Is there anything more British than a sold out auditorium full of theatregoers all singing the entirety of Bohemian Rhapsody in unison? Thought not. Radio Gaga brought that and more with their Queen tribute act currently touring the UK.
Taking to the stage, Mark Sanders is our Freddie Mercury for the night, bringing all the enthusiasm to the part and wearing a selection of different iconic outfits while doing so. Joining him are Jon Caulton as John Deacon on bass guitar and Richard Ashford as Brian May on lead guitar, who absolutely nail those famous solos; Michael Richards as Roger Taylor on drums does some epic stick tricks, and not forgetting Ben Parkinson's great work on the keys.
Getting the audience in the mood for some quality music from the start, Queen undoubtedly has one of the best and most successful back catalogues in history: an incredible feat that comes with difficulty emulating the distinctive tones of the band. Immediately, Mark's infectious personality as the leading man charms everyone, and you can't resist joining in, having the freedom to sing, dance, and clap along as you please.
With too many hits to fit into the set, every track carefully selected is guaranteed to be enjoyed. Featuring 'Don't Stop Me Now', 'Somebody To Love' and 'Killer Queen' to name just a few, it seemed as if the performance only kept getting better as it progressed, and the band warmed into it along the way. 'Under Pressure' is a solid representation of the adopted nuances of the band, particularly with the little sounds and movements, clearly studied for accuracy (even with 'Freddie' getting quite sweaty, and loving a bum tap!). 'Another One Bites The Dust' was a fantastic demonstration vocally too, but the attire for 'I Want To Break Free' was undeniably the most memorable. Lighting design by Tye Connolly helped to enhance the atmosphere further,
'We Are The Champions' gets hands in the air, as does 'We Will Rock You' and 'Radio Gaga' but for opposite reasons, showing the versatility and range amongst the setlist, yet all allowing for plenty of participation however much or little you desire. The famed 'Ay Oh' recall and similar are often used; met with a keen response every time, drawing in the crowd at every given opportunity as Freddie Mercury did himself.
Radio Gaga notably marks their respect by not trying to replicate Queen but by simply honouring their legacy as a band. Specifically dedicating 'These Are The Days of Our Lives' to Freddie, it is evident that highlighting this fact is important in what they do, as well as being authentic to give the true tribute experience.
In all, the show is a massively fun night out, with the expectation and understanding that it isn't the real deal, but a compromise with a bunch of excellent musicians trying to do justice for an act impossible to entirely become. You won't be able to pick a favourite song, and they'll just leave you wanting more. Take a look to see if Radio Gaga are performing near you, and make sure to get your tickets: they'll be gone in a flash.