Music

3rd March 2020

Queen Symphonic @ Liverpool Philharmonic | Gig Review

Queen Symphonic…

Queen are a legendary band that need no introduction. With over 180 million records sales across 15 studio albums, it does not matter if you are head banging to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in a car or drunkenly singing it in a pub. Maybe you are hoovering, screaming ‘I Want to Break Free’, or you want to ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ – I’ll stop. 

Since the Queen Symphonic debuted in 2000, thousands upon thousands have flocked to enjoy ‘A Kind of Magic’. With over 30 onstage performers consisting of a live band, an orchestra, as well as names like Jenna Lee-James, Jon Boydon, Rachael Wooding, and Peter Eldridge, four legends that have starred in the smash-hit musical We Will Rock You, you are guaranteed a royal experience.  

The Performance…

The pure talent and musicianship that everyone demonstrates is outstanding, from the rip-roaring guitar solos, to the dexterity the orchestra showcases, adding another layer of beauty to the magic of Queen.

Song after song, hit after hit, you cannot help but find yourself saying (for the fifteenth number in a row) ‘I love this song!’

What is special about the orchestration is the ability to create medleys out of songs you would not necessarily put together, but more so, integrating songs that many forget from Queen’s early catalogue, such as ‘The Fairy Fellers Master-Stroke’. The song may not be sung, but it is appreciated that there is an acknowledgement to the wealth of music Queen has created, through their varying sounds and influences.

The Vocals…

Of course, the vocals are phenomenal. The way each performer harmonises with each other, as well as the duets, such as ‘Under Pressure’, this is a clear master-class in vocal ability.  What is more impressive is each one of the performer’s overall stage presence. It does not matter that there is a full orchestra behind them, the interaction with the band and the orchestra unifies them all, that this is a collective force, not us and them. This simple integration makes the shows presence all the more powerful, and certainly emotional. 

Whilst exploring Queen’s experimental side, singing the likes of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, the audience are bouncing away, clapping and singing until their lungs collapse. Yet, when ‘Love of My Life’ begins with the orchestra, slowly building, it is impossible not to have goose bumps and be overwhelmed by the whole experience. Already in a fragile state, once Jenna Lee-James yearningly sings ‘Love of my life, you’ve hurt me…’, you are drowned in emotion, as if the very words were written by herself. You could hear a pin drop, as the audience sit in awe. This may be a feeling you think can only happen once, but the order of the songs tricks you into a false state of feeling enjoyment before you are once again with ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, or ‘These are the Days of Our Lives’, and there you go again, crying. 

On the flip side, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful, with hits like ‘Another One Bites the Dust’, and ‘Hammer to Fall’, it is impossible not to be stood on your feet, screeching the lyrics, thinking you are Freddie Mercury himself. Upon looking around the room, it is clear everyone else is thinking the same; you are not alone, you are in a room full of adoring fans and wannabe Freddies. 

As the band continually integrates the audience, encouraging everyone to sing and clap along, there was one song that required no assistance; ‘Radio Ga Ga’. The whole room double claps in unison and reaches out to the band, recreating Queen’s now iconic video. It was a minuscule Live Aid, with the sea of hands, reaching out in pure joy. 

Queen’s music will continue to endure, and what is fantastic is that even today, fans of all ages continue to find pleasure and happiness, and sometimes solace, in Queen’s music, and with Queen Symphonic, it demonstrates that not only is Queen’s music still sounding as fresh as it did upon first release, that the music can be explored in many different ways, taking the audience to new plains. 

Listen…

Whilst the Queen Symphonic now heads across Europe to continue touring this fantastic show, why not listen to Queen, and feel like you are a bit of Freddie.