REVIEW: Symphonic Queen, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brilliantly capture the dramatic and almost operatic qualities of some of Queen’s biggest hits in this immensely enjoyable concert.

With the release of Bohemian Rhapsody last year and with the news that Queen will be touring the UK once more next year, it seems the public can’t get enough of the rock band – and along with this highly entertaining concert it is easy to see why.

Throughout the evening, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed some of Queen’s best known hits including ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘I Want to Break Free’ and of course ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to name a few – putting their own classical twist on them thanks to the arrangements by Mike Townend and conductor Matthew Freeman. Particular highlights was the cheeky version of ‘A Crazy Thing Called Love’ and a tenderly moving version of ‘Love of My Life’ that really translates to a more classical style naturally.

With a group whose back catalogue is huge, the variety of songs that were showcased in this concert perfectly captures the highs of their career as well as more reflective moments as the concert focused on the legacy of Freddy Mercury towards the end of the evening. All of the arrangements were extremely well thought out and highlighted just how intricately developed these songs were by all of the band – with the stunning renditions of ‘A Kind of Magic’ and ‘Killer Queen’ being particularly enjoyable in this regard.

It is also clear that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were thoroughly enjoying themselves, delivering immensely focused performances that managed to capture the original performances but enhancing the power behind the music more as ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘I Want it All’ more than proved. Meanwhile, the drama revealed in songs such as ‘The Show Must Go On’ and ‘Barcelona’ for example led to some spine tingling moments.

Accompanying the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were Capital Voices who were strong when involved – but given that they were only singing the backing vocals it felt like they were underused and could have used even more people to make more of an impact.

This aside, it was clear from start to finish that everybody in the Royal Albert Hall was having a great time experiencing these songs in a completely different way and a reminder of just how extraordinarily unique the music of Queen is.

By Emma Clarendon

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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