It’s a kind of magic that rocked the Assembly Hall

ROCK ROYALTY: Connor McGovern as Freddie Mercury and Rafa Diaz as Brian May. Photo:

For moments in this show, the audience might have felt themselves transported to Wembley Stadium as they were immersed in this fabulous tribute to Queen…


Magic Queen, one of Europe’s top Queen tribute bands, took to the stage at the Assembly Hall on Saturday night (April 1) in a show that certainly did not disappoint die-hard fans of the iconic band.

What’s so particularly special about this type of tribute show is the dedicated fandom, which turned out to not only watch, but to take part, too. Audience members had travelled from far and wide to witness the band breathe life into their rock idols.

A diverse audience of Queen fans of all ages donned their Freddie Mercury T-shirts, leather jackets and trousers, and there were even the occasional septuagenarians kitted out in leather miniskirts, leather jackets, chains and boots.

A Freddie Mercury lookalike, probably about six years old, and sporting a trademark white, Freddie vest and gelled hair, wiggled his way through the show from the front row, exhorting other audience members to get to their feet.

This was an audience determined to relive the glam of the 70s and 80s, and no one was going to be tied to their chairs.

And Magic Queen certainly did not disappoint them. With Eugi Bartolo as Roger Taylor on drums, Chris Gilbertson as John Deacon on bass guitar, Connor McGovern as Freddie Mercury, and Rafa Diaz embodying a young Brian May, the music was truly extraordinary.

Concentrating on sounding like the original artists, the band took to the stage in a two-and-half-hour show of high-energy numbers, kicking off with Under Pressure – an all-time crowd favourite.

At this point, one must state the obvious: there is and will only ever be one Freddie Mercury, who managed to blend his extraordinary vocals with a campness and showmanship that remains unrivalled – even by the exceptionally talented Adam Lambert, his successor. However, Connor McGovern does an incredible job in sounding like Freddie from the outset. And, as he and the crowd warmed up, supported by the supremely talented band, he embodied the great Freddie more and more with each song. At times, even those of us who saw Mercury live could be forgiven for forgetting that we were not part of a Wembley crowd, as we swayed to the music, our mobile phone lights above our heads (lighters, nowadays, being considered too great a health and safety hazard).

This band is indeed multi-talented, as each is not only proficient on their instruments, but vocals, too. McGovern takes up both vocals and piano on numbers such as Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, Don’t Stop me Now and We are The Champions. Guitar-led favourites, like Tie Your Mother Down, Hammer to Fall, One Vision, I Want it All and We Will Rock You, are more than ably led by Chris Gilbertson as John Deacon and Rafa Diaz as Brian May. McGovern, aka Freddie, even takes up axe duties
himself on occasion.

Highlights of the show included a roof-raising rendition of The Show must Go On, which showcased the mighty power of McGovern’s voice, and then Diaz on guitar, whose smooth solos, insane riffs and quirky, almost introverted movements were the embodiment of Brian May. Looking at him, it was hard to believe that one was not in the presence of a younger version of the great man himself.

For the pre-interval number, McGovern re-emerged on to the stage decked out in a wig, leather miniskirt, stockings and tank top, with a vacuum cleaner in hand, for I Want To Break Free. He had the audience eating out of his hand. Screams of “Freddie!” rang out across the auditorium as the dancing crowd tried to swarm the stage.

The second half of the show passed in a delicious, high-energy wave of perennial favourites, like It’s a kind of Magic, Fat Bottomed Girls, Don’t Stop me Now and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, as McGovern mingled with the crowd, and audience members sashayed from their seats to both the front and into the aisles to dance to Queen as if it were their last performance ever.

Not for a minute did the band take their foot off the gas as they built up to a spectacular crescendo with Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by a standing ovation with Radio Gaga, We Will Rock You (recreating the iconic image of Freddie draped in the Union Jack) and We are the Champions.

Magic Queen are to be applauded. They succeeded in blending the trademark vocal layering and studio precision of Queen with the energy of a live stage production, while meticulously recreating moments from legendary shows, like their iconic Wembley appearance for Live Aid. All of which made for a truly magical and fun night out.

Sadly, this was a one-night-only show at the Assembly Hall but do look out for them. You won’t regret it. Magic Queen epitomised the quality of the offerings on show at the Assembly Hall.

To see their full line-up for the coming months, visit:

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