Radio Gaga


This is not a musical but a music tribute to Queen. At first I thought I was going to see Lady Gaga, but was told Radio Gaga was one of Queen’s songs. I’d seen Freddie Mercury and Brian May on TV but didn’t really go for their music. However for a night of entertainment for Queen fans, this tribute band is fantastic.

Dressed as Freddie Mercury, Mark Sanders stomps his way onto the stage in a mock military outfit like a drum majorette in white suit piped with red sequined stripes. From the first song, Flash (Ah Ah), Sanders has the audience in his grip in true showman-like style. Running through all the old favourites We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Me Now, Bicycle Race, Somebody to Love, Another One Bites the Dust and Killer Queen, the audience are soon hand waving and clapping along in glee. There is more of the pop of Queen’s later success than the heavy metal which characterised their early work.  There is some great guitar playing by Richard Ashford as Brian May on rhythm guitar and John Caulton as John Deacon on bass, enthusiastically supported by Michael Richards as Roger Taylor in control of the drums and Ben Parkinson on keyboard. The crowd love them.

A quick top change and Freddie’s jacket soon goes to reveal a cut arm T-shirt with a picture of Marilyn Monroe.  Sanders certainly has the strut and the moustache, commanding the stage with theatrical sweeps of his radio mic.  He has a strong rock voice which carries these well-known songs. The style is, of course, that of Mercury but he does not aim to be a Freddie Mercury impersonator, this is a tribute, not an imitation.

Sanders keeps up the dialogue with the audience, even being self-deprecating with none of the group taking themselves too seriously – Ashford even sporting a ‘Brian May’ wig as a fun gesture. Great lighting by Tye Connolly flashes around the group as the crowd joins in with the singing.

The place was packed out with mainly middle-aged men and women, but some younger people were obviously there to enjoy the resurrection of Queen’s songs. This is a  lively night of pop rock and a must-see for any Queen fans.

Queen is a brand that keeps on giving.  After the very successful musical We Will Rock You based on Queen songs and the award-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody, here is a very professional Queen tribute band giving their all to a West End audience. This was a one-night event at the West End but they are set to tour the North of UK, returning for the O2 in February. Catch them while you can.