I’ve always been a big QR fan, ever since I used to walk to school with “Eyes of a Stranger” blaring on my headphones. I’ve been lucky to see them several times and actually meet them after a show (of which this was the only picture anyone in the band actually smiled).
I’ve also let it be known before that I thought Chris DeGarmo was the absolute heart and soul of this band and it’s music. If you pick up their latest studio release, it’s clear which songs Chris came in to write and which ones he had nothing to do with.
But now QR is on tour again, doing another tour of America; this time with “actors, props, and a play” based on their 1988 multi-platinum concept album “Operation:Mindcrime”. When I first read about this (which was today, based on hearing a few songs from Tribe on my playlist and wondering what they were doing), the only thing that went through my mind was a quote from Tommy Shaw regarding the “Kilroy Was Here” tour for Styx in 1983.
Some background on that tour. Styx was riding the coattails of one of their most popular albums and released “Kilroy” and planned a huge world tour. But what Dennis DeYoung planned for THEIR tour involved “actors, props, and a play” based on their multi-platinum concept album. Sound familiar?
Anyhow, getting back to the quote from Tommy Shaw. He was on Behind the Music and was talking about the total abject failure this tour was because of not only the cost, but how pissed off their fanbase was to be forced to listen to 20 minutes of theater. To top things off, the last show of the tour took place during a huge festival in Dallas and Styx was the last act of the night. The crowd was ready for a great show and Tommy Shaw, knowing he had to go out and do 20 minutes of “Shakespeare-lite” thought “I have to go out on stage and say ‘But Kilroy, what about the children’. I thought ‘I’m gonna die in Texas’.” Apparently the play went on and for twenty minutes the crowd booed while Dennis DeYoung lived out his theater ego trip. This was punctuated at the end by a long line of cars leaving the stadium during the Styx show. So I hope for QRs sake the tour does well, but obviously history is NOT on their side.
Oh, and now QR is planning on Operation:Mindcrime II. In the last story (spolier alert for those of you frozen in carbonite since 1988) Sister Mary was killed and the police arrested their “suspect” who was setup by evil guy who was the real murderer. Unless they are planning an entire concept album around a “trial/catching the guy/getting raped in prison by some guy named Bubba”, I think the story itself really can’t play out anymore than what it has.
Oh well, back to work. Nice way to spend my lunch writing about this on the wifey’s birthday. 🙂
Update: After a chat with Derek I will say that only one example doesn’t exactly show a history of failure. Right now, I can’t think of too many “concept album” tours that did the whole “actors, props, and a play” thingy besides the Styx tour. While the reviews are somewhat glowing about the shows, glowing reviews ≠ profits. Neither do “uber-fan” reviews on the message boards compared to guys who only go to the show after saying “Hey, Queensryche is in town”.