One of the world’s premier tribute bands is getting ready to light up the stage at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 18 during it’s country-wide tour. Queen: It’s A Kinda Magic takes fans back to the glory days of Freddie Mercury and his iconic British band, Queen.
“My first memory of Queen was listening to their Greatest Hits (album) in my father’s car whilst he drove me to school,” said Giles Taylor, who fronts the tour as Mercury. But there’s still an “attraction to their music that is very feel-good and sing-a-long, yet also very musically complex … (when) compared to … a lot of today’s popular music.”
In addition to the nostalgia, Taylor says performing as Mercury has been an incredible opportunity.
“Playing (this roll) allows me to encompass two of my greatest musical passions: playing the piano and singing,” explained Taylor, who’s the only Freddy Mercury impersonator who plays both piano and guitar live on stage while singing.
The show, which has been touring for six years, recreates Queen’s 1986 World Tour concert and features two hours of the band’s greatest hits performed live, including We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, Bicycle, Somebody to Love, and Fat-Bottomed Girls.
“We are lucky to have had great reactions from audiences on all continents and enjoy bringing the show to new countries to gauge their response,” said Taylor of their past shows.
And now they’re back in Canada.
“We toured Canada back in 2015 and had an amazing reception from all provinces,” he continued. And although the Chilliwack region holds many interesting sights, “we (won’t) get much time to appreciate any local landmarks (or) hot spots as much as we would like.”
Aside from the timeless music, producer Johnny Van Grinsven attributes the show’s continued success to the attention-to-detail: everything from the costumes, instruments and even the lighting cues have been designed to replicate those seen in real Queen concerts.
“I enjoy all of the flamboyant costumes I get to wear,” said Taylor. “They start off relatively sensible at the beginning of the show, and by the end, have gone through the spectrum of theatrical extremes to become utterly ridiculous.
“It’s so much fun!”
Making Queen: It’s A Kinda Magic extraordinarily authentic is the involvement of Peter Freestone, Freddie Mercury’s best friend, biographer, personal assistant and constant companion for the final 12 years of his life. As production consultant, Freestone has schooled the cast and producers on the characters and nuances of the original band in order to perfect the performance.
“We’re extremely lucky to have Peter involved,” said Van Grinsven. “He knew Freddie and the boys so well: his knowledge about their personalities, their musical styles, how they moved and played and even their sense of humor has really helped take this show to the next level.”
Because recreating Queen is no small feat, Taylor is accompanied by jaw-dropping solos that show off the unassumingly good musicianship of Richie Baker as Brian May on guitar, and Kyle Thompson as Roger Taylor on drums, with Steven Dennett as John Deacon on bass.
“When people come to the show we aim to have them leaving with the perception that they have just seen the real Queen live,” explained Taylor.
Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic will be at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 18. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online at queenitsakindamagic.com.