News Column

Giles Taylor channels Freddie Mercury in Queen tribute show

July 17, 2014

By Joshua Tehee, The Fresno Bee

July 17--Giles Taylor had little trouble learning the material for his role as Freddie Mercury in "Queen -- It's a Kinda Magic," the touring tribute concert that comes to the Saroyan Theatre Saturday.

Taylor wasn't a huge Queen fan, but his father was and he played the band so often the songs were drilled into Taylor's head.

Still, the role took prep work, says Taylor, an actor and piano player who was working in London'sWest End prior to being cast as Mercury.

"He was such an amazing character and he held his audience so much in his hand," Taylor says of Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45.

Add to that the singer's stage antics, which often had him contorted into positions that are contrary to what trained singers learn.

"He would be singing these very powerful, high notes and he would be totally crouched over," Taylor says.

Early in rehearsals, Taylor was sent to a vocal coach who passed him off to an opera singer who better understood how to mimic Mercury's vocal style and its operatic undertones.

Taylor is a natural baritone, and though Mercury spoke in a baritone, he sang as a tenor.

"It takes a lot of warming up to do those high notes," Taylor says.

"It's a Kinda Magic" re-creates Queen's 1986 Magic Tour and features more than 20 of the band's hits, including "We Will Rock You," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are the Champions" and "Fat-Bottomed Girls."

Taylor admits it's odd to have a tribute show running while Queen is still playing. The remaining members of Queen are on tour with Adam Lambert.

But the shows have two very different objectives (and perspectives) that will be apparent to fans, Taylor says. This is a tribute to the band as it was -- think Queen live at Wembley Stadium, down to the iconic costuming.

"We're recreating the idea that people have of Queen in their heads," Taylor says.

Show information

"Queen -- It's a Kinda Magic," 8 p.m. Saturday at Saroyan Theatre, 848 M St. Tickets are $49-$59. Details: (800) 745-3000,

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, or @joshuatehee on Instagram and Twitter. Read his blog at


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Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)

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