Geoff Tate @Newcastle The Cluny, June 23 2023

For those still transfixed by Queensrÿche’s biggest selling records this truly is a golden age.

Geoff Tate’s passion for the peerless Operation: Mindcrime and its expansive successor Empire remains undiminished.

And the mission to breathe new life into his former band’s very best work continues at pace.

Only this time last year fans on Tyneside were treated to full run throughs of 1986’s embryonic Rage For Order and the commercially adept Empire.

Before that Tate marked 30 years of Mindcrime with another momentous show at Trillians.

And if the venue was different then the end result was the same five years down the line: this 35th anniversary celebration of 1988’s progressive metal masterwork paid due homage to a truly remarkable record.

On the clammiest night of the North East summer so far, a capacity crowd crammed into The Cluny craving another taste of Queensrÿche’s career-defining classic.

By the time the tape ran to usher in iconic opener I Remember Now it was hot enough to make Prince Andrew perspire. Probably.

And the temperature rose a degree or two more as Tate and his crack band powered their way through an era-defining concept piece.

The unrelenting pace and precision musicianship added to a febrile atmosphere as Mindcrime’s meaty subject matter and familiar melodies reinforced this album’s reputation for timeless excellence.

Tate’s voice has somehow survived decades of heavy lifting to retain one of heavy rock’s most definitive tones. 

And it’s a genuine treat to hear this titan of the progressive metal arena still striking a blow for the over-60s — hitting those hard-to-reach high notes time and time again.

A brief pause midway through Mindcrime’s all-consuming narrative afforded Tate a timely window to welcome his word-perfect acolytes.

But in the blink of an eye it was back into the groove as booming anthems Breaking The Silence, I Don’t Believe In Love and Eyes Of A Stranger sizzled in the stifling heat.

Those hoping to sneak out for some much-needed fresh air were foiled as Tate promised yet more in the way of superior rock: Empire, Silent Lucidity and Jet City Woman jostling for position with Take Hold Of The Flame and Queen Of The Reich.

The final date of this triumphant UK leg was finally done and dusted.

But don’t be surprised if Tate pops up again on Tyneside soon…Empire’s 35th anniversary is just two years away.

Opening up for the voice of Queensrÿche across the UK were London-based Swiss rockers Daxx & Roxanne.

Hailing from the home of designer watches, this brilliant band’s time has surely come.

It often felt as if the clock was ticking on this amiable quartet’s stop-start career either side of the pandemic.

But this bullish set looked and sounded like a sensational rebirth.

D&R’s mix of kick-ass confidence and party-starting potency was like a punch in the face — the band’s relentless energy clearly catching Tate’s fans off guard.

Knockout blow followed knockout blow with whirling dervish lead guitarist Cal Wymann leading the rock and roll charge.

New tunes Grind and Faceless whetted the appetite for album number three — slated for later this year or early 2024 — and best represent Daxx’s new-found dynamism.

This is a band that’s found its sound and figured it out.

Don’t sleep on Daxx & Roxane. Thing are about to get serious for the best band out of Switzerland since Gotthard.