In 1992, Queensryche was touring in support of their platinum selling album Empire. While on this tour, the band was performing their previously released concept album Operation: Mindcrime in its entirety. That tour yielded two video releases. One was the Operation: Livecrime box set which showcased only the “Mindcrime” performance. The other release was the Building Empires video which was a collection of videos and unreleased live footage from the Building Empires tour.
Originally released in 1992 on VHS, Building Empires finally saw a DVD release in 2002. One of the things I was really hoping for with the DVD release of this collection was some added bonus footage but it’s nothing more than the VHS content on DVD. Aside from that one gripe, I really enjoy watching Building Empires and can do so multiple times without tiring of it.
The DVD starts off with Queensryche’s first ever video for the song “Night Rider” which was great. I had never seen that video before this release so that was a fun way to start off. The DVD moves on to briefly touch on the band’s past with videos for “Queen of the Ryche” and “The Prophecy.” The rarely aired “Gonna Get Close To You” video from the Rage For Order album was another nice rarity to include. The video for “Eyes of a Stranger” was basically just a commercial for their Operation: LIVEcrime set and I found myself not really digging this montage. The commentaries before each video are short and sweet but they really show a kind of humorous side to the Queensryche guys. They are totally dorky but it’s fun to hear them talk about each video and share a brief story behind it. It was also really cool to see the unreleased alternate video for “Another Rainy Night (Without You).” While it was cool to see it, I could totally see why they decided to go with another producer to make another video. Up to this point it was a “good” collection but it eventually turns into a “great” collection. The real meat of this collection lies in the 2nd half of the DVD and this is the stuff that makes this collection worth owning.
From the middle on through the end, Building Empires has some really amazing unreleased live footage from the Building Empires tour that wasn’t featured on the Operation: LIVEcrime set. Getting to see the set opener “Resistance” was amazing and getting to see the band perform classics like “Take Hold of the Flame” and “Walk in the Shadows” was even more awesome. This footage showed just how amazing the band was and they were without a doubt on top of their game. The inclusion of “Della Brown” and “I Will Remember” from their appearance on MTV’s Unplugged was really awesome and a great way to round out this collection.
Building Empires is much more than just a collection of MTV videos. Queensryche put a little bit of thought into this collection to make it something special for the fans. It’s a great companion to the Operation: LIVEcrime set but it also stands up very well on its own. Even though so many of these performances are accessible via YouTube these days, this is still a really cool collection that I feel every Queensryche fan will enjoy.