Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 8, 2015 at 9:45am

Keeping Freddie alive: One Night of Queen is a kind of magic

"One Night of Queen," performed by Gary Mullen and The Works, will hit the Washington Center's stage April 10. Photo credit: Property of A.Behn/Copyright 2011

Recommend Blog Post
Total Recommendations (0)

"Fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die

I can fly, my friends..." - Queen (from Innuendo, 1991)

The great Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town, Tanzania (then the Sultanate of Zanzibar) and was raised Zoroastrian near Mumbai. At age 24, he joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, formerly of the band Smile, and named their new enterprise Queen. Thanks in large part to his astonishing vocal range and power - he could easily cover four octaves from bass low F to soprano high F -he was an international star less than five years later. Like Little Richard and Elvis before him, he defined rock performance for a generation. He electrified 72,000 people at Live Aid in 1985, not counting millions more who watched on TV. Six years later, a day after acknowledging he was HIV-positive, Mercury died at home. He was 45. We have not seen his equal since.

Gary Mullen, on the other hand, was born in Scotland around the time Queen released its first album. He remembers seeing a live performance of "We Are the Champions" when he was four. His wife and mother entered the mild-mannered computer salesman and cancer survivor in a British reality show called Stars in Their Eyes. There, his impression of Mercury's "It's a Kind of Magic" launched him toward a season win in 2000. He assembled his touring band, the Works, two years later. Out of makeup, Mullen looks and sounds nothing like Freddie Mercury; but put a wig, mustache and tight costume on him, and he morphs into a veritable Prince of the Universe.

I've regretted many times not being able to see Freddie Mercury live before his passing. Queen still tours with Adam Lambert, but for me it wouldn't be the same. That's why I'm so looking forward to Gary Mullen and The Works's upcoming performance as One Night of Queen. Their recreation of the band is so spot-on they remain in contact with Brian May himself. And while Mullen's the first to admit he's not Mercury's equal, he's played for as many as 40,000 people in Mercury's stead. Freddie Mercury was Gary Mullen's hero ... and one of mine. Now, decades later, thanks to One Night of Queen, we get to relive Mercury's special kind of magic. "The Show," after all, "Must Go On."

ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, $16-$52, 360.753.8586

Filed under: Music, Olympia,
comments powered by Disqus

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

Recent Comments

Melisa Ben said:

i liked reading about the religious girls.they are interesting. ...

about 5 Things To Do Today: Religious Girls, "Big Eyes," sports chat, Kurt Lindsay ...

Web Developers Delhi said:

very informative post for me as I am always looking for new content that can help me and my...


Carv said:

I do think it's worth noting that Noah is a quarter-Jewish--and matrilinearly to boot, which...

about Nerd Alert issued for Trevor Noah and "It Follows" horror film

Andrew Gordon said:

Thanks for the article, Carv! The article mentions Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen - just to...

about A murder at Journeycon: To hostility ... and beyond!

Marcy LaViollette said:

Arresting Power is at 6:30 (even though it's a good idea to get there early).