Queensryche. It's pronounced "queens-rike," for those who didn’t know. OK, hands up if you’ve heard of them... Anyone? C'mon, there has to be at least one...
Anyway, this group is well known in America for their breed of heavy rock, at times bordering on the grunge side, yet at others bordering on the pop side. Made up of Geoff Tate (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar), Kelly Gray (rhythm guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums), Queensryche made it big with their hybrid genre of music.
This concert was filmed over two separate shows in the Moore Theatre in Seattle in 2001 for the specific purpose of making a dual CD and DVD release of their collected works from the past 20 years. The disc is divided up into four “suites”, which split up their catalogue of work into sizable chunks that you can listen to independently. The suites are:
- EP/Warning/Rage Suite
- MindCrime Suite
- Empire/Promised Land Suite
- HITNF/Q2K Suite
Also provided is a set list which is the running sheet of the concert. Playing options include watching the entire concert, or selecting a specific song through the set list. More specifically, the set list is:
- Roads to Madness
- The Lady Wore Black
- Screaming in Digital
- I Am I
- Silent Lucidity
- Jet City Woman
- Hit the Black
- Right Side of My Mind
- I Remember Now
- Revolution Calling
- Suite Sister Mary
- My Empty Room
- Eyes of a Stranger
- Take Hold of the Flame
- Queen of the Reich
Their music definitely isn’t for everyone, yet this grungy rock contains some of the most musical elements that this reviewer has heard in this genre of music. The rhythm guitar is pounding and the bass driving; the drums thrashing, the lead guitar articulately twanged and the vocals haunting, and all this adds up to form a tight 98 minute concert with incredibly intense lighting effects, perfect performances by the group and a lovingly devoted crowd. This storm in the Moore Theatre rocks into the night and allows fans to get a great look at this band.
Yet another Region 4 disc to carry the dreaded NTSC video format. Now let's say it all at once here... a simple three letters... P-A-L.
OK, NTSC bitch over now, lets get to it! The video is remarkable for a: a live concert and more importantly b: an NTSC transfer.
Colours appear fluorescent and, well, "live" to put no other word to it. Blues and reds dominate the lighting effects more often than not, resulting in some good testing of the mastering on the disc. Sadly, the video doesn't always pass this test. At one point, the blue lighting on the drum kit has been poorly mastered with barely any definition among the finer details of the kid, resulting in a blue blob rather than a defined drum kit (which even comes with its own drummer). Reds surprisingly survive better than the blues, with no cases of bleeding colours whatsoever. Due to the intensity of the lighting, shadow definition has sometimes been lost due to the dispersion of the light and the shininess of the sweaty forehead of Geoff Tate. I'd be hot and sweaty too if trying to pop a vein in my head like he does...
Blacks are reasonably black with very little low level noise. Very fine MPEG artefacts can be seen here and there, primarily on the walls and dimly lit backings. These are not distracting at all, yet visible when watching on a DVD-ROM drive. Film grain is not a problem at all, nor are any film artefacts.
The video is presented in a 16x9 enhanced aspect of approximately 1.85:1. This dual layered disc does have a layer change, but the flow of the concert isn't interrupted at all, so it has most probably been placed in between titles, rather than chapters. There are no subtitles provided on this disc.
There are two audio tracks to choose from - English 2.0 and English 5.1, both Dolby Digital. It is very rare when we can say that the 2.0 track is nicer to listen to than the 5.1 track. Oh my God, write this occasion down! Alright, enough melodrama for now as its not fitting to the grunge rock look trying to be conveyed with this butch subject matter... anyway...
The 5.1 track sounds reasonable, but it has very little lower frequency action, with barely any subwoofer activity. It sounds as if the lower end of the soundtrack has been cut off at the knees. Surround use is there, but it's very limited, and not as nice as it could have been for a live set. The sound has a very thin and echo-ey sound, which again could have been improved.
The 2.0 track has a much richer lower end, but lacks surround action. The bass is rich and appropriate, with a much clearer and defined sound of the vocals. The 2.0 track is the primary listening option due to its added clarity and rich bassiness.
For a music release, this disc is laden with extras, enough to keep fans occupied for about an hour. Upon loading we are graced with a 1.85:1 menu, which is not 16x9 enhanced. The menus look simply stunning, and many other design companies could learn a thing or two about menu construction from these. The 3D animation between pages is fitting and slick, and definitely one of the better looking menus I've seen on a music disc. Menus are easy to navigate through, with short 40-second audio clips as background music.
The Behind the Scenes featurette is brief, with a 3:21 duration, and is 16x9 enhanced. It just takes you backstage during set-up of the show.
The Interviews are lengthy and interesting to listen to, and are 16x9 enhanced with video surrounded by a patterned frame. The numbers in the brackets refer to the lengths of the clips. Interviews are with Geoff (14:37), Michael (7:35), Scott (7:55), Eddie (4:56) and Kelly (2:56).
The Biography is a seven page textual background of the band and gives insight into their history.
The Photo Gallery has 22 images of the band performing live on stage.
Also included are five web site addresses which you can either write down and manually type in, or place the disc in your DVD-ROM drive and open up Q.htm in the root of the disc to access. This is a basic HTML file with hyperlinks to the five sites, including ones for Queensryche, Sanctuary Records Group, Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton and a special Queensryche sub-site.
Four pages of Credits have been included, which give the credits for the show, rather than the disc as other releases often tend to.
The music won’t necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea, and even though at first listen it may just be random noise, there are strong melodies, harmonies and rhythms which make this group purveyors of bearable noise. The video is remarkable for a live concert, only let down by an NTSC transfer. The audio tracks are sufficient yet lacking in quality, and the extras are a welcome and generous addition.