Added on 05-May-2005
Review of the Manchester show by Manchester newspaper4 out of 5 stars
QUEEN without Freddie Mercury - what's the point? Like fat-free crisps or non-alcoholic beer, it could strike you as a fun-free experience.
Take away Mercury's flamboyant showmanship - you might be forgiven for thinking - and all you have left is an ageing drummer and a guitarist with a poodle perm.
I, for one, scoffed at the idea of Queen venturing back on the road after all these years, and without their much-loved lead singer.
However, with former Free and Bad Company frontman, Paul Rodgers, stepping in to perform vocals, they seemed to pull it off.
At the very least, they filled the M.E.N. Arena with an army of Queen fans eager to hear those hits sung live one more time - and they didn't mind too much who was doing the honours.
Obviously, watching Queen without Mercury is never going to be quite the same.
However, Rodgers did an admirable job of putting his own spin on things, sticking to his own, husky rock style rather than trying impersonations. I have to be honest - I am a Free girl at heart, so I actually thought his performance of All Right Now was one of the highlights of the night.
Later, curly-topped Brian May pleased the crowd no end with some fancy guitar solos, while Roger Taylor treated us to a moving version of Days Of Our Lives.
We Will Rock You
But it was the classics such as We Will Rock You and Radio Ga Ga that proved these members of British rock royalty can still get a stadium going.
However, nobody could replace Mercury when it came to Bohemian Rhapsody. So, instead, May and Taylor played along with a film of Mercury singing.
Although this could have been a monumental cop-out, it worked well and provided a fitting tribute to their late bandmate.
And, in the end they needn't have worried too much about missing out on showmanship skills as Bolton comic Peter Kay made a surprise guest appearance on stage before the encore to keep the crowd amused.
After his success with Amarillo, maybe they should sign him up for the next tour...