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Radio Gaga The Ultimate Celebration of Queen – Adelphi Theatre

Freddie Mercury really does (present tense, even in death) seem to be one of a kind. Either that or there’s a secret society of Queen tribute bands in which they have all agreed not to sound like him, irrespective of whether they can. Either way, Radio Gaga’s frontman, Mark Sanders, is as good as a tribute band singer gets – getting the crowd (sorry, West End theatre audience, at least on the night I went to see the show) going, clapping and singing along. I’m one of those people who finds amusement in misplaced audience enthusiasm at gigs of this nature, whether it’s clapping on the wrong beat, or someone getting so lost in the moment they sing the next lyric too early.

Radio Gaga The Ultimate Celebration of Queen - Adelphi Theatre
Radio Gaga The Ultimate Celebration of Queen – Adelphi Theatre

There aren’t many Queen tribute bands that can say they have even played a West End theatre, and on balance, this one deserved to be there, which says a lot, given how frankly terrible some tribute bands can be. Supporting Sanders was Richard “Brian May” Ashford, Michael “Roger Taylor” Richards, Jon “John Deacon” Caulton, plus Ben Parkinson on the piano. There was a good mix of songs, with lesser-known numbers included amongst those that make one think, “I know this one!” as soon as it begins.

Everything came together as it should – the lighting effects were astounding, the sound balance was just right, at least from where I was sat. This isn’t a show for the theatre etiquette brigade – mobile devices were out all over the place, sometimes recording entire numbers (the title song seemed popular) and there was dancing in the aisles. An actual Queen gig, I would imagine, might have been substantially louder: on the very rare occasions over the years when I’ve gone to a rock concert, I’ve left, as most people do, with ringing in my ears. If anything, I wondered if “Brian May”’s guitar should have been a tad louder. But the sound levels were very comfortable and allowed the audience to be heard whenever invited to sing along.

Sanders is a very likeable showman, and had several costume changes, including the iconic women’s outfit and vacuum cleaner seen in the music video for ‘I Want to Break Free’. There were no video projections to speak of, and little in the way of backstory – some songs weren’t introduced at all, with the band launching straight into them. A wonderful couple of hours of escapism: you might even say it’s a kind of magic.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Break free with us and shake all over like a jellyfish as Radio GaGa recreates two magical hours live on stage, celebrating the magic, fun and showmanship of the band’s touring days.

Playing all your favourite hits including Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want to Break Free, We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody and more.

Like all good things, on you we depend, so stick around because we have missed you and we say…

The Ultimate Celebration of Queen
Adelphi Theatre
Strand, London

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