A Show Fit For The Gorge -- Queensryche Plans Elaborate Concert
by Patrick MacDonald
Promised Land

It might not be the Promised Land, but it's close.

Queensryche considers its Gorge show to be the most significant of its "Road to the Promised Land" tour. Not only is it in effect a "hometown" gig, it also is sure to have one of the biggest crowds yet for the elaborate, multimedia production.

"We're a little worried about the wind," guitarist/ songwriter Chris DeGarmo admitted over the phone from somewhere on the road. "We've got big screens and stuff and if the wind kicks up . . ."

He paused, perhaps conjuring visions of dust storms sweeping the Amphitheatre.

"But we're really looking forward to it," he went on, with the worry gone from his voice. "It's such a beautiful spot. Especially when the stars come out. I hope the stars will be out. . . ."

DeGarmo said the staging is clean, with minimal equipment. The stage itself changes shape several times. A film, projected onto two multiplex screens, chronicles the life of a central character, whose story is told through the music.

The set contains all of "Promised Land," the band's latest album, as well as songs from previous LPs.

Queensryche is often labeled heavy metal - "the thinking man's metal" is a favorite description - but the group plays its own brand of hard rock, full of drama and emotion, driven by Scott Rockenfield's drums and Eddie Jackson's bass, highlighted by lead singer Geoff Tate's powerful delivery and DeGarmo's and Michael Wilton's varied guitar work.

Metal is out of favor now and Queensryche not only saw "Promised Land" slide down the chart after debuting at No. 3 in November, but also finds MTV seldom plays its videos anymore.

"Music is liquid in motion and so is public taste," DeGarmo observed. "Our career was not made by MTV and I don't think it will be broken by MTV."

The band has always resisted the "metal" label.

"We celebrate the ability of our chemistry to move in a lot of different directions," DeGarmo said. "We are a work in progress."

"Promised Land" has sold 2 million copies, not bad for an album that isn't considered a hit. And the band has already moved beyond MTV with its "Promised Land" two-disk CD-ROM. Made up of 70 different interactive environments, it contains some 25 interrelated puzzles, games and interactive obstacles, impressive animation, interaction with the band and a bonus song.

Type O Negative is one metal band on the upswing, thanks to its clever, macabre songs and the scary, rumbling vocals of Peter Steele.

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