When TFW was offered the opportunity to give away two tickets to One Night of Queen at the Walton Arts Center on March 15, I couldn’t do it without putting in my two cents. Simply because Queen — although lead singer Freddie Mercury was dead before I knew what rock n’ roll meant — was one of the first bands to make me dance uncontrollably and sing out loudly, “Why can’t we give love one more chance?”
Their dynamic songs like “Fat Bottom Girls,” mixed with sarcastic, cynical political statements in “Bicycle Race,” to the overarching epicness that is “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to the social understanding of “Under Pressure,” and the motivational battle cry of the people in “We Are The Champions,” Queen hits all the high notes of music (and I’m not talking about Mercury’s four-octave vocal range) with a message and sound that’s diverse and dynamic enough to reach the world, and generation after generation.
Freddie Mercury wrote not only these cross-generational classics, but some of his own solo work, while also producing and playing for other musicians. He was unapologetically flamboyant, outspoken, original and brave in his fight against our close-minded society, always letting his love of music shine through.
Although he died of complications from AIDS in 1991, he lives on as a cultural icon and an inspiration to people still being persecuted in our society — the poor, the confused, the homosexual, the overall different.
Although no one can ever quite take the place of Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen, critics and audiences say One Night With Queen performed by Gary Mullen & The Works comes dang close.
Mullen began portraying Freddie Mercury in 2000, when he won the grand finale of the British celebrity impersonation program Stars in Their Eyes with 864,838 votes — more than twice what the runner-up received, which is a record for the show. In 2002, Mullen formed his band The Works.
Mullen is known for bringing loads of energy to his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, typically strutting across the stage in white pants, old Adidas sneakers and, often by the end of performance, little else.
I can’t think of a more worthy band to honor with a talented tribute artist.
For ticket and event information, visit: The Walton Arts Center website