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"Brian has touched every guitar player
alive and every guitar player who’s about to play he’s touched."
- Paul Crook
"You’re going to hear the music done
in a way that a lot of Queen fans would want to hear it done" - Ty Taylor
We Will Rock You – Rock Opera
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Las Vegas, NV (USA)
Whether you grew up in the 70s or 80s loving
them, or discovered them in the 90’s and beyond, there aren’t many people
who aren’t familiar with the music of British mega-band Queen. The
arena titans, fronted by the larger than life Freddie Mercury have found
their way into just about everyone’s home and consciousness through the
various uses of their music even today – "We Will Rock You," "We Are
The Champions," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Don’t Stop Me Now," "Killer
Queen" and of course the song that Mike Myers brought to a whole new generation
of music fans in Wayne’s World – "Bohemian Rhapsody". Who will
ever forget that famous Gremlin scene with Mike and Dana Carvey paying
had it all – Talent, charisma, stage presence. They could all write
songs, sing and play in a world class league. Unfortunately, the
one thing they didn’t have was the ability to stay together as a unit due
to the untimely and very sad death of their front man Freddie to AIDS.
When Freddie died, Queen’s live act died too. The other three members
made the decision not to replace Freddie and to not continue as Queen.
Since that time, Queen fans the world over have clung tight to their recordings
and listened to them knowing that the band would never be the same.
Perhaps one of the worst things about this situation was the thought of
never hearing live Queen music again. Live performance was their
forte, their crowning (no pun intended) achievement, but now it was gone.
Depressing, isn’t it? Well Queen
fans, take heart! What would you say if I told you there was a place
where you could go to hear live Queen music played again and to celebrate
the band’s work and Freddie’s life? Just four words for you ba-by:
WE WILL ROCK YOU! This smash hit rock opera started in London in
May of 2002 and it plays to sold out crowds every night! In 2003
the show opened in Melbourne, Australia and in 2004 it arrived in Spain,
Russia, Germany, Canada and finally in the United States at the Paris Hotel
in Las Vegas. The production is the brain child of Brian May, Roger
Taylor and Ben Elton, a London based author and comic writer who’s career
achievements include best selling novels and iconic British TV such as
The Young Ones and Blackadder.
a Queen fan myself, where do I begin to tell you about this fantastic experience?
Right off, let me tell you that this IS live Queen music. Not played
by Queen, but each musician in the show is hand picked by Brian May and
Roger Taylor and they work with them to make sure that the sound is just
right. Many theatre goers think the cast is singing to recorded Queen
tracks. Those of you who have been lucky enough to hear Queen live
will flash back and those of you who have never experienced it will be
in heaven. Even if you were never a rabid Queen fan, or never even
heard of them, you will love the experience for its high energy and celebration
of music. The show is jam packed with greatest hits such as "Radio
Ga Ga," "I Want To Break Free, Somebody To Love," "Killer Queen," "Under
Pressure," "It’s a Kind Of Magic," "I Want It All" and many, many more,
all performed by world-class singers, dancers and musicians who are bursting
with energy and the excitement of the music.
So how do they put all this together you
ask? Well, of course there’s the story . . .
Globalization is complete. Everywhere, the kids watch the same movies,
wear the same fashions and think the same thoughts. It’s a safe,
happy Ga Ga world. Unless you are a rebel. Unless you want
to rock! On planet Mall (once called Earth), all musical instruments
are banned. The company computers generate the tunes and the kids
download them. It is an age of Boy Bands and Girl Bands – nothing
is left to chance and hits are scheduled years in advance. BUT, resistance
is growing. Underneath the gleaming cities, down in the lower depths
live the Bohemians. Rebels who believe that there was once a Golden
Age when the kids formed their own bands and wrote their own songs.
They call that time “The Rhapsody.”
Legend persists that somewhere on Planet
Mall instruments still exist. Somewhere, the mighty axe of a great
and hairy guitar god lies buried deep in the rock. The Bohemians
need a hero to find this axe and draw it from the stone. Is the one
who calls himself Galileo that man? But the Ga Ga Cops are also looking
for Galileo and if they get to him first, they will drag him before the
Killer Queen and consign him to oblivion across the "Seven Seas of Rye"
. . .
the story, by all means, but go for the music. It brought a tear
to this old Queen fan’s eyes. One after the other you are hit with
the music that several generations have grown up with, performed impeccably
by those who play it and those who sing it. Particularly moving is
a sequence in the show when the song No One But You is performed.
It is a beautiful tribute to all the rockers who died too young but gave
so much. Six huge plasma screens hidden in the darkness flash photos
of these legends, making it look like they are looking in on the show and
giving it their nod. A finer tribute I couldn’t imagine, a respect
for rocks roots and history. Of course the shows are all slightly
adapted in each country they play in to fit the location and the fan base,
but throughout all of them you can live the glory days of Queen.
only was this reporter lucky enough to see the London and Las Vegas shows
several times, but I was privileged to see a rare performance in the show
by the REAL DEAL, Brian May! Dropping in on the Vegas crowd on December
18th of 2004, he made the fantasy complete by giving up "Bohemian Rhapsody"
and "The Show Must Go On" to his minions. Now THAT’s a finale!
was just too good to experience for myself, and I wanted to bring you all
along but since I couldn’t, I’ve done the next best thing. I sought
out a cast member and a band member to talk to so you could get a feel
for the show from the inside out. Ty Taylor, who plays “Britney Spears”
in the Las Vegas production and Paul Crook, who plays Brian’s guitar parts
were nice enough to sit down with me and invite you into their world.
Enjoy the little insider treat my dearies! As the icing on the cake,
many of you know that we have asked our readers to submit questions to
Brian May and they are on their way to him now. We will be waiting
anxiously to see when he will have time in his busy schedule to drop in
on us in the Rocknworld. We are all dying to know more about the
“Queen Tour” that has been announced for the UK this year. Who’s
on it? What are they playing? Are they recording? Will
they come to the USA????? I’ve counted fans in 33 countries that
have voiced their desire for a Queen tour to come to their country.
We’ll wait and see what this year holds. In the meantime, prime the
pump and make a pilgrimage to one of the WWRY locations near you.
Its worth the trip and it is my pleasure to say that Freddie and Queen
live on . . .
Paul Crook Interview
Will Rock You Section of Queen Online
Las Vegas info page for We Will Rock You
for We Will Rock You Las Vegas
Official Merch for We Will Rock You!