As soon as I saw this CD on the music store I had no doubt at all: I had to buy it!
A little regression...
I've always liked Queensryche and in particular, the concept album, Operation Mindcrime was one of my favorites ever. The live they recorded during the Empire tour, Operation Livecrime, when they perform the whole album, is even better than the studio version: so rich of sounds and so filled with energy. The video version of Operation Livecrime is a masterpiece and I enjoy seeing it over and over again: the band is sooo cool, and the moment Pamela Moore enters the stage, performing Sister Mary is emotional!
In my opinion, that was the time the band was at its best. Actually, I still prefer Operation Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land to their previous works (which sounded too heavy metal for me).
I was disappointed by this band when they released, after Promised Land (which was kind of experimental in some sense), Hear in the New Frontier... I still can't listen to that record, I can't stand it... the sound turned to Grunge, which I hate :-) That was not the Queensryche I was used to.
That record is also sad since it represents the last album before Chris De Garmo left the band. Chris was a great guitarist, a great vocalist (his background vocals were great!) and last, but not least, a great composer. Together with the singer Geoff Tate, he wrote the most beautiful songs of Queensryche.
Then, comes Q2k, which I didn't even buy: I was too disappointed by the previous record, and without Chris... well... it's not Queensryche anymore. I listened to it later... well... it's not that bad, but I didn't like it either.
Then, Tribe, where Chris rejoined the band for some songs... I bought that one, and I didn't mind it; I didn't love it either, but I can listen to it.
Finally, Operation Mindcrime II! It is no competition with the original Operation Mindcrime but it had some nice songs and the concept was still appealing.
Summarizing, I was really curious about hearing the live version of both Operation Mindcrime and Operation Mindcrime II!
Well... I was disappointed again, about the performance of Operation Mindcrime I. Needless to say: I miss Chris... the recording doesn't sound the same... Actually it sounds worse. I definitely don't like the new guitarist, Mike Stone, I don't like his touch, I don't like his sound. Micheal Wilton is still great but without Chris... Geoff doesn't have that voice anymore and in many high parts he changes the melody lowering down. He's still a great singer, though, and his vocals are nice anyway. But, again... without Chris... :-)
Even the way they rearranged some songs does not convince me much.
I must admit, on the contrary, that the performance of Operation Mindcrime II is far better; probably the band is more comfortable with the new material and they do a good job. I also appreciated the songs much more.
The encores: Walk in the Shadows and (one of my favorite, from Empire) Jet City Woman; needless to say, I was disappointed by the version of Jet City Woman... even the intro theme is not played correctly!
Well... I don't regret buying the cd, but I could do without it ;-)
Still, I'd really love to see this band live again! I saw them live in Milan during the Promised Land tour, and at the Gods of Metal, before Tribe was coming out; in the latter live they only played 30 minutes, which was really a pity... if only Chris rejoined the band! :-)