REVIEW: One Night of Queen '“ Kings Theatre, Southsea
For those of us who were impressionable teenagers back in the mid-1980s, one concert stands out above all others.
And one band’s performance at Wembley in July 1985 towers over the competition.
And one man ended up holding the entire audience in the palm of his hand that day, almost 33 years ago now.
Freddie Mercury, one of the most charismatic rock vocalists of all time. Possibly even the best of all time.
So fair play to Gary Mullen for pulling off the phenomenally tough task of virtually bringing Mercury back to life.
The fist pumps, the preening, the posturing, the strutting, the bare torso - and let’s not forget the vocals too. Freddie Mercury was a remarkable showman, but he was a remarkable singer too.
Mullen’s One Night of Queen show rolled into the Kings Theatre on Friday, and delivered a blistering two-hour performance of all the classics.
From the early hard rock of Seven Seas of Rye and Stone Cold Crazy, through the likes of Killer Queen, Somebody To Love, Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want To Break Free and the timeless Bohemian Rhapsody, to The Invisible Man, a 1989 single released just two years before Mercury’s death.
Yes, Freddie’s been gone almost 27 years now. Where does the time go?
Mullen became a TV favourite when he won Stars In Their Eyes as Mercury back in 2000 with a record number of votes.
Two years later he started touring One Night of Queen, and with 150 dates across multiple countries every year, his Works band is a tight unit that easily brings Queen’s wonderful music to life.
As the great man would no doubt have said ... It was wonderful, darling.
And the crowd lapped it all up, with Mullen urging them to get off their seats and dance right from the off - an invitation that many were never going to refuse.
But the question has to be asked - how can you NOT lap up rock music when the songs are this good?
Queen possess a back catalogue studded with so many diamonds it is hard to pick out a highlight, but I’ve always loved Radio Ga Ga, ever since the iconic image of 70,000 plus people clapping their hands above their heads at Live Aid seared it into my subconscious.
That was the first of a four-song encore, followed by perennial concert closers We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions (good to see one woman right down the front had brought along her Pompey ‘Champions’ flag from 2003 to wrap herself in!) and a rocked up version of the national anthem to finish.
Nobody could do stadium rock like Freddie Mercury, but Gary Mullen and his band did a very good job of bringing a legendary band’s greatest hits package to a much smaller, far more intimate crowd.
As the great man would no doubt have said ...
It was wonderful, darling.