A review of the show Queensryche played at Seattle's Paramount Theatre March 1, 2008.

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Queensryche has always gone for the grandiose, crafting urgent, dramatic heavy-metal songs that soar on the high-strung vocals of Geoff Tate and the precise, searing guitar of Michael Wilton.

Ending another national tour with a triumphant homecoming concert, Saturday night at the Paramount, the 27-year-old Seattle band was more theatrical than ever, delivering a variety of material from throughout its career for an adoring capacity audience filled with family, friends and longtime local followers.

The group — also including ace drummer Scott Rockenfield, commanding a huge, chainbound kit; thunder-bassist Eddie Jackson, playing better than ever; and second guitarist/keyboardist Mike Stone, wearing huge headphones — was tighter than ever, from the solos to the harmonies.

The piercingly high-voiced Tate performed with his usual elegant flair, but with a certain detachment that sometimes bordered on aloofness. His verbal pronouncements tended toward the portentous (“everywhere there are people are you’ve got to live with them”), like an actor delivering well-practiced lines. But his unique, sophisticated way has always separated him from other heavy-metal belters.

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Almost, but not quite, like a greatest-hits show (some big ones were omitted, including “Silent Lucidity” and “I Don’t Believe In Love”), highlights of the 20-song set included such fan favorites as “Another Rainy Night,” “Last Time in Paris,” “Anybody Listening,” “Jet City Woman,” “Eyes of a Stranger” and “Empire,” the big closing number. They covered Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” and Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights.”

The latter included a guest vocal from a contest-winning fan who sounded just like Tate.

The show was opened with an acoustic set by Don Dokken, formerly of the minor 1980s metal band Dokken. Accompanied by a guitarist/harmony vocalist, he sang “Just Got Lucky,’ “Alone Again,” “Dream Warrior” and other Dokken songs, with the audience sometimes joining in.

Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or pmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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