So We Went With A Little Bohemian Rhapsody

With only one night in London, we had to make the most of it.

Shooting straight to the top of the pops, blasting past all of the Mammas & Mias and Les’es & Mis’es, ditching the Wicked Witches and Masked Phantoms and Lion Kings, we grabbed the last two standing-room-only tickets for the Saturday showing of Queen:  We Will Rock You.

We had no idea what it was all about.  We were just there for the tunes.

Turns out the show was The Eschaton of Mercury and May:  A nightmare future where a Killer Queen has assimilated the Ga-Ga youth and Talibanned all musical instruments.  This Killer Queen controls the brainwashed with a platter of pre-approved tween cheese.  (Akin to the love child of Zappa’s Joe’s Garage and the Disney Channel.)

Alas, there is one wrinkle in her plan of complete pop-cultural control.  She didn’t count on the rise of The Bohemians, shepherds of the sacred texts prophesying the coming of Galileo and Scaramouche, and the irrepressible life-affirming urge to Rock.

And so it was that one young man from a poor family had the power to release the sacred guitar (Excalibur-style) from the ruins of Wembley Stadium.  Messianic salvation by six-string.   Thus were The Bohemians the champions, my friends.

Silly show.  Great music.  I expected a band, but I didn’t see one.  Still, the speakers were filled with a spot-on re-creation of Brian May’s one-of-kind grind looping around adaptations of Queen’s already stage-ready theatrical hits.  Surprise!  During the third act they dropped the side curtains to reveal the most professional tribute band in London armed with Brian May guitars and we-nailed-it-again grins.

Fun crowd.  Not a bunch of trampling tourists and arrogant Americans, but lit-up locals making an extra-pint night of it.  Life-long fans looking for a lager-triggered flashback.

I thought I knew the records well, but a few of the songs were a mystery.  At first I assumed that they were digging deep into the catalog for lost nuggets, but the natives seemed to know them word-for-word.  Things must have charted a little differently in the mother country.

But as the curtains closed, there was one omission that broke my heart.  Despite many, many opportunities, the stars didn’t sing our song.  I couldn’t believe it.  After two hours of classic Queen, where was My Best Friend?

Then I looked over.  She was right beside me.

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