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Queensrÿche singer still hits the high notes

Tate brings own band to Wabash on Nov. 18


Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published November 10, 2021

After having recorded twelve studio albums with Queensrÿche, 2012 was a turning point for Geoff Tate.

He split with the band and started his own project under the name of Operation: Mindcrime. With that band, Tate released a trilogy of albums between 2015 and 2017.

Now, with another new supporting cast in tow and simply performing under the name of Geoff Tate, the legendary singer stops by the Eagles Theatre in Wabash on Nov. 18.

Performing the Classics

Tate and company are on the road for the remainder of the year performing the classic Queensrÿche albums Rage for Order and Empire, both in their entirety. The albums bookend the iconic concept album Operation: Mindcrime and are often thought of as the beginning and the ending to Queensrÿche’s prime recording years.

Because of their importance to his own career, Tate wanted to finally pay proper homage to both albums.

“We started this tour in 2020 for the 30th anniversary of Empire,” Tate said in an interview with Whatzup. “Of course, everything got shut down, so we thought we’d bring back that show and continue it on and finish it out through this year.”

When asked to look back on Rage for Order, released in 1986, Tate said the album was a pretty significant album for its time.

“I think it was really the first album that Queensrÿche did where we became Queensrÿche,” he said. “It really set us apart and made a name for us.”

Rage for Order was a very futuristic album, Tate said, and very unique for the fact that the band manufactured a lot of the sounds on the record.

“We took things that weren’t necessarily musical instruments and turned them into musical instruments,” Tate said. “We sampled different sounds that were recorded and sounds of nature and turned them into playable notes. It was quite adventurous for its time and simply said, we are playing it because I really wanted to finally play it. It’s something that’s been on my bucket list of things to do, so I’m taking advantage of that right now and really enjoying it.”

Empire came out in 1990 and was the most successful album Queensrÿche ever released, selling more than three million copies.

“It had a lot of songs that ended up translating well to radio and MTV,” Tate said, “and that was the album that had a lot of exposure to millions of people. That resulted in a significant change in all of our lifestyles within the band. Having a commercial hit like that kind of puts you in a different frame of mind and a different economic status. It was a lot of change at that point.”

Singing the High Notes

Social media has become a common destination for rock enthusiasts who want to discuss which ’80s front men still remain vocally competent and which can no longer hit the notes they used to hit with ease.

Tate, considered one of the top vocalists of that generation, is often included as a subject of these discussions because the songs he sings were challenging then and would be a challenge for any vocalist today.

Tate recognizes the complexity of some of these songs and the problems they could present, but welcomes the high he gets from pulling them off.

“There’s two off the Rage for Order album that are very challenging,” Tate said. “I actually look forward to those every night because there’s such a rush when I sing them, like what I think an athlete feels when they push themselves physically. You get that same feeling as a singer when you are pushing yourself to the physical limits of your capabilities. I like that feeling. I’m kind of addicted to it.”

Finding the Talent

Tate said the makeup of his current band changes from time to time, depending on where he is touring.

The supporting cast on this tour boasts a couple of international musicians: guitarist Keiran Robertson and bassist Jack Ross from Scotland, drummer Danny Leverde from Cincinnati, and guitarist Alex Hart from Boston.

“It’s a really, really good band of great players,” Tate said. “I’m fortunate to have found them all and that they gel, as well.”

If you go to the show, Tate says you can count on incredible sound and an amazing visual experience.

“We’ve got an amazing light show designed by Sam Raphael, who has been with me off and on for 30 years,” Tate said. “He started his career with me on the first Operation: Mindcrime tour back in the ’80s. Mike Meyer, my sound man, again from the Queensrÿche days, is known for his impeccable sound.

“It’s going to be an accurate depiction of those two records, Rage for Order and Empire, performed by a band who loves playing it. My band is so into every note and playing it exactly like the record. It’s got a vibe to it. They play it precisely, but they also give it their own kind of energy that, I guess, only young people can muster because all of them are very young and enthusiastic. That’s a good thing for me. It keeps me on my toes.”

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