Geoff Tate / Operation Mindcrime: A Masterpiece Revisited Live in London

As a music journalist, I’m often asked which album is my favourite. Hand on heart, it is Operation Mindcrime by Queensrÿche, which is now an incredible 35 years old and still as relevant as ever. When we at the Metaltalk HQ discovered original singer and founder Geoff Tate would be performing this album in its entirety, we were most excited to cover this gig.

Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime    

The Garage, London – 18 June 2023

Words: Sara Harding

Photography: Steve Ritchie

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Fast forward to a really hot, absolutely packed Garage on a Sunday night, and it’s time to witness Tate with his current lineup performing what most rock fans hail as the best ‘concept’ album ever from start to finish.

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

As the lights went down, the crowd roared in anticipation. Now if you live in a box and have never heard Queensrÿche and the album Operation Mindcrime, it is a masterpiece in concept albums regaling a whole story set to music with actors, sound effects and everything you need to tell a whole musical saga.   

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

We hear the first sound effects of Anarchy X, the opening track of Operation Mindcrime. This is set in a hospital with a nurse paging a certain Doctor Blair, who promptly turns up with a big needle stating, “Sweet dreams, bastard,” to their patient. 

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

His latest four-piece band are super skilled and matched sublimely with the mighty pipes of Tate. Hat-wearing guitarist James Brown, bassist Jack Ross, guitarist Amaury Altmayer and drummer Danny Laverde strut on stage and builds the scene musically.

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

And then the magical moment arrives, Geoff Tate steams on stage with seriously sexy sunglasses and muscles galore. The maestro is back in business and singing pitch perfect. The crowd literally scream and cheers, raising devil horns and bursting into song. We all know every word to every track.  

And just like that, Tate takes us through Operation Mindcrime. The sound is phenomenal – huge kudos to the engineer and the venue itself, as you could really hear all the stereo effects, and Tate’s voice is simply sensational.

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Revolution Calling is up next and is another trailblazing song, packed with anthemic riffs and lyrics telling us more about the journey of Dr X. In an exclusive chat with Metaltalk about this legendary album, Tate said, “I lived in Montreal where I frequented a certain bar. There was a lot of talk about political unrest there. I often listened to the locals chatting about this sinister leader who inspired the idea for Doctor X. I sat down, ordered some drinks and made up the whole “.  

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

And what a story it is as we head into the title track Operation Mindcrime where there’s a hitman working overtime. The word ‘epic’ is often overused but is well deserved for the man who has written some of the most iconic rock songs over the years.  

Revolution Calling and the whole audience chants with fists in the air as Geoff masterfully leads us to get involved, which we all do. At this point, the band take it up a notch, and Tate is clearly enjoying the musicianship of the group he has put together for this tour. The aural journey continues with Speak, Spreading The Disease and The Mission.  

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Geoff is clearly in character, and there is no chit-chat between each song. It’s track after track, and these songs do not need any introduction. Soon we are into one of the greatest and most dramatic songs ever written, Suite Sister Mary. Geoff introduces vocalist “my, angel”, Emily Tate, onto the stage, and she sings and plays her role as the fallen nun perfectly. The male fans in the crowd singing Tate’s powerhouse parts, and us gals singing Sister Mary’s vocals. This was a true goosebumps moment.

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

As I looked around at this totally sold-out crowd, it was just amazing to see fans old and new enjoying this incredible concept setlist. Thirty-five years is a long time in an album’s life, but these songs are clearly as poignant to the gorgeous young student crowd as the older T-shirt-wearing gents. 

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Clearly blown away by the audience’s response, Geoff finally says, “Hello and welcome to the London gig.” He shouts out, ‘One question for ya? Shall we continue?” Hell, yes, the audience cry! Then straight into The Needle Lies, followed by Electric Requiem. With a band as tight as his gorgeous denim waistcoat, it’s into the crowdpleasers, Breaking the Silence into I Don’t Believe in Love.

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Waiting for 22 and Empty Room keep us pumping our fists, and then it’s time for the big crescendo, the ending of the story of Doctor X with Eyes Of A Stranger and Anarchy X.

If we weren’t all standing already, we would be giving this band of Ryche a standing ovation! As we all scream for an encore, Geoff teases us. “Well, that was nice,” he says. “Let’s do it all night. How about a song from 1990?”. He introduces Silent Lucidity, hailed as the anthem most rock babies were made to.  

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Then it’s into four deep cuts of Queensrÿche classics – Empire, Take Hold, Jet City, finishing with Queens Of The Reich. 

A stunning set celebrating one of the best albums ever, and I feel so proud to have been there with all my friends and fellow fans. 

Geoff Tate - Operation Mindcrime The Garage - 18 June 2023
Geoff Tate – Operation Mindcrime The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Random fact – Robbie Williams is a huge fan of Geoff Tate and his insane vocal techniques. Right, I’m sweating, and I’m knackered, so it’s time for a pint of wine – Very likely Geoff’s own vintage vino entitled Insania, and relive this epic gig. 

Daxx & Roxane - The Garage - 18 June 2023
Daxx & Roxane – The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Supporting Tate were two very talented bands. Kicking off the evening were Serpico, a four-piece proggy rock band who warmed up the audience nicely with a short but seriously polished set. 

Up next and full of swagger, we witness Daxx & Roxane. Not a duo as the band name would suggest but a four-man hairy combo full of swagger and rock anthems.

Daxx & Roxane - The Garage - 18 June 2023
Daxx & Roxane – The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

They blasted out some amazingly good classic rock with killer harmonica solos and rock ‘n’ roll stage antics, and these dudes are a band to watch out for.

Daxx & Roxane - The Garage - 18 June 2023
Daxx & Roxane – The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Serpico - The Garage - 18 June 2023
Serpico – The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Brian Taylor
Serpico - The Garage - 18 June 2023
Serpico – The Garage – 18 June 2023. Photo: Brian Taylor

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