Freddie Mercury was much more than a closeted rock star. He was a songwriting legend, possessed a vocal range covering three and a half octaves and, at the peak of his career, was one of the most famous musicians in the world. His death from AIDS-related illness in 1991 was mourned by many: the gay community and hardcore straight rock fans alike.
Playing him onstage is the challenge facing Newcastle’s Chris Lee. Lee is the front-man in Queen -“ Champions Of The World, a touring show based on Queen’s last major concert series -“ featuring Freddie -“ in 1986. A fan since the age of eight (he’s 21 now), Lee was discovered singing one of Queen’s most soaring songs, 1976’s Somebody To Love, in a Newcastle karaoke bar. Being Freddie on stage, he says, is a dream come true.
I’ve been a fan for so long. There was a period of my life where I didn’t listen to anything but Queen, he says.
For me, as a singer-songwriter who has played in bands for years, Freddie Mercury is like an icon, the ultimate front-man. I never would have thought I would get to do this -“ it’s like a light in the sky.
The show is based on the 1986 tour for several reasons, he says. It was the last series they did, and it was also a tour in which Freddie et al happily mixed the band’s early hits with their later efforts.
It’s a really good point in their history, and it’s also the stage when people remember them the most.
For the record, he’s most looking forward to revisiting his favourite karaoke song in front of a bigger crowd.
Somebody To Love is the most fun song to sing. It pretty well goes from the bottom of the range to the top, and it’s so much fun, it has so much emotion. If you don’t throw yourself fully into it, it doesn’t work.
Queen -“ Champions Of The World is happening at Fairfield RSL’s Sapphire Showroom on Saturday 24 September. The show starts at 8:30pm and tickets are available from the venue on 9727 5000.
Sydney Star Observer has a double ticket and dinner for two at Queen -“ Champions Of The World to pass on to a lucky reader. A special two-course Queen menu dinner and a complimentary bottle of wine will be served in the award-winning La Tratt Restaurant. Email email@example.com by 4pm Friday 23 September and tell us your favourite Queen track.