Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Grease Gun, Disease Son. Forget Her, Carburetor."

Yes, I am Queen fan. The bombast that was Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor sucked me in from the very first time I saw them in 1976. Underneath all the glitter, glam and excess was a rock and roll band who could move effortlessly from piano ballad to power pop to punk rock to Broadway, Vaudeville and back, all led by one of the most flamboyant and dynamic front men to have ever graced a stage.

That all ended in 1991 when Freddie Mercury died. So, how does one experience the live Queen experience, say...on a Tuesday night in March? By seeing Almost Queen, the amazing Queen tribute band that looks and sounds like...Queen. When an old friend, another Queen fan from back in the day, (although "fanatical" is a more accurate description) called and asked if I would like to go, I thought it would be a great opportunity to catch up on old times and hear some inexpensive live music. I said yes.

Simply put, the show was terrific. There were no hilarious costumes or effects to detract from what was just a great group of musicians playing the repertoire of the band they clearly love dearly. Yes, the guitarist had an almost ridiculous Brian May wig on his head, but lead singer Joe Russo looked like 1980's Freddie Mercury because a lot of guys named Joe Russo happen to look like that. Playing the expected hits like "Killer Queen" and "Somebody To Love," as well some deeper cuts like "Father To Son," "I'm In Love With My Car," (lyrics pulled for blog title) and "Don't Stop Me Now," that hadn't been in the live Queen repertoire even when Queen was touring regularly in the 80s, Almost Queen pretty much nailed it, especially on "Bohemian Rhapsody," a song that even Queen couldn't pull off live without the help of backing tracks.

This was a great time with a great friend watching a great band pay tribute to a great band. was great.

Here is a not bad, fan video from the Rockin'On The River show in Ohio.


Holly Cara Price said...

my favorite Queen memory of all time: I'm in London at the Dorchester Hotel. I'm getting ready to leave for the next city (we are on tour). It's really early like 6am and I've got morning TV on, which is a British morning ritual. The show hosts cut to a group of people on the beach in Brighton singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" a cappella for Freddie Mercury's birthday. True story.

steve simels said...

I'm not a fan, although there are a couple of songs I really like, but I gotta tell you -- I saw them in a relatively small venue (I think it was the Beacon, but I'd have to check on that) touring the very first album.

And they sucked. Utterly. I mean, headache inducingly awful. I mean, Grand Funk awful. I mean pokes up the nose with a burnt stick awful.

Didn't see them again after that, although I'm willing to stipulate (on the basis of subsequent concert videos) that they improved.

Michael in New York said...

I'm fascinated that you would be down with a tribute band. They're typically treated with about as much respect as daily cartoon strips are by fans of comic books.

Sal Nunziato said...

Well Michael, as I said, it started with seeing mt friend and ended up being a lot of fun. The band sounded great. Cheaper than Live "Astral Weeks," which is just about on "tribute" level.