The highlight of Queen's first show in San Jose, and its first U.S. tour in 26 years, was the night's strangest moment, and the solution to its biggest problem.
How was this band, with two original members and fill-in singer Paul Rodgers, going to do its most bizarre opus, the goofball rock operetta ``Bohemian Rhapsody,'' which was deceased frontman Freddie Mercury's biggest and most florid signature piece?
<<BoRhap is a goofball rock operetta? It's consistently ranked as one of rock's greatest songs? What have you written, besides drivel like this??>>
The answer, was for drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May, and a cast of extras, to play it along with a video of Mercury performing in a live concert.
Voila! That was the Queen we remembered. That was real original Coke; that was classic, classic rock, as opposed to reinterpreted classic rock. That was James Bond played by Sean Connery, not the faceless guys who followed.
<<We all enjoy the classics, but welcome to 2006! Whether it is Queen 2006, Coke with Lime, or new action heroes, time marches forward. It's good to pay respect to the past while pushing things forward no matter what it is. Consider the Star Wars 1977 vs Star Wars 2006. Sometimes newer may or may not be better, but it is going to be different. We always want our artists to progress based on their age and experiences and not get stuck simply rehasing what they did on their last album.>>
And as morbid as this might sound, maybe they should have played the whole show along with video of Mercury.
<<While not a bad idea, it seems that only Elvis Presley Enterprises has been able to successfully mount a show with a dead artist and the remaining living band members with Elvis - The Concert. It played at Davies Symphony Hall to a sold out crowd.>>
It got the night's biggest response and was somehow more true to the original Queen concept than dressing up Rodgers in white flowered bell bottoms and a red tank top and expecting us to imagine him as a charismatic, flashy gay man.
<<Paul Rodgers is not a Freddie Mercury impersonator nor is he a flashy gay man. You obviously came to the show with your own homophobic sterotypes which clouded your judgement in writing a successful critique of the show presented to you.>>
He still looked like a bricklayer, and his voice, best suited for the blues-based beefy rock he played with Bad Company, could never catch the pirouettes and trills that Mercury wrote into his songs.
<<Paul Rodgers comes from the rock/blues genre and interprets the Queen catalog with his own style. If you were looking for the exact interpretation of Queen, you should have seen them pre-1985.>>
That said, the night was hardly a total loss, for a mostly full HP Pavilion. In fact, there were moments when the power of the songs rang as true as when they were debuted decades ago. On the mid-range vocal numbers, ``Crazy Little Thing Called Love'' and ``Radio GAGA,'' it was easy to forget that Mercury wasn't there. Taylor started the vocal on the latter, joined by Rodgers.
<<Why didn't you say something about the show standing up on the basis of the music and musicianship alone? No need for sexy dancers, busy choreographed bits, overblown stage effects, flashpots, flames, etc.>>
On ``Under Pressure,'' the rest of the band did the high Mercury part, while Rodgers filled in the lower lines David Bowie sang in the original. A chorus of voices did fine on ``Tie Your Mother Down,'' the show opener, after the band came out to what might be the most unlikely classic rock opener ever, Eminem's ``Lose Yourself.''
Mercury, who helped pioneer hip-hop crossover with ``Another One Bites the Dust,'' would have approved. It's hard to imagine, however, that he was happy with his bandmates backing Rodgers on the unironic meat and potatoes Bad Company and Free songs, ``Can't Get Enough of Your Love,'' ``F
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