New Theatre, Sunday 2nd December 2018
Like Julius Caesar and his entourage, Gary Mullen and The Works came to the New Theatre on a one-night stand, saw a huge crowd awaiting them and conquered
them. As a non-rock music fan but with a fair idea of the Queen back catalogue
(and having recently seen
Bohemian Rhapsody) I was bowled over – no,
flattened – by the volume and spectacle and sheer force of it. The house lights
dimmed, then there was a swelling burst of portentous music, fit for the
arrival of Alexander the Great at the gates of
Then on they came, first drummer Jon Halliwell sneaking in at the back in twilight, then bass Billy Moffatt and keyboards player Malcolm Gentles, then Davie Brockett on guitar (hair Brian May-style – or even Louis XIV) and then, the lights flashing scarlet, emerald, ultramarine and mauve came the man himself, caught in two swivelling floodlights: all in white, manicured moustache, lithe, long-legged body, black hair slicked back – it was Freddie Mercury himself, risen Lazarus-like from the grave, summoned by the clarion-call of the music.
were away, pounding out the songs while the light and colour flashed and pulsed
and the brass bar in front of me vibrated.
The voice to my Queen-inexpert ears sounded just right, with a great range, and once he held a tenor top C for a very long time, as well as getting down to a deep growl. Perhaps he wasn't wholly at home on the ballad Love of My Life, voice a little harsh and volume too inflated for the song, but his audience patter was perfectly judged between in-rôle bombast – blowing provocatively pouting kisses left and right, deriding the non-dancers, threatening to go home early – and appreciation of his audience, leaping down off stage and wading into the adoring folk at the front who (I have it on the authority of one of them) follow him around the country from gig to gig.
caveats: it was a pity there was never a single mention of Freddie
himself, and on
Bohemian Rhapsody the piano work was left to the
keyboards rather than
to the big anthems, swaying madly, our hands above our heads, telling ourselves
We are the Champions – and believing it - and we marvelled at Davie
Brockett's astonishing guitar work, playing at breakneck speed, his fingers
swooping up and down the frets faster then your eyes could follow.
We all flooded out in a state of dazzlement and once outside, the energy
overload in me made me want to sprint all the way to