Classic Albums Live – Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Concert Review

Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Center for Performing Arts – Oct 2012

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? When Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera the answer is a bit of both.

October 23 2012The Richmond Hill Centre For The Performing Arts was tonight’s venue for our second viewing of Classic Albums Live production of Queen‘s fourth album A Night at the Opera for the second time in the last six months. The first time was at Massey Hall back in April which we reviewed here. The basic context of the show tonight was the same as last time so we will repeat most of what we wrote back then and update sections that were different tonight.

For those not familiar with the excellent Classic Albums Live franchise here is what their website states:

Classic Albums Live takes classic albums and recreates them live,on stage – note for note, cut for cut. Founded in 2003 by Craig Martin, Classic Albums Live has become the ultimate destination for music lovers wanting to hear the greatest albums performed live without all the gimmickry and cheesy impersonations. Relying only on the music, using what Martin refers to as ‘the world’s best musicians’, Classic Albums Live has defined itself as a mainstay in Performing Arts Centres across North America.
Phil Naro performing Queen’s A Night At The Opera Oct 2012

The franchise uses a large number of musicians and plays albums such as the epic The Dark Side Of The Moon, Revolver from The Beatles, The Joshua Tree from U2 and many more such classic rock mega hits. The last time we saw a CAL show  at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts was in Februrary 2012 where we saw a total of 8 musicians tackle Led Zeppelin IV. Our review of that show was very favorable, and we had high expectations for tonight’s show. 

If it took 8 people to recreate Zeppelin IV how many would it take to recreate A Night at the Opera? Well at 8:00pm sharp we see; 4 guitarists, 1 vocalist, 1 drummer, 1 bassist, 1 pianist and 3 backup singer. 11 people on stage!

The full roster was:
Guitars – Greg Wyard, Bob Wegner, Rob Phillips, Des Leahy
Drums – Troy Freener, Bass – Johnnie B
Keys – Will Hare
Vocals – Phil Naro, Jenn Kee, Mike Slute, Mia Sheard

Greg Wyard, Bob Wegner, Rob Phillips and Des Leahy all doing Brian May on October 2012
Jenn Kee, Mike Slute and Mia Sheard performing Queen on October 2012

Musically the show was spot on in reproducing the sound of Queen’s 1975 masterpiece of hard rock. Tonight’s Freddie Mercury was Phil Naro the Emmy award winning vocalist from Rochester who has a very prolific history in Canadian hard rock. To our great surprise this was the same guy that did Plant at the Zeppelin IV gig. Was it truly possible that one man can do justice to both Plant and Mercury? Lyrically he had incredible range reproducing Mercury’s powerful voice, and he offered a powerful tribute. All musicians wore black at all times and this is a very intentional nuance of the show. It is about the music and the sum of the parts, the individual artists are almost to remain invisible during the rendition of A Night at the Opera. There was no banter, no song introductions, no acknowledging the crowd, just the raw power of songs like You’re My Best Friend, Love Of My Life and Bohemian Rhapsody. The first set consisted simply of A Night at the Opera in order, note for note.

Phil Naro – October 23 2012
After a 20 minute intermission the second set kicked off with Tie Your Mother Down, Get Down Make Love, Killer Queen and Spread Your Wings. Clearly the musicians are letting loose a bit more and have a different approach to the gig. If the first half was all business, the second half was all fun – an excellent balance.  A massive Brian May guitar solo for Brighton Rock was the highlight of the second half and we are then treated to songs such as Bicycle Race, an excellent Under Pressure with the backup singers nailing the Bowie parts, Keep Yourself Alive, We Will Rock You and of course We Are The Champions. The band comes back for one encore which is Somebody To Love.
Phil Naro and Jenn Kee dutifully reproducing Freddie Mercury – October 2012

The second half consisted of ten Queen staples and one encore. The show itself is very focused on the music as a philosophy and intentionally does not have a bar feel to it. After about 100 minutes of music the show concluded at 10:00pm. There should be no doubt on the aural assault that these Classic Album Live shows have to offer and everyone in the audience certainly got their money’s worth tonight.
 

Phil Naro and Jenn Key for Classic Albums Live – October 23 2012
Phil Naro on his own is worth the price of admission. If you aren’t aware he is one of the hardest working guys in rock and in fact we reviewed three different CD’s from three different projects he is involved in. Velvet Crush from Jim Crean, Druckfarben (self titled album), and 3D by D-Drive are all worthy checking out so have a look at the reviews and see if they fit your musical style.
Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Center for Performing Arts – Oct 2012
You can catch Naro performing at the following shows in the Toronto area.
November 2 2012 – Dreamer (Supertramp tribute) at The Rockpile
November 10 2012 – Classic Albums Live presents Led Zeppelin II at Il Regent Theatre (Oshawa)
December 28 2012 – Ozone Baby (Led Zeppelin Tribute) at Roc n Doc’s (Port Credit)
Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Center for Performing Arts – Oct 2012
Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Center for Performing Arts – Oct 2012
Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Center for Performing Arts – Oct 2012
Phil Naro: Classic Albums Live presents Queen’s A Night  Oct 2012

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2 Responses to Classic Albums Live – Queen’s A Night At The Opera at Richmond Hill Concert Review

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