Mercury raised a few temperatures at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre when the ultimate Queen tribute act gave us a sizzling evening of the band’s hits.
The Great Pretender is called Joseph Lee Jackson but, shoe-horned into a tight pair of leather trousers and given a serious amount of swagger, and he becomes Freddie Mercury. He’s so good at the gig that he’s played in front of Freddie’s mum and Queen drummer Roger Taylor.
Jackson has the flamboyance and confidence to pull off the part even affecting Mercury’s slightly toothy vocal patterns when speaking between songs. He also puts in a huge amount of energy to produce some sensational vocals. Jackson sensibly doesn’t try to hit Freddie’s high notes but still succeeds in giving a powerful performance.
It really was a high octane show that fired on all cylinders from the very first opening bars of Flash Gordon to the grand finale of the inevitable We Are The Champions.
The hits rolled seamlessly into one another, like a potted history of Queen that stretched from their very early days of Seven Seas of Rhye and Killer Queen right through to the stadium anthems of Radio GaGa, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You.
As a long time Queen fan (they played at my college as a fledgling super-group attempting to break into the business back in the early 1970s) I was in seventh heaven.
OK Jackson needs to lose a bit of weight and “Brian May” – guitarist Glen Scrimshaw – really needs to either grow his hair or buy a better wig (it looked like he had a dead poodle on his head) but the musicianship couldn’t be faltered.
The crowd were up in their seats as Jackson strutted around the stage, at one time adopting Freddie’s fake boobs, dress and wig for I Want To Break Free, and finally a Union Jack cape and crown.
Who Wants To Live Forever, of course, brought a lump to my throat, as it did to many a fan who misses Freddie Mercury’s very special and unique talent.
But this Mercury brought back some great memories and sent home a very contented audience.