For the first time in five years, the Queen tribute show It’s A Kinda Magic returns to North American shows for an extensive tour that includes a stop at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Saturday evening, one of five Atlantic Canadian shows.
It’s A Kinda Magic meticulously recreates Queen’s 1986 international tour, which proved to be their final large-scale outing with original vocalist Freddie Mercury, who would pass away due to complications from AIDS in November 1991.
Performing the role of the dynamic Freddie Mercury is Oxford, England native Giles Taylor, a role he has held for the last three years.
“The whole idea behind the show is to replicate what Queen fans are no longer able to see, due to Freddie’s passing,” Taylor offers. “Of course, Adam Lambert is fronting the group these days and is absolutely fantastic at what he does, but the It’s A Kinda Magic show focuses on a very specific era of the band.”
Taylor says the fact that Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May chose to move forward with Lambert on vocals, their music is being introduced to a whole new generation of fans that might not have otherwise come across the group.
“The modern-day Queen is anything but an oldies act. I believe that having Adam Lambert singing with the group has helped them tune into an entirely new generation of fans in much the same way that the stage production of Mamma Mia has kept Abba’s music in the spotlight.”
Taylor’s musical beginnings date back to the age of five, when his mother taught him to play piano, although it would be a number of years later before he would undertake his first performance.
“I was 12 or 13 years old when I landed a role in a school play, which is where I got the bug for performing. Upon finishing school, I had been accepted to study music and drama at the Trinity College of Music in London. I ended up performing all over the world as a session musician before taking vocal training.”
He admits the competition for roles such as the one he is currently performing in It’s A Kinda Magic is nothing short of fierce. Taylor notes that while there is certainly no shortage of vocalists and pianists whose talent could eclipse his, the commitments that the performers must make to the show often go beyond what many would care to endure.
“We are sometimes spending more than 11 months of the year on tour,” Taylor says. “It certainly isn’t something that appeals to absolutely everybody.”
Having been influenced by classic rock as he grew up, Taylor is a seemingly natural fit for the role of Freddie Mercury. He says that Queen’s Greatest Hits was a musical staple of his household when he was growing up, making an indelible imprint on him as he came to learn even the smallest nuances of the music.
Once he began performing with It’s A Kinda Magic, Taylor says he gained a whole new appreciation for some of the musical complexities with which Queen’s music is laden.
“Learning the lyrics and singing along wasn’t necessarily tough, especially where Queen’s music was so prevalent in my house while I was growing up. It was when I was learning Freddie’s piano parts that I realized that some Queen songs were written with a truly unconventional approach, from the song ideas right down to the structure of the material. Once I got my head around it, I realized how just fascinating the music was,” he says.
Taylor notes that in addition to treating fans to timeless Queen hits like “We Will Rock You,” “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” “We Are The Champions,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the show also features a selection of deep-cuts to help satisfy the most ardent of fans.
“In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of the show is taking the time to chat with fans at the end of the night. Their feedback on what works and what might not work so well is critical to the ongoing success and evolution of the show,” Taylor says.
What: Queen – It’s A Kinda Magic
When: Saturday Aug. 8, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets start at $34.50 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone at (506) 856-4379 and online at capitol.nb.ca