Touch down. Los Angeles
After an 11 hour flight, three films and two bags of Maynard’s Midget Gems, I was picked up by Eric, a very cool Irish/Puerto Rican guy and within minutes we were best buddies; talking music, American history and shouting out quotes from Wayne’s World and Jaws – I love Americans. I was heading straight to rehearsals, no point in mucking around I say, let’s get it on. H
owever, before we get to the rock n’ roll, I wanted to go back to the flight for a moment, and the films I watched, they had triggered some Freddie thoughts. The Dallas Buyers Club, actually as recommended by Roger’s PA Justine a few months ago, was the most obvious, with Matthew McConaughey’s stunning performance as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof. Set during the same period in which Freddie had to deal with HIV/AIDS situation, it again brought home to me the work I do with the Mercury Phoenix Trust and how much has been achieved since the mid-80s. I am not going to review the film for you though, watch it yourself, have a think and then donate to us! 😉
The second film I watched was a little lighter thankfully and was called ’20 Feet From Stardom’ and concentrated on backing singers. It was a really great insight into a often overlooked roll and told the stories of several sensational, yet little known singers and how they found their place in the music industry, their role on records and on stage and why they didn’t make it a lead vocalists. Most of the singers came from gospel backgrounds and could produce soaring vocals that were just so uplifting…you know where I am going he don’t you? The Golden Boy, Somebody To Love and Let Me Live. I just kept thinking what would Freddie have produced as solo artist if he was still with us…did he have a full on gospel album in him? Freddie backed with a gospel choir…imagine the power!
I also flipped to see what the music options on the in-flight entertainment – top of the A-Z list? ‘A Night At The Opera’. It’s all a bit too spooky, but it does make you smile and feel that little bit proud.
Anyway back to business, sorry about that diversion! The rehearsal hangar, and yes, it is actually an aircraft hangar with a short runway, confirmed once again Queen do big, really big. The stage is at one end behind some large hanging black curtains, the images that leaked do it no justice…it’s bloody HUGE. I picked up with the production team, grabbed my desk, my AAA crew pass and started to take a proper look around. I didn’t get far. I stopped at catering.
Saw Brian, gave a quick hug, he said he was feeling good and that it was “all coming together” and it certainly sounded that way when I watched the run through of the iHeart Radio set, of which I can reveal there is one track they are playing that will surprise EVERYONE. I have also seen the main set list and there are a few more lovely additions to what they played in 2012. I got that ‘fan’ tingle again; I can’t wait to see this in Chicago at the opening show in a packed arena.
I had managed to go 25 hours straight without sleep and it was time to retire, until…
“Fancy a beer back at the hotel?” Silly question.
I ended up in a bar with Justin, Pete, Nigel (RT’s drum tech) and Rob and Kerry, the Welsh comedy duo from hell, watching some HUGE ice hockey game between LA and New York, it seemed to go on for an eternity, but it was very entertaining and the place exploded when LA scored the winner in overtime. For the next five minutes I found myself high 5-ing complete strangers shouting “Yeah Baby!” much to my own amusement. Only God knows what would have happened if New York had scored…
Today, Saturday, is the tech rehearsal, no band, just a basic run through, health and safety bits and prep…all quite low key, which works for me as I didn’t get to bed until 1am and had to be here at 8.30 this morning.
So, 30 hours with no sleep was the final total, can I keep this up? We shall see, the buzz of rock n’roll, that’s all I need right now.
READ PART 1