Judge Mike Rubino is guilty of some mind-misdemeanors.
Queensrÿche hit it big back in 1988 with its operatic concept album Operation: Mindcrime. Almost 20 years and a string of less successful albums later, the band released a sequel. Now see both albums performed in their entirety with the high-def re-release of the 2007 concert film, Mindcrime at the Moore.
Facts of the Case
Operation: Mindcrime chronicles a heroin addict and brainwashed assassin named Nikki. He's been drugged into working for a sinister overlord/religious zealot/shadowy fascist named Dr. X. The guy just has to say the word "mindcrime," and Nikki becomes a murderous puppet ready for a revolution. At some point, he meets a prostitute-turned-nun (this is the '80s, after all), named Sister Mary, who helps rehabilitate him. Together, they try and break free of Dr. X's drug-fueled grip.
Mindcrime at the Moore was filmed over a three night concert performance at The Moore Theatre in Seattle in October, 2006.
Queensrÿche: Mindcrime at the Moore is like a metalhead version of Les Miserables on PBS. This double-album concert is presented on stage with actors, choreography, a multi-tiered set, and video footage. It's bombastic, over the top, cheesy, and also kind of awesome.
Queensrÿche is no stranger to concert theatrics. After releasing the first Operation: Mindcrime in the '80s, they toured with a similar setup, performing the album in its entirety alongside animated sequences and staging with singer Pamela Moore as Sister Mary. Mindcrime at the Moore is a more epic endeavor. After a brief animated prelude, the band takes the stage alongside the Seattle Seahawks's drum line. It's a killer way to make an entrance as they launch into "Anarchy-X" and "Revolution Calling." From that point on, the band never stops to chat or take a break. Lead singer Geoff Tate marches from one song to the next, changing costumes, climbing around the set, and interacting with the various actors.
Tate is both the lead singer and "star" of the show. His voice is just as strong and soaring as it was in the '80s, with a range somewhere between Geddy Lee and Meatloaf. He's also an overly expressive, melodramatic actor. Tate's wild gestures and exhausting stage blocking work for a concert of this size. The interludes with Sister Mary, or the other actors, can get a little corny at times, but you can't really go into this thing expecting subtly. They're telling a story here, in grand fashion, that is both well-crafted and borderline facile.
Fans of Queensrÿche will generally agree that the first half of this concert film is going to be more enjoyable than the second. Operation: Mindcrime II, as an album, didn't meet with the highest of praise when it was released in 2006. It's a decent set of songs, and the band presents it with equal seriousness and skill in this concert film, but really doesn't hold a Zippo lighter to the first half.
As far as concert movies go, Queensrÿche: Mindcrime at the Moore (Blu-ray) is a little underwhelming considering the high-level production happening on stage. The camera work is decent, but some of the acting could have been framed better. What's more troubling, however, is the use of post-production typography. Like some weird karaoke feature, footage for a couple of the songs features gigantic, pixilated, lyrics overlaid on the screen. Maybe that works on the Jumbotron at the concert, but not in a high-def Blu-ray video. Otherwise, the video quality is great; the edges are crisp and the colors are vibrant in 1080i.
The Blu-ray's sound is a mixed bag. The DTS HD Master track and the Dolby 5.1 Surround are loud and clear, but the drumming occasionally gets lost in the mix. When the Seattle Seahawks march on at the beginning and end of the first act, I expected to be blown away—instead, the drumming just blends in with the rest of the band. The various Dr. X interludes and sound effects take full advantage of the rear speakers, and the rest of the instruments are mixed well through all of the channels. It doesn't sound bad, but they could have done a little more with the mix.
The disc also features a decent tour documentary, footage from Ronnie James Dio giving a cameo performance of "The Chase" at a staging of the concert in L.A., and clips from Queensrÿche's "Rock & Ride" fundraiser from VH1.
Queensrÿche: Mindcrime at the Moore is a solid concert film for any fan of metal. Sure it's a little cheesy and over the top, but what 1980s rock opera about drugs, brainwash, and prostitutes isn't?
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