Mullen becomes Mercury for One Night of Queen
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 3:16 p.m.
Now in its 11th year of saluting the famed British band Queen, Gary Mullen and The Works have won enough accolades and raves for their show, One Night of Queen, that they could be described as, yes, “the champions” of what they do.
One Night of Queen
What: Gary Mullen and The Works salute the British rock band Queen
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Phillips Center, 3201 Hull Road
Tickets: $20-$35, $10 students
Info: 392-2787, Ticketmaster.com
If so, it’s because singer and band go all out night after night to deliver the kind of show that fans would want to see if they could somehow catch the namesake original band in its 1970s heyday.
It’s no accident, after all, that the show is dubbed “One Night of Queen.”
“You want to try and give them everything you can,” Mullen says about Queen fans in a recent phone interview, “because even playing the same town again, you’re not going to get the same audience.”
That means Mullen and The Works, which return Saturday to the Phillips Center for a performance of the show, deliver a concert packed with hits from “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” to “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” in a lavish production that practically demands audience participation.
Along with appearing onstage in full-tilt Freddie Mercury mode right down to the dark hair, mustache and half-microphone stand twirled like a weapon in arms, Mullen typically encourages the audience to stand, dance or clap to keep the energy level high throughout the show.
“All of the audience participates,” Mullen says. “We in the band say to the audience, ‘Wait, you guys can join in.’”
A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Mullen’s career in performing the songs of Mercury and Queen started after his wife and mother signed him up without his knowledge to appear on “Stars in Their Eyes,” a British talent-search TV show, in 2000.
Performing as Mercury, Mullen drew more votes than any other contestant on the show and went on to form the five-piece band, The Works, and carry on with the group’s tribute production, One Night of Queen.
While Mullen is the only member of the band who replicates his counterpart role from the original group (singer Mercury, who died in 1991), One Night of Queen often wins strong reviews for a production that uses a full stage set and lights, to say nothing of the energy generated by a catalog of songs that includes such all-out rockers as “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Tie Your Mother Down.”
“It’s all about the love of the band,” Mullen says. “I have a love for the band and this music. I have a passion ... and that’s the best that a tribute can do.”
Contact Entertainment Editor Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at email@example.com, and follow on Twitter @SceneBillDean.