Freddie Mercury, Queen, Toronto 1978. Photo by Paul Ruta
Call me a philistine but I don’t hear what everybody else seems to hear Freddie Mercury’s singing. Sure, I like Bohemian Rhapsody as much as Wayne and Garth do, but after a few songs the histrionic warbling gets tiresome. Brian May, on the other hand, now there’s a clever one. The voice that speaks through his homemade guitar is likely the most unique in rock music since Hendrix: it’s a miracle of textures that sound at once organic and otherworldly. Even if Brian May couldn’t point to the sun on a sunny day I’d vote him Head of Astrophysics at Liverpool University just for being awesome. Still, I’ve never been a huge Queen fan. I went to this concert because I had free tickets and a story to write; I hoped they’d play Brighton Rock early in the set then I could leave. But they were jaw-droppingly great, and no doubt I was the only one at Maple Leaf Gardens that night taken by surprise. Very possibly the best stadium rock show I’ve seen.

Freddie Mercury, Queen, Toronto 1978. Photo by Paul Ruta

Call me a philistine but I don’t hear what everybody else seems to hear Freddie Mercury’s singing. Sure, I like Bohemian Rhapsody as much as Wayne and Garth do, but after a few songs the histrionic warbling gets tiresome. Brian May, on the other hand, now there’s a clever one. The voice that speaks through his homemade guitar is likely the most unique in rock music since Hendrix: it’s a miracle of textures that sound at once organic and otherworldly. Even if Brian May couldn’t point to the sun on a sunny day I’d vote him Head of Astrophysics at Liverpool University just for being awesome. Still, I’ve never been a huge Queen fan. I went to this concert because I had free tickets and a story to write; I hoped they’d play Brighton Rock early in the set then I could leave. But they were jaw-droppingly great, and no doubt I was the only one at Maple Leaf Gardens that night taken by surprise. Very possibly the best stadium rock show I’ve seen.

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