Friday, Sept. 8, Orpheum Theatre, 8 p.m.
Rock-opera plotlines tend to be, for lack of a better term, poo. Take the Who's Tommy, the first and finest of the genre: Some kid loses his hearing and sight, causing Ann- Margret to roll around in baked beans. And The Wall by Pink Floyd? Bob Geldof shaves off his eyebrows and gets yelled at by an anus. But really, they're both about World War II.
Yeah, I'm confused too.
Which brings us to Queensrÿche, the '80s Seattle metal outfit known for being the first band to put unnecessary umlauts in their name. They also had a hit with "Silent Lucidity," a song that should have been titled: "Don't give metal bands thesauruses."
But prior to that, Queensrÿche achieved modest commercial and critical success with a rock opera of their own: Operation: Mindcrime, which notably ignored British war trauma entirely. It, and its very recent sequel (Operation: Mindcrime II), will be what the band performs at the Orpheum on Friday.
The music is actually pretty good, and the stage production for this tour is apparently impressive. But what you really want to know is the plot, right? Here goes:
Meet Nikki, an impressionable young smack addict. Turns out his supplier is none other than the evil Dr. X, who brainwashes impressionable smack addicts into becoming super-assassins for his anti-government revolution (as encouraged by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers).
For being such a good assassin, Dr. X hooks Nikki up with a prostitute-turned-nun named Mary, just in case you missed the reference. Their love turns Nikki against Dr. X, or something, and X uses his brain zombie powers to force Nikki to kill Mary. Which Nikki doesn't do, because love conquers all. All, except bullets, because Sister Mary winds up dead anyway - but who did it? Nikki? Dr. X? Bob Geldof? Doesn't matter. Nikki takes the fall.
After a couple decades or so, Nikki gets out of jail with plans to kill Dr. X. But should he? After all, "turn me into a murderous drug zombie once, shame on you. Turn me into a murderous drug zombie twice, shame on me." And what would Mary's ghost say about it? And what will this do to Dr. X's tenure clock?
You'll have to see the show to find out. And if you do, please tell me. Because I'm as confused as ever.