, Live Evolution. Recorded in the band's native Seattle, Live Evolution was a worthy step down memory lane as it presented the highlights of the first two decades of their career. Their current live offering, The Art Of Live – both the DVD and album - takes a different, but perhaps more admirable and challenging, route as it focuses on mostly new material.
Queensryche were formed in 1981 by singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, plus bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield. They could have been British as they sounded more appropriate alongside UK heavy metal bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon than the prog-rock bands of the 70's who were their influences.
Contrary to metal's overblown demise and the emergence of the monumental Grunge scene in the early '90s, Queensryche managed to retain a robust cult following and loyal fan base whose obvious enthusiasm and passion for the band is shown in full thrust on this DVD.
Queensryche show that there is a glow of hope after the resignation of De Garmo in the late '90s, as new guitarist Mike Stone fits the awkward keyhole perfectly, unlike his predecessor Kelly Gray who failed to meld comfortably with the 'Ryche's heavy-prog metal sound.
What is noticeable when concentrating on the set list is that almost every Queensryche album – apart from Queensryche, Rage For Order and Q2K – are represented here, yet The Art Of Live still manages to look to the future and be convincing without getting stuck in the habit of prioritising on dusty old tracks.
That's not a bad thing, but with the talent and sturdy musicianship that Queensryche blatantly have, it would be a shame if they spent their shows simply regurgitating their hit songs – which cannot be said about other veteran rock bands, Gene Simmons please take note.
The first six tracks of The Art Of Live are taken from last years so-so Tribe record, while more familiar tracks like Best I Can showcase their exhilarating CV and are played with blood dripping gusto. A particular highlight of the gig is an acoustic set featuring Rhythm Of Hope, My Global Mind and Roads To Madness.
Another notable facet of the gig isn't the set list, but rather the band themselves and their on stage chemistry. Geoff Tate's voice is simply in fine shape, as are the rest of the band who play with similar ear-splitting wrath.
The DVD experiments with picture performance as the primary colours have been filtered out and replaced with a sort of grainy beige picture (or perhaps that's my DVD machine.) As for the extras, well there is nothing here to wet yourself about, being a lazy picture gallery and three short pieces featuring band interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses. That's not a problem though as fans will relish seeing another superb performance from the band.