By Duncan Evans
Fans of British rock group Queen are in for a treat this Saturday with the arrival of tribute band Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody at the Pilbeam Theatre for a night of operatic rock and flamboyance.
Led by renowned Freddie Mercury impersonator Thomas Crane, the group will perform Queen’s major hits, including We Will Rock You, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, We Are the Champions, Radio Ga Ga, A Kind of Magic, I Want to Break Free, Another One Bites the Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody.
CQ Today spoke with Mr Crane to learn what it is about Queen that so entrances him and what audiences can expect from the show.
In a Scottish accent, Mr Crane said he fell in love with Queen as a 14-year-old schoolboy in Edinburgh.
“I always remember I had a denim jacket, denim was the trend at the time, and I wrote Queen on the back of my jacket in black texter, in bold writing,” he said.
“As soon as I heard his voice, I knew that I loved the guy. I loved his singing.”
When we fall in love, sometimes the initial swoon is abstracted from reason and we don’t know why it is exactly we love something. Only later can we discern some clear reasons for the passion. When asked specifically what it was about Queen that propelled his love, Mr Crane replied:
“The versatility in their music was an attractive quality. I loved his harmonies, the tone of his voice, the structure of the songs.
“I loved orchestra, I loved orchestrated songs. Queen seemed to bring that in the later years. He (Freddie Mercury) loved opera too.”
Mr Crane reads books about Mr Mercury to gain a sharper insight into the man he impersonates on stage.
“I’m learning things about him that make me understand him more. I just feel more of a connection when I’m reading things and seeing what’s happened in his life. Because we compare lives when we become someone, we look at all that stuff.”
Mr Crane lists The Great Pretender as his favourite song to sing.
“There are stronger and weaker songs in terms of getting it right, getting it perfect,” he said.
Mr Crane’s tribute group has been performing for 28 years and their extensive experience means they know what audiences want and how to deliver it.
“We play the greatest hits,” he said.
Mr Crane said the feeling of being on stage and performing was an exhilarating one.
“Delivering what people want to hear, it’s overwhelming. It’s the best thing, you can’t compare it to anything. It’s the best place to want to be at the time. It’s such a high. I don’t take drugs or anything like that, but I could imagine it would be better than that. It’s a magical moment. I look at people’s faces from the stage. I’m a musician, and I know what it takes, and I know what people want at the end of the day. There’s nothing more disappointing than going and seeing a band, and they don’t sound like the band you want to see, if it’s a tribute band especially,” he said.
“I just light their faces up. I see that smile. They know what’s coming, they know what they’re expecting, and we give them that. We don’t cut corners or anything like that. We’re pretty true to what Queen are and what we do.”
Altogether, Mr Crane gives the impression of a true professional and one with the chops to deliver a great night out for Central Queensland’s Queen aficionados.