An amazing concert at The New Theatre in Oxford has left Your Letterbox Nigel & his wonderful wife blown away, this wasn’t just any concert… oh no! This was a concert filled with a tribute dedicated to his all time favourites…
The atmosphere began building as we entered the stalls area, to be shown to our front row seats. The 1970’s and 80’s music playing in the background and the drum kit, guitars, keyboards and microphone stands all stood proudly, ready to be used for a night of entertainment.
At the time of the month where we would have reached the 70th birthday of this bands lead singer, his lookalike was preparing at the side of the stage to bring that enigmatic singer back to life. The show entitled ‘One Night of Queen’ was literally ready to rock the walls and ceilings of the theatre.
The lights dimmed and the opening bars of one of many signature tunes began in earnest. The guitar player plucked his electric strings, followed by a stick wielding drummer… yes, One Vision was playing and in walked the best Freddie Mercury impersonator out there, Gary Mullen.
Gary came to the publics’ attention, after winning the ITV show ‘Stars in their Eyes’ in 2000. His performance on that night yielded the most ever votes for a winner and catapulted Gary to rock stardom. Alongside his band called ‘The Works’, after one of Queens albums, he has played up and down the country, all around Europe and the rest of the world. His voice and performance is so uncannily like the great man himself, that if you rewound your mind and closed your eyes, you could be listening to Freddie Mercury on that stage.
With so much material to work on, you could come for four or five nights on the trot and hear a different concert. Tonight it was a 70’s and 80’s Queen fest. After One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, Seven Seas of Rye and the biggest cheer of the night so far, A kind of Magic, the 80’s theme continued with Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust and I Want to Break Free, followed by You’re My Best Friend. Four of the five band members then left the stage, with the lead guitarist doing a rocking six minute solo. The first half finishing with a medley of Killer Queen and Bicycle Race.
Refreshments were taken, not only by the band. Ice creams, wines, beers, sweets. The second half then began…
The heavy rock came to the fore with I Want It All and Now I’m Here. Then the relative quiet of Somebody to Love, Fat Bottomed Girls to Stone Cold Crazy. The opening piano bars then told everybody what was to come next. The first ever number one from 1975, five minutes fifty-five seconds long of pure perfection, yes Bohemian Rhapsody was heading our way. The whole audience sang every single word so loud that Gary on the microphone couldn’t be heard. The ending a drum and guitar crescendo for about a minute and well the biggest cheer of the night, if not the year!
The end was coming, but even with sore hands from clapping all night, sore knees and backs from dancing all night, we still wanted more. Hammer to Fall followed by Crazy Little Thing Called Love, where Gary Mullen and The Works, said their goodbyes and walked off the stage…
The clapping began in earnest and the shout of ‘more, more, more’ was ringing out. The drummer, guitarist, bassist and keyboard player all returned and the opening bars of Radio Ga Ga rang out. The whole audience geed up when Gary sprinted on stage and I swear that every single pair of hands in the theatre (including the staff and security guys) were in the air during the chorus.
Gary again left the stage, but the opening drum beat of We Will Rock You was the signal of Gary’s return draped in a Union Jack flag for the whole power-packed song. As usual at Queen concerts, the following song signalled what was ultimately the last of the night. Again the whole crowd joined in (like most of the night, if the truth be told) and I’m pretty sure that the people waiting outside for buses and sitting in restaurants and bars heard the loudest version of We Are the Champions ever.
Wolf whistles, cheers, clapping and stamping of feet and again ‘more, more, more’, but that was it… What a show!
Gary Mullen and The Works and their show One Night of Queen, rocked Oxford for two and a half hours. Every band member gave everything they had. Gary put every single ounce of energy and sweat into his portrayal of one of the most enigmatic showman that ever entered the stage of a concert or theatre.
Long may it continue, sell out shows every night can be testament to that. The music is as popular now as it was when it was first released and I’m pretty sure that Mr Mercury is smiling down on us from somewhere.
By Nigel P Lumsdale, for Your Letterbox