At the May 2022 Record Show here in Charlotte, I found a couple bootlegs on CD that I had to grab. The first was from Extreme which we discussed recently and this one is from Queensryche. I don’t know much about it but I do know that it had to come out sometime after 1992 as the most current songs on here were recorded around that time. There are 3 different versions of this bootleg according to Discogs and all three have the same track listing. The other two were from Italy and released in 1992 and the other 1994. This one has no date or country of origin so all is unknown. If you do know, please comment below.
The first 5 tracks are taken from MTV Unplugged which were recorded on April 27, 1992. I don’t think there has ever been an official MTV Unplugged release for this show…at least not that I can find. Tracks 6-9 and 11-14 are all recorded around 1983 in New York which is very early Queensryche. Pre the release of ‘The Warning’ which is really cool. They would’ve only had out the Queensryche E.P. at this point. Song 10 comes from Tokyo and Budokan in 1985.
And like any good bootleg, there are mistakes in both song titles and track orders. First, the song “Take Hold of the Flame” is actually “Take Hold of My Flame”. Track 7 is listed as “Blinded” but is actually “Queen of the Reich”. Track 8 is listed as “The Lady Wore Black (Electric)” but is actually “Blinded” and as a result, Track 9 is listed as “Queen of the Reich” but is “Blinded”. Okay, I think that is all that I can find.
The MTV Unplugged tracks are as close to perfection as any band can get live. Geoff Tate is in his prime vocally and any time Tate and Chris DeGarmo are together it is magic. First up is “I Will Remember” from Rage for Order and the song lends itself perfectly to being unplugged. “The Killing Words”, also from Rage, is another song that does well in this format. It is such a dark song and full of melancholy. They then jump to two songs from ‘Empire’. “Della Brown” leads the way and though not a favorite track of mine on the album, here it is a little lighter in tone and DeGarmo’s picking adds a great element. The standout track on this disc is the unplugged version of “Silent Lucidity”. This version is as good or better than the studio track. Geoff’s vocals are pristine, the harmonies are great and the band’s playing is superb. It don’t get much better than this live & acoustic. The last acoustic track here is “The Lady Wore Black” from the band’s debut self-titled E.P. makes you wish you had the whole show on CD as it is so good.
The full electric part of the album kicks off with “Prophecy” which didn’t make the debut E.P. and was finally issued on the 1988 reissue. For being 1983, the band sound hungry and tight already. Geoff’s vocals soar to amazing heights. Then we get the killer “Queen of the Reich” with that awesome build up at the beginning and then Geoff holds that note for at least an hour. It is totally awesome. “Blinded” is hard and heavy and the DeGarmo solo is rather killer. Then we get the final song from the E.P, “The Lady Wore Black” and as good as it was unplugged, it is even better full on electric. It starts off slow and soft like it was unplugged and then builds until it the chorus where it lets loose then back and forth like that throughout.
The song “Deliverance” is from the Tokyo show and the only one from that show on here. It cuts abruptly from the previous song. You can tell it is a different show as the sound is totally different. It has a little more metallic bite to it, but still great. Then back to the New York show with “Child of Fire” which is pretty intense sounding. Queensryche don’t hold anything back with this one. Just pounding away. When the next song “En Force” is announced as from the upcoming album, it doesn’t get much response as no body knows it yet. It has a little military drum intro, some bells and then the band comes in with a cool guitar riff and Tate chimes in as only he can do. It actually sounds like a song they are perfectly comfortable yet with, but not far off from being that way.
Then we get “The Warning” after a weird transition as the song order probably isn’t the same as the actual show. We get a pounding drum opener, then the harmonic “Warning” before the band all comes in and Geoff is singing at such a high note I don’t know how he does it. A killer song that here in pre-album form is just a brutal and awesome. They end the set with one of my favorite songs “Take Hold of the Flame”. I love the slow build up to a complete torrent of sound when it rocks out. The notes that Tate hits are stellar and not human. A great song to go out on in my book. A total thrill ride.
Overall, the sound is really great for the unplugged portion. On the live show it isn’t bad either. A little muddied at times, but still pretty dang good for a bootleg. I really enjoyed the vast amount of early songs on and to get songs from ‘The Warning’ played live before the album was even out is really cool. I can see myself pulling this one out quite a bit. For that My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. This is one of those that if you see it, don’t hesitate buying it!! And my copy was only $5 so that is even better!!