PHOTOS + REVIEW — Queensrÿche w/ Marty Friedman at Jannus Live in St. Pete 2023

Queensrÿche w/ Marty Friedman • April 16, 2023 • Jannus Live — St. Petersburg, FL • Photos by Randy Cook —


Queensrÿche | April 16, 2023 | Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, FL

Queensrÿche stormed into the courtyard of Jannus Live on Sunday, April 16th, 2023 in support of their new CD Digital Noise Alliance which was released in October 2022. Even though the band is based out of the Northwest part of the country this had the feel of a hometown show as current lead singer, Todd La Torre, lives in the area and actually not too far away from my house. Queensrÿche sure did not have any issues packing the venue to near sold out capacity even with the show being on a Sunday evening. Opening the show for the heavy progressive metal giants are former Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman and classic metal band Trauma. We were in for quite the metal treat this evening as these three bands have ninety-five collective year of musical history between them.

My friend Joe and I arrived at the venue just after the doors opened, as I did not want to miss a single note of this great lineup that we had in store for us this evening. Trauma opened the show and the band is “…best known for having bassist Cliff Burton in its initial lineup, who would later leave the band to join Metallica ”. They had a very solid fan following as was evident by the mass of early arriving crowds who apparently had the same idea we did. We were treated to a six song set list and I thought their music was very crunchy, and very heavy! Just the way I like it! Lead vocalist Brian Allen has amazing vocal range – I thought to the point where his range is not angry enough for the exercise my neck was getting from the heaviness my ears were hearing. They warmed up the crowd quite effectively and I now have another band I need to go back and listen to their discography as I was unfamiliar with their music ahead of time but I really liked what I heard.

I had no idea Marty Friedman was as much of a showman on stage as I witnessed at this show. Sure, I was familiar with his work as the guitarist of Megadeth but really had not followed any of his solo works since then. I was amazed to read that he had an extensive solo discography as well as playing on releases from many other artists. His band played a seven song set list including a Megadeth cover (Tornado of Souls). He is an amazing axe man, his fingers so effortlessly dancing over the frets and I thought his drummer was the most photogenic drummer I have ever seen and I got some amazing shots of his facial expressions. He made the entire crowd laugh as one when as he was introducing his band mentioned that he had smoked so much pot he almost forgot to introduce one of the band members. One thing he did not want to forget was that with this being the last night of a six-week tour, he brought his guitar tech up to play a song out of appreciation for all of his hard work. They closed out to a rousing applause from the crowd and we were now thoroughly primed and ready for the main event.

Queensrÿche hit the stage at 9:30 with a fury to a very raucous and ready crowd. I have been a fan of and following this band since my high school days in the mid-1980s and had to give grief to a friend who did not want to go because it is not the original lead singer. I was like, really? Dude, name a band that has been around as long as they have who still has all original members – it is about the music and the camaraderie of enjoying live music with your friends. Sadly I could not persuade him to go and it was 100% his loss because Queensrÿche put on a magnificent performance.

This iconic heavy metal band has been entertaining fans for over four decades, and the performance that I saw proves they still have the power to deliver an unforgettable show. One thing I really liked about this show was how it felt like it was a fresh set list. With four songs from the new album in the mix, the new songs showcase the band’s continued evolution with complex musical arrangements and introspective lyrics throughout their entire discography. The rest of the set list had songs from five of their other studio albums and their EP release as well. This was my tenth time seeing Queensrÿche, in which I have seen just about every iteration of the band over the years. It was something of a hometown show for the band as drummer Casey Grillo is from Tampa and lead singer Todd la Torre not only is a St. Petersburg, FL native but he lives sort of close to me and I see him at the local pizza place now and again when the band is not touring. Speaking of those complex musical arrangements, it is absolute magic to the ears to have guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone standing side by side, trading off riffs and shredding solos right before my eyes literally maybe four feet away from down in the photo pit.

In between songs, Todd addressed his hometown crowd saying he knew there were some “Warhawks” in the crowd referencing his high school days at Seminole High School. This immediately brought me back to being a Senior in high school, not too far away from where Todd was referencing. My friends and I were skipping school, smoking weed and listening to an early version of ‘Operation: Mindcrime’. Being thirty seven years ago I do not recall all of the details, but I specifically recall that I would skip Geometry class while my friends had lunch. One of the guys in our group had a dad that was someone in the music business and he scored an early copy. The only real thing I remember is how killer it was and I have been a fan of the band ever since. I also remember failing Geometry because I skipped eighty seven of the ninety day semester as it was way more fun to hang with my friends then go to class.

Back to here and now, or at least the night of the show, Todd also mentioned how it was the last night and show of their tour, which started in Florida (Orlando) and was closing out this evening. He said it had been a fun and interesting six weeks and he expressed how much he, and the other members of Queensrÿche appreciated the love that we in attendance this evening and other crowds have shown to the opening bands each night. As much as I recommend not missing any of these bands if they come to a town near you, it will have to be on each of the band’s next announced tour. It was a great night of good friends, incredible live music in a beautiful open air courtyard.

I will also be seeing Queensrÿche on the upcoming 2023 Monsters of Rock Cruise departing on April 29th, 2023 and I am looking forward to hearing them kick ass on the high seas.

Behind the Walls
Don’t Look Back
Child of Fire
En Force
Spreading the Disease
In Extremis
Jet City Woman
My Empty Room
Eyes of a Stranger
Queen of the Reich
Roads to Madness

Queensrÿche Live Review by Randy Cook /// @horns_raised

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