"Metal with a mind" is the phrase that has been used to describe the music of Queensrÿche. Whether you are a fan of the '80s (its self-titled EP, "Operation: Mindcrime") the '90s ("Empire," "Hear in the Now Frontier") or the new millennium ("Q2K," "Tribe") its music continues to grow and change with each phase of the band members' lives.

The band has been criticized for these changes, yet if you look closely, you will realize the changes are a natural progression. It takes courage to go against the norm and express one's personal truth. Many of us respect this about Queensrÿche, including the industry people that support the group today.
 
Sadly, a large portion of the music industry has limited vision; all they see are dollar signs that come from the musical flavor of the moment. Some businessmen forget that it is bands like Queensrÿche that have afforded them this opportunity. To these people I say, "Wake up! Give your support to the truly gifted artists of the musical world!"


 
Queensrÿche—which has been nominated for several Grammy Awards in the past—has proven that it has staying power, regardless of the obstacles it has faced: a shift in musical trends, label changes, different lineups. Through it all, its music has continued to challenge our minds, touch our hearts and elevate us from moments of deep despair to euphoria.

After witnessing half a dozen or more performances through the years, Queensrÿche continues to bring a new twist to each tour, proving it is an act worth seeing time and time again. Known for his presence and vocal acrobatics, Geoff Tate commands the stage with an elegance and class that is unparalleled. Without a doubt Tate has one of the most recognized and phenomenal voices to grace the airwaves. Scott Rockenfield is a drummer's drummer, an innovator in the field in more ways than one: His brand of decorative percussion wraps attest to this, as well as his Grammy nominations as a solo artist. Eddie Jackson, the lord of the low end, is a brilliant bassist. He holds the course steady with finesse and style and keeps up with Rockenfield—a feat in itself. He is always in the groove and quite simply the best, period. Michael Wilton's gifts have shown so bright that he consistently proves his guitar god status. His intensity, coupled with his skillful playing, will undoubtedly place him alongside other guitar legends past and present.

The fans are thrilled that Chris DeGarmo is back, however limited his presence may be. The talent this man possesses could humble any artist. His style is very intricate and complicated, yet the listener is engulfed in the passion that flows from this enormously accomplished musician.

I would be remiss not to mention two very talented men who have shared the stage with Queensrÿche. Producer extraordinaire and longtime friend of the band, Kelly Gray made his mark just after the departure of DeGarmo, and Mike Stone now handles the road after Gray left the act. Stone is a welcome addition, bringing a versatility (slide guitar) and a genuine warmth that leaves you in awe since his skills and passion hold their own within this legendary band.

Tate has said, very eloquently, "Over the last 20-plus years, our music has afforded us the privilege to travel the world and make and meet so many friends. However, on this tour (Tribe), we are deeply saddened to see the troubled times and so many of our friends who are suffering and out of work. In troubled times it is music that soothes the soul and helps lift us up and motivates us to make the best of the situation. If only for a moment, come with us on this musical journey through time and raise your voices in song and set your spirit free!"
 
No truer words were ever spoken. As my heart pounded with every beat, my eyes filled with tears; I stood there knowing that my 20-plus-year dream to stand before Queensrÿche with camera in hand and photograph the band I respect and admire most paled in comparison to this moment as I looked into the crowd, then back to the band, and realized how privileged I was to share this moment that transcends pain and sorrow to absolute bliss of being lost in the music of Queensrÿche.
 
These men and their music make this world a better place to be, and I for one am eternally grateful.