They promise to rock you. Well, mission accomplished.
And if you thought watching a Queen cover band churn out a bunch of tired hits would be as laughably naff as that introduction, you'd be right. But by god, we were stamping our feet and shouting along anyway.
I'm a little too young to remember Queen's last world tour in 1986. I imagine this not-so-cheap imitation, the explosive all-hits mega-mix that is Queen - It's A Kinda Magic, was something like watching the real thing: proudly loud and fabulously camp. At least when it comes to Freddie, with that perfectly manicured moe, in a wife-beater unable to contain the unruly chest hair and leather pants so tight as to prove just how masculine he really was.
The Lyric Theatre seemed an odd choice to host the globetrotting show. But then this is true rock theatre: smoke machines, spectacular lighting, vibrant, garish costumes and enough thumping decibels to rattle osteoporosis-weakened baby-boomer bones (though, it has to be said, there was a smattering of fans far too young to have seen the real Queen in action). There can't have been too many shows in Brisbane's premier theatre to get a crowd dancing in the aisles like this.
The show itself is not just smoke and mirrors. These are prodigiously talented musicians who deserve the spotlight in their own right. It is all live, all real, all rock, all night.
Craig Pesco inhabits Freddie, with the same tireless energy and flamboyant magnetism. It is not a really great voice - and neither was Mercury's, I suppose - but as he pounds the piano and prowls the stage you can't look away. Recreating the film clip to I Want To Break Free, Pesco emerges in a maid's outfit with strap-on breasts to tease and taunt the audience with his rainbow feather duster - and seemingly has the time of his life doing it.
Each musician gets a solo and each delivers a jaw-dropping demonstration of talent. As Roger Taylor, baby-faced Brisbanite Matthew Millican's sweaty, frenzied drum solo is simply extraordinary. Travis Hair as famed guitarist Brian May and Matthew Newton as bassist John Deacon both look the part, pouting their way through their own frantically fingered solos. It's a well-rehearsed band and impressively tight set, regardless.
Ultimately, the real stars are the songs. From Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Doing All Right, Don't Stop Me Now, Fat Bottomed Girls, Radio Ga Ga, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions... They are just great songs; timeless rock anthems. And by the time the encore comes around, the audience is begging for a little Bohemian Rhapsody. An epic rock masterpiece to remember an epic rock band by.
Queen - It's A Kinda Magic shouldn't really be this much fun. But, guiltily, it is. Rock on.
Queen, It's A Kinda Magic
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC | Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
Date: June 5
Bookings: 136 246 | www.qtix.com.au