Mercury – 20th Anniversary Tour
Back in October 2018 after 10 years in the making, Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ hit the big screen and the world was reminded of just why we loved Freddie Mercury. Seven months on and I still don’t see any of us getting bored of his epic hits anytime soon. I know I’m taking every opportunity to embark on another night of Queen magic, and last night I went along to Playhouse Whitley Bay for ‘Mercury – 20th Anniversary Tour’.
This wasn’t my first time seeing the award-winning tribute band. My first being in 2015. When I knew nothing about Queen, vaguely recognised ‘Radio Gaga’, and thought Freddie Mercury was from Wales. I have no idea why. I’d went along with my husband who is a fan, and I may not have known any of the songs, but had a fantastic night, nonetheless.
This time, I returned with slightly more background knowledge, and as a new age fan. I returned as one of many fans of all ages. I don’t think there was a single empty seat in the auditorium – and you could feel the excitement before the show even started.
The opening lyrics to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was followed by a medley of ‘Flash’ ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Another One bites the Dust’ kicking off the show. The first full track ‘Hammer to fall’ was followed with a loud crack and bright white firework flash from both sides of the stage. Freddie (Joseph Lee Jackson) then interacted with the audience asking if everybody was happy, triggering enthusiastic replies and cheers.
The first half of the show continues with some of the bigger hits we all know and some I hadn’t heard before. But that didn’t stop me tapping and clapping in my seat. My husband who came along more than willingly as my plus one, knew them all. He grew up listening to Queen his parents being fans.
The first half of the night was magnificent. The highlight easily being the gentleman who came dressed in full on ‘I want to break free’ getup. As soon as the familiar intro sounded, he was on his feet and the rest of the audience soon followed.
The second half continued again with a mix of some of the slower moments such as ‘Days of our Lives’ and ‘Love of my Life’ along with Queens classic high-octane hits. Highlight of the second half for me was a fantastic performance of the highly anticipated 1984 chart hit ‘Radio Gaga’. The energy in the auditorium and atmosphere by this point, was just something else.
The evening also showcased the talents of the other band members with solo performances from Pat Coleman (Roger Taylor) Glen Scrimshaw (Brian May), Mike Scrimshaw (John Deacon) and Lee Harvey performing as Spike Edney, who would tour with Queen in the live concerts, on the keyboard.
The show came to a sudden end, and as the crowd shouted for an encore. Jackson returned to the stage carrying a giant Union Jack, then broke into the floor stomping ‘We Will Rock You’. Then a sea of clasped hands in the air swayed to ‘We are the Champions’. A sudden burst of paper streamers flew from the ceiling and into the audience. Joseph Lee Jackson then took his bow decked in a flowing cloak and jewelled crown and left the stage with the rest of the band ending a night of complete splendour and nostalgic exhilaration.
Mercury is nothing short of a dynamic stage show which fully emulates the true charismatic appeal of rocks most flamboyant front man. Along with amazing harmonies and formidable musicianship. A mesmerising and energetic two and a half hours packed with nonstop hits.
Joseph Lee Jackson is a superb Freddie. Not only bearing an uncanny resemblance to the legend himself and a remarkable voice which consistently sounded like him. Along with several iconic outfit changes throughout the evening, and adopting the mannerisms, the attention to detail which goes into the show is superb.
Jackson engages well with the audience emulating Freddie with ‘dee-oys’ (my husband particularly enjoying these parts to the extent I had to cover my right ear) and plenty of encouragement to get up and dance. I always enjoy a performance which has that more immersive feel. I’d say for the most part of the second half of the show, the theatre had well and truly come alive.
Mercury is possibly the closet you can get to a Queen experience. It is evident that the whole band have put their heart and soul into making this a must see show. And I know I’ll be there again next tour.
Just fabulous .
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Disclosure: All Reviews have been provided by gifted opportunities or press access offered to us in return for an open and honest review. All reviews are subject to the opinion of the reviewer.
Reviewer – Louise Sharp. Read more from me at https://louisealexasharp.com