It seemed every seat at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts was filled Friday night for Gary Mullen and the Works’ lively performance of “One Night of Queen.”
Mullen, emulating the iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, jumped, galloped, danced and stomped across the left, right and center of the stage. Mullen injected energy into every song, whether it was the iconic “We Will Rock You” heard at nearly every sports arena across the country, or a deeper Queen cut, like the fast-paced, chugging “Stone Cold Crazy.”
Mullen never stopped trying to get the audience moving, constantly reminding them to enjoy their night out.
“If you came to sit on your ass... like this is dinner theater, you came to the wrong place,” Mullen said to the crowd in a English accent very much like Mercury’s.
“You can sleep when you’re dead, darling.”
It’s impossible to be another Mercury, who’s earned legendary status for both his show-stopping vocals and flamboyant, engaging stage presence. Mullen, however, comes close. He sunk his teeth into the vocals, powerful and seemingly pitch perfect throughout the entire show.
Diane Napert said Mullen had a lot of energy and resembled Mercury quite well. She said she had seen Queen live “a very long time ago.”
“He did a good job with his caricature,” Napert said, referring to Mercury’s larger-than-life presence.
It’s evident Mullen has studied Mercury. From his walk to his on-stage poses, his white pants and tank top to the bottomless microphone stand, Mullen does all he can to stay true to Mercury and it’s quite convincing.
“I became a big Queen’s fan when I was about four years old,” said Mullen in a press release. “Queen was the first band where I really felt, ‘Wow, look at these guys!’ I fell in love with Freddie’s movements and the way he sang… just everything.”
Mullen and the Works ran through all the classic Queen songs one could hope to hear.
“Somebody to Love” was a clear crowd favorite. Many could be seen singing full-voiced, eyes closed and hands in the air. Drummer Jonathan Evans pounded through the interlude of the song in grand ‘80s rock style, as Mullen lead the crowd in singing, “Find me/Somebody to love.”
For the first few songs, most of the crowd stayed in their seats. Mullen urged the audience relentlessly to stand up, before the band launched in “Don’t Stop Me Now.” They obliged and the energy became visible, a few dancing in the aisles.
As the rousing intro to “Fat Bottomed Girls” began, a few members of the audience, disregarding their seats, ran down the aisle to join the crowd in the front rows and get as close as they could to the band. During “Under Pressure,” an usher could be seen clapping along, as Mullen commanded.
Those who had never seen Queen live before Mercury’s death in 1991 said Mullen and the Works were a great way to experience the band’s songs.
Christine Warner said she loved the show and joked it was her first live Queen experience, because she had never seen the band in person.
“It’s good nostalgia. Queen was an awesome band, and it’s been an awesome night,” Warner said.
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.