Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on November 6th, 2011
Somewhere between Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd lies Queensryche’s concept albums Operation Mindcrime parts one and two. Part One was released in 1988 and has since been heralded by many as one of the finest heavy metal albums (concept or otherwise) of all time. The sequel arrived in 2006. This concert film is from the subsequent tour that featured the band playing both albums in their entirety, back to back, with actors, animations, and an elaborate stage setup to perform this rock opera.
The plot follows a man who has been coerced into become an assassin of political figures. The sequel is a revenge story after he is jailed for his actions. A small team of actors fill in the roles that lead singer Geoff Tate does not.
Along with telling the story through various theatrics, the band has included stylish elements to the rock show side of things. The most conspicuous being the Seattle Seahawks’ drum-line squad to filling the stage, bookending the show and adding to the already enormous sound. This was a special occurrence for the film since this film happens to be a recording of their hometown show from the tour.
The band’s performance is suspiciously polished, especially that of Tate, whose singing looks synced at many points, and these suspicioins only rise when he exchanges a headset microphone for a hand held and suddenly things seem more natural. It is hard to tell if said syncing occurred only for the Film release (many bands add layers or fine tune their sounds when producing live albums or videos) or if the audience at the actual concert where experiencing a singer performing to a tape. Frankly, it matters little in a show like this where the acting overshadows the musical performance at most points. That, and the band proves themselves to be more than capable players when it comes time to solo or just rock out some heavy riffs so whether they are part of any pre-recording or post-production editing is of little significance.
The show consists of two entire albums so clearly it is a long production. Without a doubt, the original album is important for any heavy music fan and this manner of presenting feels closer to how it should be experienced. Both a film and a Broadway production are in negotiations, but in the meantime Mindcrime on the Moor shall be the definitive “mindcrime” experience.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The colours seem to be effected by the stage lights and look unnaturally drab at points. That in mind, this production does shake off many of the common troubles a concert film face when dealing with lighting that would work for both the camera and the live audience.
DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo are available. The songs and the acting portions are balanced well together.
Subtitles available in English, and French on the Special Features only.
Tour Documentary: Footage of the prep-work for this particular show, leading right up to the opening note of the concert. Not terribly in depth and a touch self-congratulatory but will be appreciated by fans.
“The Chase” Performed with Ronnie James Dio: Late Dio delivers a flawless guest appearance. Dio basically could take all metal vocalists to school right up to his final days. A true legend and a fine performance.
Queensryche Rock & Ride: Footage of the band’s wonderful charity work which consisted of a large scale motorcycle ride across America that ended up at a concert in Manhattan, raising money for VH1 Save The Music Foundation
The fact that this is the Blu Ray edition of this concert film only adds to the aformentioned truth that this shall stand as the definitive Mindcrime experience. Metal fans should take note if they haven’t already.