By Emily Iannello
BEELZEBUB, Galileo, Scaramouche, fandangos – Queen fans can get out their best harmonies and air guitars for a top-line tribute band headed Geelong’s way.
Queen: It’s A Kinda Magic will relive the legendary British rock band’s halcyon days of hits such as We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions.
The tribute show will play Geelong Performing Arts Centre a little over a month after the actual Queen tours Australia with Adam Lambert in place of frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.
English-Canadian performer Giles Taylor has taken on the demanding Mercury role in the tribute show.
Taylor has been travelling the world the past 13 years, performing with artists such as Blur’s Damon Albarn, Gabrielle, Rick Wakeman and The Moody Blues.
Taylor told the Independent the Queen gig was his toughest so far.
“This is the biggest challenge ever,” he said.
“It’s physically and vocally exhausting. It’s such an incredible task, a wonderful challenge.”
Taylor said “true” Queen fans would appreciate the attention to detail in the tribute show.
His bandmates are Richie Baker as Brian May on guitar, James Childs as John Deacon on bass and Kyle Thompson as Roger Taylor on drums. The quartet has been touring around Australia and overseas with the show, drawing some warm reviews.
“There are so many good songs,” Taylor said.
“We only have two hours to perform and we play 23 songs but I could easily think of another 23 I’d love to play.”
Taylor nominated Queen’s epic hit Bohemian Rhapsody as his favourite song to perform.
“Musically, it’s quite complex and it’s right at the end of the show. It’s our big finale, so everything has to be done on the ball.
“It’s all done live, so we’re really focused at the end of the show.”
Taylor said the audience could expect to see Queen “as they would have been in their own day”.
“I know that two members of Queen are out touring now but it’s a very foreign route. We try to recapture Queen as they were in the ’80s.”
The show had introduced a new generation of fans to the Queen phenomenon, Taylor said.
“When we set out to do the show we thought the audience would mainly be older Queen fans but we’re also seeing a younger crowd.
“People in their teens are coming. It’s incredible that people who weren’t even alive when Queen was performing want to come and see us.”
Taylor believed that Queen’s enduring popularity was easy to explain.
“They’re one of the few bands that produced a great number of classic rock tunes,” he said.
“We’re talking late ’70s rock when Queen was up there with the biggest names, if not the biggest name.
“They were iconic and had a long career and I think that creates for a long shelf-life after that.”
Taylor said the show attracted the attention of Mercury’s former personal assistant, Peter Freestone, who now toured with the band when his schedule allowed.
Freestone had praised the tribute show as the closest he had seen to the real thing.
The Queen concert would be Taylor’s second time in Geelong as a performer.
“I was there a couple of years ago for a completely different show but I was playing the piano.
“It’s nice to come back and do it from the front of the stage this time.”
Queen: It’s A Kinda Magic plays GPAC on 12 October.