It’s a kind of magic. ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN, which Broadway Series South brought to the City of Oaks for one night only, on March 28th, had Raleigh Memorial Auditorium rocking and rolling and the highly appreciative Sunday-night audience on its feet, dancing in the aisles and cheering from their seats like it was the second coming of Queen, the British super-group formed in 1971, instead of Gary Mullen & The Works, the Queen tribute band formed in 2000 after Mullen won ITV’s 2000 “Stars in Their Eyes” television talent contest, performing as Queen’s flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 due to complications from AIDS.
Gary Mullen is not only a remarkable soundalike for Freddie Mercury, but he is a veritable human dynamo as he prances and preens and pirouettes while delivering the now-familiar lyrics to Queen’s greatest hits, such as “Killer Queen” (1974), “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975), “Somebody to Love” (1976), “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” (both 1977), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1979), “Another One Bites the Dust” (1980), “Under Pressure” (1981), and “Radio Ga Ga” (1982) — no relation to current American pop tart Lady Gaga (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in 1986 in New York City).
From its up-tempo opening numbers (“One Vision” and “Seven Seas of Rhye”), ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN was a hit parade of classic Queen numbers, performed with panache. Then, when Gary Mullen & The Works’ lead guitarist David Brockett unleashed his first scorching solo on “(It’s a) Kind of Magic,” fire flew from his fingertips; and all the rest of the show was like a rock concert. Bass player Billy Moffat and drummer Jonathan Evans provided a lively backbeat, and keyboard player Malcolm Gentles added animated accompaniment, especially on electric piano; but it was vocalist extraordinaire Gary Mullen and fiery guitarist David Brockett who created a raging rock inferno.
The rest of the first set included a robust rendition of “Somebody to Love,” a vibrant version of “Under Pressure” that brought the audience to its feet, and a rowdy audience singalong on “Another One Bites the Dust” — plus “Save Me”; “Killer Queen”; “Now I’m Here,” with guitar pyrotechnics by Billy Moffat once again revving up the crowd; and “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
The second set included crowd-pleasing performances of “Tie Your Mother Down,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Love of My Life,” and “Too Much Love Will Kill You.” Then a rousing vocal by Gary Mullen on the 1957 Elvis Presley hit “Jailhouse Rock” — which Queen performed as the opening song on its 1980 tour of North America — poured gasoline on the audience’s fire; and incendiary interpretations of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Radio Ga Ga” whipped the crowd up even further.
ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN ended with a trio of terrific encores of ” The Show Must Go On,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions,” which further delighted the Broadway Series South audience and left them hoping that the series will bring back ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN, in the near future, for a more prolonged sojourn in North Carolina’s capital city.
SHOW: http://www.onenightofqueen.com/. PRESENTER: http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/. VENUE: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=21. OTHER LINKS: Queen: http://www.queenonline.com/ (official website).
by Robert W. McDowell
Robert McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review of Raleigh, NC. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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