In front of me someone was making use of a window wiper to skim the thin layer of rain from a trestle table, and despite the threatening grey skies, there were groups of visitors anxiously looking in vain for seats long before the first notes of Mayqueen floated out from the small Rheinaue Restaurant stage.
In case you’re not up on the coverband scene, these guys have been popular on the circuit for quite a while now, and rightly so since re-creating the sound of such an individual band as Freddie Mercury and Co is a pretty heavy task.
The job of covering for Mr Mercury (if indeed that were truly possible) falls actually to a Geordie – Michael Anthony, and he gives it a good go for sure. They don’t (thankfully) try to cover the band’s early spandex days style wise. Anthony goes more for Freddie’s Village People look – with jaunty baseball cap and obligatory moustache. Foundation stone of the band, guitarist Ralf Sädler is absent – which was a pity as he really adds to the Queen sound. His replacement had a Brian May signature guitar true enough but couldn’t hope to capture the May signature guitar sound.
On The subject of sound, there was an apology come explanation mid concert explaining that, in order to ensure there would be a Concert Season here again next year, everything was being done to accomodate the wishes of those who might complain. ‘We have’, it was explained, ‘arranged things so that those wishing to chat can sit towards the back and those wanting to enjoy the music can move forward closer to the stage’. Maybe this is a tactic more bands should employ? It certainly helped to get the audience closer to the stage.. In no time at all there was a virtual log-jam of people in front of Antony’s mike stand. I imagine that, with the resultant added sound insulation, you could hear a pin drop from any table more than twenty feet from the band.
The music itself of course needs no introduction, but it was especially good to hear an early number like ‘Love of my Life’ being given a work-out. When the crowd occasionally ebbed Antony’s fist could be seen punched high in the air and there is no doubt that not just his heart but his soul too is in the music, and of course it’s the music that counts – it is, as someone once said, a kind of magic. I prefer my magic somewhat louder but it seems that actually ‘feeling’ the music is becoming a non-option in Bonn.
On my way back I heard some loud drumming coming from some distance away and located it to a group that seemed to have assembled with kettle drums etc for an impromptu concert.
I left, wondering if their thinking was that if the drumming disturbed anyone all blame would be put on the Rheinpark Restaurant show.
When I got home there was plenty of outside noise from neighbours with radio’s, TV’s and BBQ’s. I hesitate to say it, but it got me to thinking that if I really want peace and quiet in Bonn I should go to a live music event.