Last month it was Alice Cooper.
Last night I went to see Queen + Paul Rodgers.
Yeah, I know. Queen without Freddie Mercury is like . . . I dunno. Fill in the blanks.
But Paul Rodgers came from Bad Company, so, in a way, it was like getting two concerts for the price of one (and at Moscow prices, a bargain is a good thing). Yeah, sometimes he seemed a little overwhelmed by the rest of the band when they were playing the Queen stuff. But when he sang the new songs or the Bad Company songs . . . he rocked.
If you go to YouTube, you can find clips of them doing the same show last week in Kharkov, Ukraine. Their website says
Playing an awareness-raising outdoor concert in Kharkov’s Freedom Square, the second largest square in Europe, at the event supported by Queens’ own HIV AIDS charity, The Mercury Phoenix Trust, and organized by the Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation, the show by Queen + Paul Rodgers attracted more than 350,000 to see the overture concert for its 33-city tour of Europe and immediately entered the record books as the biggest charity event devoted to the fight against AIDS in the Ukraine.
Which is cool. Our crowd was, obviously, not this big. But the feel was the same. Except, perhaps, when they did We Are the Champions. There was something vaguely unsettling about thousands of Russians singing "We are the champions . . . ." It kind of creeped me out.
What else was, well, different, was what they sold at the concert. No black t-shirts. No booze. (What? In Russia!) It was like we were going to see the circus instead of a serious rock and roll band. I saw a guy eating a Dove bar. You could buy Russian flags and cowboy hats and light-up devil horns.
But no beer. I didn't want any beer. But I wanted them to sell the beer.
I'll leave you with a clip of my favorite number, a song I am sure I haven't heard since the last time I played my Night at the Opera LP:
You rock on, Roger Taylor!
And Brian May just looked so . . . blissed out. Like he was having the time of his life. And, yeah, he made us sing too. For Freddie.
And finally, this is what I paid my money for. Turn it up.