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.