IMPERIAL — Tribute band Queen Nation filled up the Rabobank Center at the fair Thursday, March 7. Fans enjoyed legendary songs performed by Gregory Finsley who seemed to channel the late Freddie Mercury’s voice and moves.
As soon as Finsley appeared on stage, the crowd applauded and shouted. Finsley spoke in a British accent to his fans and brought Mercury’s colorful performance to life. Guitarist Mike McManus dressed in a white collared T-shirt and wore a curly brown wig, resembling Brian May, drummer Peter Burke wore a blond mullet-like wig resembling Roger Taylor, and Parker Combs dressed in formal attire, resembling the quiet bassist John Deacon.
“Any of you familiar with ‘Shaun of the Dead’?” asked Finsley as he sat down at the keyboard and began to play “You’re My Best Friend,” which ended the 2004 comedic zombie film directed by Edgar Wright.
Queen Nation sang Queen’s most popular songs such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Under Pressure,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Although the audience was already excited, “We Will Rock You” brought the most participation as attendees clapped in unison. Fans stood up and sang the entire song, prompting Finsley to shout, “You guys are the best band members!”
For a second, the lights went off. Fans stood quietly as the band began to exit the stage, but then Queen Nation immediately returned.
“Do you guys want to hear one more song?” asked Finsley. The crowd shouted “YES!”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” brought nostalgia to some fans as Queen’s most popular single. Many remember it as a great eight-minute song, while some fans laughed as they may have remembered Mike Myers sing it with his friends in the 1992 film “Wayne’s World.”
“I’m very excited to be here,” said Jonathan Villa, 12, who thanks his older sister for introducing him to Queen. When asked who his favorite band member was he said, “John Deacon because I love how he plays bass.” Villa’s favorite Queen song is “Another One Bites the Dust” and he had the honor of standing near the stage and receiving a beaded necklace from Finsley himself.
Aalyah Marquez, 15, sat next to her godmothers Terry Vega and Irma Cardenas. The three fans wore Queen shirts and were excited, knowing they would hear their favorite songs “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You.”
“I’ve been a Queen fan for the longest time!” said Vega. “We’re looking forward to listening to all the songs and having our goddaughter join us as well.”
Queen Nation ended their concert with “We Are the Champions.” Fans stood up, waved their arms and sang together. Finsley’s vocals were not only remarkably similar to Mercury’s own, but each performance and the support of many fans justifies the timeless iconography Queen’s music continues to bring.