Queen Nation performs in Dillon for Sunset at the Summit Concert Series
Lake Dillon Theatre Company
If you go
What: Sunset at the Summit Concert Series
Who: Queen Nation
When: Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.
The Sunset at the Summit Concert series is a free concert series produced annually by the LDTC taking place on 10 consecutive Saturday evenings during the summer. The last show of the season will be Sept. 5, with Kahuna Beach.
Known as the kings of arena rock and one of the most influential rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s, Queen performed to packed stadiums around the globe for over two decades. This summer, acclaimed tribute band Queen Nation returns to the Sunset at the Summit Concert Series after their first appearance in 2012. The Lake Dillon Theatre Company took a few moments to ask front man Gregory Finsley about his passion for music and his work performing vocals and keyboards as the legendary icon Freddie Mercury.
LDTC: What was your first strong memory of absolutely knowing you wanted to be a performer?
Gregory Finsley: My first strong memory of knowing was having seen Queen on Dec. 10, 1977, in Ft. Worth, Texas, at the age of 11. I knew that this type of entertaining was my calling.
LDTC: What were some of your earliest influences as a young musician and singer?
GF: My earliest influences as a musician and singer were many of the ’60s and ’70s era British acts. They were mainly rock, but with different styles and not just cookie cut and boring like today’s music.
LDTC: Music has certainly changed since then. As the leading Queen tribute band today, you certainly maintain that style and sound from the ’70s. You have traveled and performed all over. What is special about performing outdoors in Colorado?
GF: What is special to me about performing in Colorado is the scenery and the loyal fans. Although we don’t play here enough; it is a wonderful time to take in the sights and flavors aside from acclimating my lungs to seven and 8,000 feet in altitude.
LDTC: Well you will be at just over 9,100 feet at the Lake Dillon Amphitheater. Queen is highly regarded as one of the greatest rock bands of the ’70s and early ’80s. What drew you most to their music?
GF: What drew me most to Queen’s music was the diversity, lyrics, styles, awesome stacked vocals, tones, drum sounds and melodies that stay in your mind.
LDTC: Absolutely. And Freddie Mercury is literally a rock icon. What is the most challenging aspect of performing his music and in his style? And also, what is most exciting about it?
GF: The most challenging part of performing Mr. Mercury’s music, let alone Queen in its entirety and style, is staying in character for the masses and accomplishing the notes with clarity on piano and voice along with proper enunciation of lyrics to emulate his style, not to mention his banter and iconic rock poses. In the end, the most exciting part of it is the great and sometimes deafening responses from people of all walks of life and ages who really enjoy Queen. Some were never able to see the group. And some people had seen them live, and by attending our concerts, they recapture special moments in their past memories of life in general.
LDTC: That’s a tall order. What do you do to connect with your audience to make the experience even more special?
GF: I enjoy connecting with my audiences with a lot of eye-to-eye contact and gesturing to get them up and moving. Making it as intimate as possible for everyone, regardless of mega pixel screens encroaching the scene. They are the most important entity there. Not me. With such a tall order of musical complexity to achieve, the same must be given in delivery to the masses, but as a one-on-one basis. Meaning I will stare at you and sing into your eyes causing a bit of heads to turn and wonder, or I will promote a call and response in melody to the crowd, but ya’ know it’s part of showbiz.
LDTC: What do you try to accomplish with your music?
GF: What I would like to accomplish first off is my music. I have never been able to finish my album due to travels, statewide move and the economy. The messages in my music are sometimes dark, happy, sad or just crazy and simple. I so enjoy being multi-faceted in rock. Plain vanilla just won’t do, and I want variety. Blues, jazz, funk, reggae, classical (of course), Cajun, old scratchy country and gospel influence me to say the least. I know there’s good work in all of it, I just need to finish it with the right people.
LDTC: I’ll look forward to that album once it is completed. For folks unfamiliar with Queen Nation, what can people look forward to in seeing you live in Dillon in 2015?
GF: Folks unfamiliar with Queen Nation should expect a lot of fun, and musical memories for the die hard fans of Queen. This is a very vocal tribute, and we encourage singing and clapping to the songs just as the millions have done at the Queen concerts of the past. With so many fans of Queen, it is a difficult task to decide just what to play with the time allotted, but don’t worry! Brush up on your Queen CDs and downloads and let us entertain you. And know, we will rock you!
Gregory Finsley and Queen Nation perform at the Sunset at the Summit Concert Series at the Dillon Amphitheater on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Formed in 2004, Queen Nation consists of Gregory Finsley on vocals and keyboards as Freddie Mercury, Mike McManus on guitar as Brian May, Pete Burke on drums as Roger Taylor, and Parker Combs on bass as John Deacon. The mission of the show is to carry on the musical torch and pay homage to the golden age of vintage Queen concerts.
Queen Nation’s live 90-minute production of Queen’s greatest hits preserves the image, sound and stage persona of vintage Queen. Audiences are amazed at the accuracy of Queen Nation’s live retrospective journey through such Queen songs as “We Will Rock You,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are The Champions,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Under Pressure” and many more. They have performed in front of thousands of people at events, casinos, fairs, festivals and private affairs. For more info visit http://www.queennation.com.
Josh Blanchard is the executive director of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. The Sunset at the Summit Concert series is a free concert series produced annually by the LDTC taking place on 10 consecutive Saturday evenings during the summer.
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