Sunday, 4 March 2012


here's a peek at the program copy i wrote for the queen show
at massey hall
in toronto
on saturday april 14
well worth the drive
or the plane ticket
but i digress
please forgive the proper punctuation
and i really didn't mean anything derogatory about coldplay
(that comment was edited out)

Queen. What a perfect name for the band. We've come to just accept Queen. But back in 1973 when they began - they were a left turn for the music business - innovators in silk slacks with an arsenal of layered sounds and songs. Everyone paid attention. And still does. Pull out some of the early albums and listen to the music. It's a bit crazy. Somewhat manic. Frenzied with ports in the storm that soothe. And they were so young. Men in their twenties - putting all of their mojo into the music - as though their lives depended on it. I just don't get that feeling from today's artists. Ya think Coldplay slaves and sweats - foregoing common sense and urgency in order to get a sound that defines greatness? I don't.

Everybody overlooks Freddie's piano playing. He's a genius. We concentrate on his firework vocals and the flash of his personality. But alongside that was a committed musician who spent 10,000 hours honing his craft. The chording on "Bohemian Rhapsody' flows without rules. I've been scouting through old reviews and articles and never once does anyone mention his piano playing. I understand that his ashes were scattered. So next time you hear the lyric "anyway the wind blows" and you're outside and it's a tad breezy - make sure to thank Freddie for his piano playing.

Brian May's guitar sound is a direct result of the life he lives. He's an astrophysicist. It's true. And his guitar playing sounds…cosmic. He plays like he spent his formative years staring at the sky. Once he picked up a guitar, it was as though he used it to talk to the skies. If you look closely at some of the online photos of him - you can see a small satellite lodged in his hair. He's a master musician with the touch of a child. Perfect.

When we first tackled the 'Night at the Opera' album - one word that kept coming up was 'more'. More singers. More guitars. More harmonies. More money. Note for note is expensive when Queen is involved. There have been so many productions and tributes honouring the band, but nothing comes close to what we're about to do. At last count we'll have 44 musicians on stage. This includes a choir. I was a bit frenzied at rehearsals. More. More. Bigger. Thicker. Louder. More. The show at Massey Hall will not only be note for note - cut for cut, it will be perfect. Historic. And at times funny. Because like most British bands - their sense of humour was always in tact.

Classic Albums Live will perform Queen's 'Night at the Opera' at Massey Hall. Now that's what I call a threesome.

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