This past Friday night was a night 17 years in the making. Matt and I attended One Night of Queen at Springfield Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. The ticket stub can be seen on the right. Would we play games with you?
You see, our relationship blossomed 17 years ago in high school, where we would talk about music on the bus ride home. Wayne’s World had just come out and repopularized Bohemian Rhapsody. This was my first real exposure to Queen, but Matt would tell me about all the quirky songs in their vast library of work, like Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race. This prompted me to get Classic Queen and Queen’s Greatest Hits on cassette. So when we found out that One Night of Queen was coming to Springfield, we realized that a bromantic evening of dinner and music must be had.
Before the show, we went to Theodore’s Booze Blues and BBQ. We started with a heaping plate of nachos, and we each got a ribs combo dinner. I opted for the popcorn shrimp, while Matt went with the brisket. Don’t we look thrilled?
After dinner, we arrived at Springfield Symphony Hall. The smokers were stinking up the front steps as we saw the huge banner for One Night Of Queen. We took our seats (after a quick trip to restroom to drain our bladders of the 3 or 4 soda refills we had at Theodore’s) and anxiously awaited the start of the show. We had been curious about what kind of crowd this show would attract, and it was surprisingly diverse. The audience was comprised of a few middle-aged folks dragging their kids to the show (and most of these kids couldn’t look less enthused to be there, and likely have no idea who Queen was), quite a few people our age, lots of other guys out for a bromantic evening themselves, and quite a few older folks who were probably our age when Queen was in their prime. Matt even spotted a celebrity in attendance; the guy from the local Bertera Chevrolet commercials. We found it odd that they were playing Queen songs over the speakers before Gary Mullen and The Works took the stage.
And speaking of Gary Mullen, he really channelled his inner Freddie Mercury. He must have really studied old Queen concert footage in preparing for this role. He leapt fabulously, pranced flamingly, slapped his ass, spit water, used the mic stand as a guitar, swung it like a golf club, drop-kicked his bottled water (Matt was slightly mad that he was drinking bottled water, as it didn’t exist in the 70’s and ruined the illusion of the era we were supposed to be in), supplied plenty of innuendo, and walked through the crowd, looking to have sex with anything that moved. At one point, he left the stage for an extended period of time while the band played. We assumed it was a costume change, but the only change we noticed when he came back on stage was that he had no shirt on.
The setlist was as follows:
- One Vision
- Seven Seas Of Rhye
- A Kind of Magic
- Somebody To Love
- Under Pressure (no David Bowie lookalike was present, unfortunately)
- Another One Bites The Dust (featuring an interlude of the Sugar Hill Gang classic Rapper’s Delight)
- Save Me
- Killer Queen
- Now I’m Here (featuring an extended guitar solo)
- Don’t Stop Me Now
- Theme From Flash
- Tie Your Mother Down
- Keep Yourself Alive (featuring an extended drum solo)
- Fat Bottomed Girls
- Love Of My Life
- Jailhouse Rock (yes, the Elvis Presley song)
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Hammer To Fall
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love
- We Will Rock You
- Friends Will Be Friends (WTF?)
- We Are The Champions
And here, my best friends, is choppy cellphone video for ya… (with annotations!)…
We were disappointed that Radio Ga Ga wasn’t performed. This was especially shocking considering Gary Mullen’s affinity for having the crowd put their arms in the air and clap to the beat. Of course, there’s Matt’s disdain for the presence of bottled water. We also weren’t thrilled that Gary Mullen forced us to stand for most of the show as he maintained that the seats were “redundant” and that we should be off of our asses dancing. We were also convinced that Gary Mullen was putting on a fake British accent to stay true to his Freddie Mercury character, only to find out that he’s actually British! And one of my personal favorite moments was near the beginning of the show, when he said, “How are you doing Springfield?” *crowd cheers* “Where’s Homer Simpson?” Who doesn’t love an antiquated Simpsons joke? It’s like having your grandmother forward you an email about how Bill Gates is going to pay everyone a bunch of money for forwarding said email. In other words, topical.
All in all, we had a great time, and it was much better than we thought it would be. Gary Mullen and The Works have been doing this for a number of years and are currently on tour. If you’re a Queen fan, you would be stone cold crazy to miss this show.