Live Event: Geoff Tate, The Tivoli, June 22nd 2023
Arriving just as the 1st band of the evening (Entity) were leaving the stage, myself & Dave settled into our usual place ready for the 2nd support band…
Daxx & Roxane
To me, there’s nothing like a band that has one member who is so into what he’s doing, and so cocksure, he takes you along on his own Rock Star journey.
Based in London but originally from Switzerland, this four piece consisting of Cedric Pfister – Vocals & Bass, Cal Wymann – Lead Guitar, Luca Senaldi – Drums and Simon Golaz – Rhythm Guitar & Harmonica cite Led Zepp, Motley Crue and AC/DC as key influences, and there are hints of AC/DC in some of their tunes, but their brand of Rock is so different, mainly because Cedric’s vocals are more the 80s side of raunch (that’s a compliment by the way), oooofff can this fella belt out a tune.
The first song and the crowd (in the BEST music venue in Britain – The Tivoli, in Buckley) quickly left the bar to have look, and started dancing immediately.
Every song is a banger. The band are tight and together in every sense of the word, riffing off each other, thumping along with a sort of mash up roadhouse rock worthy of a southern Sammy Hager (yes, they do a Sammy cover).
Total pro’s but with extra sauce. God they were a breath of fresh air the way they moved.
Seeing and hearing a tight, talented band is great, but seeing one that has a frenetic energy onstage is kind of mind blowing – and this is Daxx and Roxane’s secret weapon. They’re enjoying themselves and take you along.
Guitarist Cal Wymann – Yep, he’s the cocky one (and so he should be, leaping all over – including the drum kit – and never missing a chord), reaches his hand out to the crowd and like a demented Swiss Wilko Johnson and entertains you.
I’d never heard of the band before, and now watched a few of their videos, yep, no doubt about it, this is a good rock band, check em out!
Geoff Tate: 35 years of Operation Mindcrime.
Back in time when women didn’t really write about rock in Britain, I was a young rock fan and would write pieces for Fanzines under a pseudonym (didn’t go down well with the lads if they knew you were a girl). I’d been to see Queensryche at the Manchester Apollo performing Operation Mindcrime, I was 22 and wrote of review of this gig. Amazingly – this review was read by a someone who worked for an independent record company in Los Angeles, and 6 months later I was living and working In LA. So, as you can imagine, When I say Operation Mindcrime changed my life, it’s not fantasy.
The album itself to me is top 10 – a dark twisted narrative of power, religion and corruption, with incredible lyrics, amazing musicianship and of course the soaringly aching voice of the truly great vocalist Geoff Tate.
No one else could embody the drug addicted protagonist, Nikki.
It is the great Rock opera of its time, a work of – to me – genius, and means so much to me. A soundtrack to my life in music and journalism.
Importantly, it is also timeless, and just as relevant politically today as it was 35 years ago.
Without going into the history of Queensryche – Geoff has been a stand-alone artist for several years now and has toured Operation Mindcrime in various guises and bands.
This particular ‘gang’ consists of Guitarist James Brown, Bassist James Ross and drummer Daniel Laverde (apologies to the other guitarist I can’t find his name anywhere). This ‘injection’ of new musicians playing an ‘old’ album works, they’re professional. tight and bang on song, because the ingredient that’s indispensable is Geoff’s voice, the voice of Nikki.
Playing a concept album in a smallish club must be a nightmare. The first time I saw Operation Mindcrime performed it was in an arena and had a huge stage show with all the bells and whistles, how could this work?
Because new blood revitalised the ethos of all of it. Seeing the musicians’ faces, knowing there were on STAGE, playing this epic with its creator beside them was palpable.
Geoff, who’s now in his early 60’s has lost none of his vocal power, and has altered the key and length of some screams to be more in tune with his more mature voice. He reminds me of a handsome Genie of the lamp, a Persian hero from a thousand and one nights snaking across the stage, acting out his part while singing with THAT voice of his (from where I sat in the balcony I could hear him over the PA in the Tiv doing his vocal exercises before he came on stage) – he has power. He’s still got ‘it’ and the crowd in the Tiv LAPPED him and the band up.
Playing the album in sequence, telling the story of Mary and Nikki, the crowd singing every song (myself included), and the intimate setting made it all so much more… emotional.
That’s what the experience was, musically great, and also very emotional. Seeing a sea of middle aged men singing Breaking the silence is quite something.
Ending with encores of Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman and a rousing Queen of the NIGHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTT, we all sighed as the band took their final bow, I have to admit I teared up a bit.
Thanks Geoff for keeping this flame alight.
Yet again a massive shout out and thank you to ALL the staff at the Tivoli; Mark, Dave, Chris…to Photographer Swilly and to Rokib and Kirsty the people who run this absolute GEM – They are so hard working, the best hosts, don’t overcharge for tickets and they keep music LIVE.
SUPPORT the Tivoli Buckley.
Make sure to watch the 3 videos of the evening over on the 60MW YouTube channel.
Review by Tina.
Photos © Swilly’s Photography.