Queen; Night at The Corona Theater …

Freddy Mercury is a hard act to follow …

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Considered by many as the top front man in rock n roll history – his act cannot be duplicated. His theatrical ability, his charisma and his voice – a shooting star snuffed out. Too soon.

Sunday evening, Classic Albums Live – a ten year organization hell bent on recreating some of the best songs every laid down on vinyl, brought their interpretation of Queen’s fourth album; A Night at The Opera, to Montreal.

“I don’t know what it is …” Says founder Craig Martin from his home in Toronto. “Everywhere else, here in Ontario, the States – we are extremely popular. I don’t know if it is a language barrier or something but we just can’t seem to get going in Quebec.”

Judging by the response from an enthusiastic crowd on Notre Dame street, it is hard to believe …

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The group, a portion of the sixty member entourage of musicians which make up Classic Albums Live, consist of musicians dedicated to perfection.

” We have and continue to do all the top bands.” Explains Craig. “Zeppelin, the Who, Stones, Supertramp and Pink Floyd – to name a few. What people need to know is that every rendition of every album is a precise note by note interpretation. This is not our take on classic songs. These are classic songs performed by classy musicians.”

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One of these musicians, a man whose voice is instrumental as his instrument – is lead vocalist Phil Naro. The Rochester, N.Y – born father of two relatively grown kids, is a seasoned performer in the rock genre. Naro got his start playing in a band named Talis in the eighties. A group which consisted of Billy Sheehan of current Mr. Big fame and once a member of David Lee Roth‘s band. Naro met Craig Martin and the rest is falling into ‘ history’ – so to speak …

“The first gig I did with Craig was Who’s Next. It was great and since then I have done Supertramp, Zeppelin and Yes’ album, Closer to the Edge. Yes was a real challenge but I enjoyed it immensely.”

Classic Albums Live, as an organization, do not distract the crowd with theatrics. There is no bantering. There are no ‘Mercury – ial’ show stopping moments physically. Every show is about the music. The audience is listening to their old records in the basement of their youth. Sans the scratches …

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The first half of the show is the complete album. A Night at The Opera brought ‘You’re My Best Friend’ and the gem of the evening – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ to the forefront. Even Queen never performed this song ‘live’ as it was done on record. Classic Albums Live and the musicians pulled it off so well – a rock historian had to wipe tears of joy from their once reddened eyes.

The second half. Greatest hits.

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‘We Will Rock You ( We are the Champions), Under Pressure, Flat Bottomed Girls, Tie Your Mother Down‘ ( amongst others) – all set the table for ‘A Crazy Little Thing Called Love‘. An encore worthy of an encore.

Freddy Mercury is a hard act to follow. Classic Albums Live?

An act following hard in his path …

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One thought on “Queen; Night at The Corona Theater …”

  1. I saw Queen live in 1982. They did perform Bohemian Rhapsody live, until they got to the middle part. They lowered the lights and used tapes. It was so obviously fake, but of course forgiven. Nowadays they have the technology for Queen bands to pull it off live. I’ve seen Almost Queen many times and it’s truly amazing.

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