Review: Radio Gaga at Tyne Theatre
Radio Gaga – Tyne Theatre and Opera House
7th July 2023
I need to show my colours before I start this review. I am a huge Queen fan and I was very keen to come along to this performance for a couple of reasons. The last time Radio Gaga performed at the glorious Tyne Theatre and Opera House, I was working on stage door so I met the band but only really heard them through the speakers from backstage. I remember wishing that I was in the audience to experience it properly. No such worries this year as Mark and his band of extremely talented musicians took to the stage this evening.
My views on tribute bands have somewhat altered over the last few days because I am just back from my very first music festival up in Stanhope that featured a number of them. Previously, I held a jaundiced view that tribute bands were a waste of time and generally naff. My opinion has been vastly changed and even more so by the wonderful night of entertainment that I experienced this evening.
Radio Gaga is a very accomplished performance that does not seek to imitate Queen as such but to provide an experience which gives as near the performative element of a Queen concert – and Pure Queen as they are also known does that with some aplomb. The band is made up of Mark Sanders as Freddie, Richard Ashford as Brian May, Tristan Snowden-Poole as Roger Taylor, Jon Caulton as John Deacon and supported by Ben Parkinson on keys. Musically they are all very talented indeed. As I suggested, this is not about copying Queen – this is a production about the experience. Every member of this band plays a part in providing that and the audience are integral to it too.
Mark is every bit the performer. While he does not have the vocals of Mr Mercury (no-one ever will) he is a superb performer. His role is to get the audience into the spirit ofQueen and the memory of the late Freddie Mercury. He makes sure that everyone has a superb evening and he does itwith skill, some blooming good vocals of his own and a great deal of energy.
A night such as this in a traditional theatrical venue is a challenge. The security and hospitality and front of house staff of The Tyne Theatre and Opera House really stepped up to the plate and made sure that a huge audience had a superb night from the opening number to the inevitable champion end.There were people up and down all evening, whether it to be get a drink at the bar which remained open throughout the performance or to pop to the toilet. Dancing happened in the aisles and at the front and back of the auditorium on all levels and photography and videoing were allowed from the word go. This is not for the theatrical purists but I can say that the management of the event was top notch. I can only applaud Steve, front of house manager and Olivia, stage manager for presiding over a very smooth event which the entire audience thoroughly enjoyed.
The technical team, who I did not recognise, did a wonderful job with some appropriate lighting, effective snap blackouts and even dealt with a couple of ‘oopsies’ with occasionally hilarious adlibs. I did feel that ‘Brian May’s’ guitar could have been louder in his wonderful solos and that in general the sound could have been cranked up a few notches given the nature of the event.
I have had a superb evening and I will certainly look out for this very talented band again in the future and they will no doubt be back again at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House soon to delight even more of the very appreciative audience.
– Stephen Stokoe
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- Flip Review at Alphabetti Theatre Newcastle - 11 October 2023
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