The lead singer of progressive metal band Queensrÿche, Geoff Tate is among the most esteemed metal vocalists of all time. He rose to prominence along with the band – an outfit that, since its inception in 1981, has sold over 20 million albums worldwide and performed in over 22 countries. Although the band's first three albums (Queensrÿche EP (1983), The Warning (1984), and Rage for Order (1986)) hit Gold status, it was the release of the landmark concept album Operation: Mindcrime in 1988 that thrust Queensrÿche into the rock limelight, thanks in large part to Tate's peerless vocal contributions. The 1990 follow-up Empire yielded the Grammy-nominated ballad "Silent Lucidity," and the ensuing two decades found the band touring extensively and continuing to release well-received albums, including Promised Land (1994), Tribe (2003), and Operation: Mindcrime II (2006).

In the midst of Queensrÿche's success, Tate took time to record a solo album in the early '00s. When most musicians record solo albums, it's because they need an outlet for material that doesn't fit the scope of their band. That wasn't the case with Tate – the difference for him lay in the expression of his songs, and how they actually came to fruition. "The problem when you're in a creative environment is keeping things fresh and invigorating, and after working with the same people for 20 years, it gets very difficult. You walk into the room, and everybody knows what everybody is going to do," he explains. "What's nice about doing a side project with new people is that it's a whole new breed, and a bunch of new ideas. It takes on a whole new life." Tate's solo album, released in 2002, certainly reflects these sentiments. A decidedly non-metal album, its tracks range from almost dance-oriented pop with Spanish guitars to beautiful piano ballads.

Having released its latest album Dedicated to Chaos just last year, Queensrÿche shows no signs of slowing its creative output. Tate certainly doesn't either, both as the band's frontman and as an artist in his own right. Tonight at the Highline Ballroom, he brings a little of each of these worlds to the stage, performing Queensrÿche material and cuts from his own catalog in an acoustic setting.

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  • photo by Andy Batt -