Queen Nation to string together a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at the Egyptian
Queen Nation 8 p.m., Wednesday Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 28 The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. $35 to $55 435-649-9371 parkcityshows.com
Gregory Finsley said this is the year to sing in a Queen tribute band because of the buzz surrounding Rami Malek’s portrayal of singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.””It’s giant, and we’re very busy,” said Finsley, Queen Nation’s lead singer. “I couldn’t ask for a better gig during a time when I can’t even turn around without seeing the movie poster on buses, and bus stops and billboards.”
Finsley will bring the Freddie Mercury hype to Park City when Queen Nation plays at 8 p.m. from Dec. 26 through 28 at the Egyptian Theatre.
The concerts will give audiences the Queen experience through sight and sound, Finsley said.
Songs include “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Stone Cold Crazy” and, of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” according to the singer.
“We’re trying to pay homage to Queen and the iconic songs that have been out for so many decades,” Finsley said. “We play to audiences from 48 to 9,000 people, and we make sure we play what they want to hear.”
Queen Nation has spent the past few years touring the Western Hemisphere – both on land and at sea.”We have been able to perform in Canada, Jamaica and have been blessed with performing on cruises,” said Finsley, who has been with the band for 11 of its 14 years. “The audiences have been great. It seems everybody is singing more of the words with us, now. And the all-ages shows are probably some of our favorites to do because parents and their kids are there.”
Finsley takes his role seriously because Mercury, who redefined the meaning of “rock star” before his passing in 1991, was such an icon.
“Before we go on stage, I have to have to ‘clock’ in as Freddie Mercury and remember his mannerisms, the quirks and the twists,” he said. “I have get the inflections and tonalities. Freddie didn’t use a lot of falsetto, so I have to bring what I have.”
Every few weeks, Finsley gives himself a refresher course by listening to an album or reviewing footage of Queen’s live performances.
“It pays to go over some scenes you like or even don’t like just so I can hear how he enunciates and pronounces things here and there,” he said. “We have to also make sure we have a good, fitted costume wardrobe, which we continually try to do.”
The more challenging songs in the sets for Finsley include uptempo compositions such as “Stone Cold Crazy.”
“The trick is to make sure you don’t go faster than you have to, especially if you’re already amped up for the show,” he said. “The more you pull back the adrenaline, the song gets fatter and bigger.”
As for hitting the notes written for Mercury’s wide vocal range, Finsley said the songs “The Show Must Go On” and “Somebody to Love” push his voice.
“You want to get those high glissando notes at the end,” he said. “The more you bring in that authenticity, you start to hear people tell you that the show takes them back to their 11th grade, or that they got married to this song or that song.”
Even as he pays tribute to a discography as deep and varied as Queen’s, Finsley is hard-pressed to name his favorite track.”‘If I had to name three,” he said, “I would have to say ‘The Prophet Song’ and ‘Take My Breath Away’ and some of the stuff off of their ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ album.”
Finsley said his performances wouldn’t be where it is without his bandmates — guitarist Mike McManus, bassist Parker Combs and drummer Peter Burke.
“These are the finest gentlemen I’ve ever worked with,” Finsley said. “They are the consummate musicians. They have great talents aside from their musicality.”
Finsley’s older cousin introduced the future superfan to Queen in the mid-1970s, the band’s prime.
“After I took my Kiss posters down, he brought over the ‘News of the World’ album and we played it and it was amazing,” Finsley said.
A few months later, that same cousin took Finsley and his girlfriend to see Queen in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It was Dec. 10, 1977, at the Tarrant County Convention Center, and I will never forget it,” Finsley said. “The band rose out of the smoke and I saw Freddie in the whole diamond outfit, and it was an incredible experience.”
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