One Night of Queen
April 30th-Cobb Energy Center
If it’s true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then somewhere in the great beyond, Freddy Mercury must be smiling.
From the opening signature guitar riff of “Tie Your Mother Down” to the sing-along show closing refrain of “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions”, Gary Mullen and the Works never let up for a moment. As the world’s pre-eminent Queen Tribute band, it goes without saying that they’ve done their homework, and the entire night was (not surprisingly) a well polished exercise in delivering note perfect renditions of Queen classics. 150 plus nights a year of worldwide touring will tend do that for you…
What was mildly surprising, however, was the genuine connection Gary and his band mates (David Brockett, Billy Moffat, Jonathan Evans & Malcolm Gentles) established with the audience. In a night grounded in imitation, that connection was clearly the real thing. Three generations of Queen fans sang along boldly as Gary exhorted them to “be the chorus” on “Somebody to Love”, clapped on cue during “Radio Ga Ga” and never stopped offering up sunglasses, hats and even a scarf for Gary to don for a moment or two and then throw back.
From slightly lesser-known Queen staples such as “Seven Seas of Rye” to the everyone-knows-the-lyrics “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the expansive Queen catalog was well represented. In fact, as the show came to a close after 27 songs, it would have been difficult for any Queen fan (no matter how devoted) to find fault with the set list…or with Garry’s portrayal of Freddy Mercury.
Even though at times the diminutive front man managed to let a bit of his own personality show through (not a bad thing)… his flamboyant channeling of the late great Freddy was downright uncanny.
It was Sometimes jovial, (a moment during band introductions when he referred to himself as “Queen Bitch”), sometimes eerily sobering (“Who Wants to Live Forever”) but always spot-on with wardrobe, stage movements and vocal patter.
It was clear that many of the fans in the house were too young to have actually seen Queen live, but that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm. In the immortal words of the band…the “Show Must Go On”. And for two hours Saturday night….that’s just what it did.
(Video interview coming soon!)