Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
I'll start by saying I have never been an over the top Queen fan. I know people who swear by them and I saw plenty of ‘em Tuesday night at the Brown Theatre. I am familiar with quite a few of the popular songs but as high school kid of the 90's, my first real thought when I think of Queen is the scene from Wayne's World when Wayne and Garth rocked me with "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the AMC Gremlin. Oh yea, there's also the ass kicking "We Will Rock You" that you can thank every competitive sporting event in history for ruining for me... thanks. I quickly found out what I missed from a live Queen show when Gary Mullen and the Works of jolly old England hit the stage.
When it comes to cover bands I'm always skeptical of what I'm in for and my first question is usually; will they do the original band justice? Are these tribute bands riding the coattails of their idols merely for monetary purposes or is a true love that makes them get out there and perform numbers from bands of the past? With a little help from friends, I learned to look at these cover bands as a window into the past of something that I can't experience anymore, if I was even old enough to have enjoyed it in the first place. Gary Mullen is one of those die hard Queen fans, telling the story of a show that can no longer be told by the originals. Back in 2000, Gary’s love of karaoke led him to a television show in the UK called "Stars in their Eyes" performing as Freddie Mercury and won the competition. With his band "The Works," One Night of Queen was born and have toured the world ever since.
The concert itself was supercharged from the beginning; Gary embodied Freddie Mercury in voice as well as in action. From his flamboyant dancing around the stage to participation with his audience, he was Freddie to a T; it was uncanny really! Again, I'll say, I'm not a diehard fan but if I would have closed my eyes, I could hear no difference from an actual live recording of Queen. The band was spot on performing "Somebody to Love", "Under Pressure" and many other classic Queen tracks. Like many other tribute shows, the crowd ranged from baby boomers to young children. While the kids may have just been brought by parents who forgot to get a sitter or if they were just trying to turn them on to some different music, a good time was had by all. It amazes me how excited people get and makes me realize that at one time they had a special relationship with the music if you will. Like how I feel when I put on the Weezer blue album; the bliss (and pains) that were high school memories come rushing back and its 15 years ago all over again.
As I have been asked to review two tribute shows from the past now at the Kentucky Center venues maybe I should compare the shows; I think not. It would be difficult to really pit the two shows against one another from only my stand point; the Pink Floyd Experience had a far better light show but Pink Floyd was known for their light shows. Gary Mullen had a phenomenal stage presence that really brought Freddie Mercury back on the stage for many; the Pink Floyd Experience didn't have that action but only because David Gilmour and Roger Waters didn't really move from their stage stations of space rock. I think I've made my point that the two shows from roughly the same era (at least overlapping) simply cannot be compared to one another. They both brought something very valuable to the table; they bring important music of the past to the attention of younger generations while letting others a chance to relive a time they fondly remember.