The best cover songs are born when an artist takes a song written by someone else and not only performs it, but fundamentally changes it, imbues it with something new, and alters the song's DNA in a way that claims the song and makes it their own. Think of Cat Power's ethereal version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," French Quarter's tender "Little Mascara," or Brian Eno, John Cale, Kevin Ayers, and Nico's chilling live take on "Heartbreak Hotel." The best tribute bands, in comparison, aim for the opposite. Even those that separate themselves from their source band by gimmicks, like Lez Zeppelin or Mini-Kiss, strive to re-create, as precisely as possible, the sights and sounds of their idols. The Rÿche, Arizona's premier Queensrÿche tribute, re-create with replica guitars and a choreographed stage show every aspect of Queensrÿche classics like "Silent Lucidity" and "I Don't Believe in Love." One has to marvel at the attention to detail and the unabashed love for albums like Operation: Mindcrime that leads to this sort of thing. Sure, "real" bands that play original songs may snicker, but how many "real" local bands have played the Marquee?
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