[MUSIC INTERVIEW] GEOFF TATE 2023 Australian Tour Interview
Legendary vocalist GEOFF TATE is coming back to Australia after his highly successful shows performing Operation Mindcrime in its entirety back in pre-Covid 2020. This time, Aussie fans are in for a real treat, Geoff Tate and band will perform two classic QUEENSRŸCHE albums in their entirety, Rage For Order and Empire!
Stylistically the two albums couldn’t be further apart. Rage For Order was more progressive than the band’s previous releases, with a layered and complex musical structure that employed a two-guitar approach, but also brought keyboards forward in the mix. Lyrically, the album explored social/personal, political and technological themes, among others highlighting the dangers of artificial intelligence and government intrusion. Meanwhile, Empire is the fourth full-length studio album by Queensryche, released on August 20, 1990. The album stands as the band’s most commercially successful release, reaching triple-platinum status and the primary single, the power ballad Silent Lucidity, which reached number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Silent Lucidity was also nominated for the Grammy Awards of 1992 in the categories Best Rock Song and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
As I sit down to chat with Geoff about the tour I begin by asking him why he chose two so different albums to perform this time around. “Well we started off with the Empire 30th Anniversary tour,” he explains. “We started that in 2020 but it was cut short by the worldwide pandemic so we are now just catching up with all the places that had booked the show and we are actually in the final stages of that now.”
“And then I put Rage For Order in there because I just wanted to do,” he continues with a laugh. “You know I absolutely love that album and I have always wanted to play the whole thing. That is really selfish I know but I just want to do it.”
That makes me want to know more and I instantly ask what it was about Rage For Order that has made him so determined to play it whole live. “Well I never got to,” he says quickly. “Typically, what we do with each album release was we would pick one or two songs from that new album and then we would add to our existing set list and then you would move onto the next album that you made and you would do the same. So your setlist kept growing but you never really got a chance to play all the music.”
“But I have always wanted to play it in its entirety because I love every song on that record,” he continues. “Like I said it is completely a selfish decision and I am standing by it because I love it.”
That leads us both into exploring the notion of what makes it feel different for an artist when they are playing an album its entirety live rather than just playing a greatest hits show. “Yeah, it does feel different,” Geoff says after thinking for a moment. “There is always a certain ambience or a certain mood attached to it and so you get to hang in that mood for forty-five minutes or an hour. And the thing with this tour is that there is a stark contract between Empire and Rage For Order. They are two very different records and you really feel it when we take a short intermission between the two sets. When we come back and launch into Empire it is a different animal – not only does the band feel that but the audience feels it as well. It is pretty dramatic – the differences between the songs and the presentation and everything.”
As we talk we begin to delve into more of the differences between the two albums. “I think with Rage it is a much more serious album,” he explains. “It is somewhat tragic and melodramatic and I think that Empire is more up – a little bit lighter on the lyrical content. So, there is a pretty big difference.”
The talk of lyrics makes me wonder whether Geoff finds him being transported emotionally back to the time when he wrote them as he performs them live these days and he is quick to say that does happen to him “It does dredge up some stuff, yes,” he admits. “Now we have played a few of these shows though I don’t have the same gun-wrenching horror – that emotional landside that I did at the beginning. I find now that I can get through them without my voice shaking but yeah when we first started to perform some of the tracks from Rage I was like oh my God am I going to be able to do this – you know will I be able to get through these emotionally.”
“Just recently I played a show in Belfast Ireland,” he says continuing. “And the promoter really wanted us to play The Promised Land album in its entirety which we did and nothing prepared me for that. That was like an onslaught of heavy emotion playing that. There were times when I was tearing up and the audience was tearing up – we probably all needed therapy afterwards.”
Geoff Tate’s shows kick off on the 8th Feb so make sure you grab your tickets as soon as possible.