Added on 26-Jan-2005
Queen will never be champions without Freddie
As the ageing rockers return to the stage, Caroline Sullivan questions the band's motives.Wednesday January 26, 2005
Long live Queen ... but not without frontman Freddie Mercury.
· For many of us Queen may have ceased to exist when Freddie Mercury died in 1991, but that hasn't stopped the remaining three members from enjoying consistent hit singles and albums (mainly re-releases and compilations) under the Queen name for the last 13 years.
They have, however, stopped short of appearing on stage, perhaps out of respect for Mercury. Until now that is, when it seems they have overcome their qualms. Last week all UK tickets sold out (some within hours) for what guitarist Brian May claims will be one final tour, starting on March 28 at London's Brixton Academy and ending, 24 dates later, at Wembley Arena Pavilion.
But what will customers get for their money? Well, in place of Mercury, they've lined up former Free and Bad Company member Paul Rodgers (he of "enduring radio classics" such as Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy and Run With The Pack). His stubbly, blues-belting machismo makes him the very last person (bar the flat-capped guy in AC/DC) one might expect to fill in for Freddie, much as it was for Terence Trent D'Arby to play with INXS in Michael Hutchence's place and Ian Astbury to stand in for Jim Morrison (in your dreams, Astbury).
Anticipating that this weird collision of aesthetics would rouse protests that "this ain't Queen", they've taken the precaution of billing themselves as Queen plus Paul Rodgers. Frankly, it shames the lot of them, believing they can slip in a substitute for the deceased frontmen who were the very essence of their groups.
Queen official site
Brian May official site
Queen fan site
Paul Rodgers official site