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They will rock you.

Byline: By Jo Manning South Wales Echo

As long-time Queen aficionado, Justin Hawkins, singer of The Darkness, said recently: 'For total and utter, unadulterated, no-holds-barred entertainment, you just cannot beat Queen. Christ on a bike, those guys knew how to put on a show!'

They certainly did with the late, great Freddie Mercury, and by all accounts, they still do, fronted as they are now by Paul Rodgers, pictured, the gravelly-voiced vocalist who made his name with Free and Bad Company.

The legendary rockers have been wowing audiences and sceptical critics across Europe with their new line-up, the core of which remains Roger Taylor on drums and Brian May on lead guitar. And tonight the Queen juggernaut hits Cardiff International Arena for their latest sell-out show.

'I was always against the idea of putting someone in there trying to impersonate Freddie in any way,' admits wild-haired axeman May, now 57.

'Then suddenly I'm looking at this guy who doesn't in any sense try to take the place of Freddie. He's nothing like Freddie because he comes from his own place.'

Adds Taylor: 'Paul is someone trying to take this somewhere else, in his own direction. Freddie was a great fan of his - we saw Free loads of times at The Marquee.'

According to early reviews of their Brixton Academy show in March, fans going along tonight can expect a night of pomp rock they'll never forget. Songs made famous by Rodgers will combine with Queen classics like Fat Bottom Girls, Radio Ga Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions. And May and Taylor will be maintaining their pioneering sense of camp rock by performing solos backed by huge video screens of galaxies and the late Freddie.

The idea of bringing Rodgers on board sprang from May's performance with the rasping blues man at the Fender Strat's 50th Anniversary show in London last September.

After showing his drummer the tape of their performance and all three playing together at the inaugural UK Hall of Fame Awards a few weeks later, the trio started making plans for what has become a sell-out 32-date European tour.

As for the inevitable cynics, May simply has this to say: 'How about just letting yourselves enjoy the fun? Life is too short to be mindlessly negative!'
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 7, 2005
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