LYNN — In his unique way, Freddie Mercury was among the most iconic lead singers in the annals of rock.
When you combined a powerful set of pipes with an uncanny knack for showmanship, drama and timing, Freddie might have topped them all — and that’s a pretty heady list of singers we’re talking about.
It is, therefore, difficult if not impossible for anyone other than Freddie to be Freddie.
But Patrick Myers did his best to fill the bill Thursday night at City Hall Auditorium when he brought his band “Killer Queen” to Lynn for a show that packed plenty of wallop in the close-to-90-minute concert. From a suitable distance, Myers was a fairly competitive facsimile to Freddie, nee Farrokh Bulsara. He had the moves down. And he had the late-period Queen look down too: shorter hair as opposed to the long, flowing locks; wardrobe, and even — and Lord knows how he did it — the overbite. Not to mention he could sing a little too. As Queen was known as much for its campiness as its music, that part of the act fit right in.
But as anyone who ever listened to Queen can attest, the group wasn’t just known for its theatrical presentation. As the first word to the song “Killer Queen” might attest, the group was backboned by the ferocious guitar licks of Brian May. Simon Small, who had the arduous task of replicating May’s skills (not to mention his look; one wonders how much product he used to get that May mop to fall just right), was the master of his axe. And if you squinted just right…
Of course, Freddie’s dead (having passed in 1991 due to complications from AIDS). And while several singers have tried to step up over the years to fill the void, and even though the group itself has tried to soldier on, there was only one Freddie Mercury. Thus, as in the case with most of the boomer legends, we’re left with our memories, our records, and our tribute bands. And this one is one of the better tribute bands.
The group stuck to what made the mothership famous: hits and memorable album cuts. It didn’t dig so deep into the repertoire that you’d have had to spend your entire life holed up in your mother’s basement listening to nothing but Queen to recognize the songs. There were maybe one or two songs that you’d call off the beaten track. But the group stuck mainly to the hits that made Queen famous.
And, boy oh boy, those hits came out in rapid-fire succession. They almost made you dizzy. At one point the musicians rattled off “Another One Bites the Dust,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Killer Queen (the song),” “Bicycle Race” and “Fat-Bottomed Girls” practically without taking a breath.
It was a Queen fan’s Nirvana. Myers, early and often, exhorted the crowd to stand up, clap, wave their arms, and dance. That only added to the festive mood — so much so that people of ALL shapes and sizes danced gleefully to “Fat-Bottomed Girls.”
It’s difficult to do a concert in tribute to a band with so many memorable songs and do justice to them all. But honestly, I can’t think of any glaring omissions. They were all there. “Under Pressure,” “Radio Gaga,” “Somebody to Love,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” and, of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” (the latter three serving as encores).
Saying that it’s darn near impossible for anyone other than Freddie Mercury to be Freddie Mercury doesn’t diminish the show Myers and his band put on. It was extremely entertaining. And the crowd certainly ate it up.
If you’re itching for a taste of live Queen, “Killer Queen” is a pretty decent substitute.
They did, they did, rock us.