Killer Queen Rocks Harris Center

“One Night of Queen,” featuring Gary Mullen and the Works, blasted into Folsom for a high-energy “kick you in the ass rock & roll” concert (as front man Gary Mullen told Monday night’s enthusiastic audience).

When it comes to my tribute concerts, I have incredibly high standards.  And when it comes to Queen, I held the belief that there is no substitute for Freddy Mercury’s voice.  I am a die-hard Queen fan.  I know the lyrics.  I know the backup harmonies and the intricacies of Mercury’s voice incredibly well.  I grew up with Queen’s “Greatest Hits” album almost permanently in my CD player.

Mullen and the Works, much to my surprise, completely won me over.  Mullen himself has managed to revive Mercury’s voice and exuberant stage presence for a generation of concert-goers who never had the opportunity to see the original deliver a performance.

And the backup band is killer!  The lead guitarist, David Brockett, carries a ton of weight in this show, delivering scorching solos that are reminiscent of the recordings while still adding a few sizzling twists.  Keyboardist Malcolm Gentles also gives a rock solid performance, filling out the chords, and – from what I could hear – never missing a note.  Billy Moffat lays down a reliable bass line, and drummer Jonathan Evans keeps everyone on-track.

The light show that accompanies the stellar music was fantastic.  The lightboard operator was clearly locked into the music as much as the band, because the cues were exactly on-point.  The sound balance was also fantastic in all regards except for the backup vocals.  Queen’s music has some incredible harmonies, and we couldn’t always hear those come through.  However, Mullen’s lead vocals were consistently prominent without being overbearing, so no complaints there.

In short, this was a fantastic concert.  Absolutely killer performances by all.  If you’re a fan of classic rock, put “One Night of Queen” of your To-See List.

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