Concerts on Blu-ray Disc are a hit-and-miss bunch, and since they’re often soft rock or jazz, seeing a Queensryche concert come out on Blu-ray caused my inner skeptic to surface immediately. Fortunately, Mindcrime at the Moore, the Queensryche concert that was filmed live for this release, impressed me in just about every regard, although a few post-production and concert-production elements did leave me hanging.
On the impressive side, Queensryche: Mindcrime at the Moore takes every stereotype you might have about guitar-in-a-blender heavy metal and throws it right out the window, with a DTS-HD audio track that picks up every strum of the guitar and nuance in the singers’ voices. No, Geoff Tate (lead vocalist) doesn’t exactly have operatic skill, but the range he shows during the 2:29-minute concert is impressive considering he basically flies solo the entire time. The balance between guitars and vocals is impressive as well, as Tate’s voice is neither overpowered nor overpowering; the balance in the audio track is flat-out impressive. I don’t know whether the same could be said for the performance as seen by people in the theater, but for the home release on Blu-ray Disc the audio balance is sheer perfection. The surround-sound effect is awesome too, as there’s just enough audio from the rear channels to make you feel like you’re there but not so much that you lose focus on the main act blasting from the front speakers.
As with any concert, it’s the audio that’s really most important, but for people who truly want to live vicariously and feel like they’re attending, the video is a crucial piece as well. And once again, Queensryche: Mindcrime at the Moore generally impresses. The set itself is pretty straightforward, with a 20’ x 20’ box in the middle and a wall-mounted movie screen playing occasional video snippets up above. Because of the spartan décor, the color palette isn’t very diverse, so the lighting has to carry the day. By and large it does, with a nice mix of spotlights, purple and red accent lighting and general stage lights that help the band visually pop off the dark-toned set.
In part because the set isn’t anything to write home about, the visual crispness of the band members is particularly spectacular. The two primary cameras were obviously HD, but even the handheld cameras close to the stage captured a remarkably crisp picture. Between the sharp visuals and the impeccable lighting, it really feels like you’re on stage with Queensryche, staring at their tattoos (and sweat) with lifelike realism.
Queensryche: Mindcrime at the Moore was recorded in two parts, giving the entire presentation a sort of “opening act, intermission, closing act” sort of vibe. It’s unclear whether the parts were truly separate shows or whether they were actually separated by an intermission, but the tone and vibe of each is definitely unique. In the first half, the compilation of songs tells a loose story about a man who’s high on drugs and kills a priest, then struggles to come to terms with it, while one song in the first half addresses a woman committing suicide. The subject matter definitely isn’t for kids, and a couple of times I actually got a bit squeamish myself, but the subjects aren’t handled without reverence, no matter how controversial they may be.
The second half of the concert is faster paced, with slightly different setpieces and costumes, and although it doesn’t necessarily feel like a cohesive experience when watched right after the first half of the Blu-ray Disc, it definitely maintains the production values (and venue) from the pre-intermission concert. The only disappointment, however minor it may be, is that some of the post-production video mixing looks ridiculously low-budget, a holdover from the first half of the concert when overlaid text and rain effects give the video transfer an unnecessary and cheesy “this was done by an intern” vibe. Truly, the post-production work was unnecessary and, in my mind, actually degrades what is otherwise a great video presentation.
If you’re a fan of Queensryche, the band’s Mindcrime at the Moore Blu-ray Disc is not to be missed. Casual passers-by may not appreciate some of the subject matter, but then again, it’s not very likely that anyone who could be labeled “casual” would ever pickup this Blu-ray Disc in the first place. With surprisingly high production values for a “smallish” concert like this, the entire experience blows past the preconceived notions I had for what this concert experience would be.
Buy Queensryche: Mindcrime at the Moore on Blu-ray from Amazon.com using this link: Queensrÿche: Mindcrime at the Moore [Blu-ray Disc].