Bohemian Rhapsody gets an Aussie chocolate-covered makeover as 90’s powerhouse performer Adam Thompson of Chocolate Starfish puts his sweet flavour on the killer Queen classics.
The world relived the magic of flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury in late 2018 in the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic which saw Rami Malek deliver an Oscar-winning performance and now it’s time for Thompson to step into the role in the live setting. Alongside the We Will Rock You Band, consisting of fellow Chocolate Starfish member, guitarist Zakk Zedras, musical chameleon, Ben Grayson, on keyboards, jazz junkie, Jonathon Zion, on bass guitar, and with drummer Andy Swann, who was a member of the original “We Will Rock You” band that was hand-picked by Brian May and Roger Taylor, Thompson and co will perform the film soundtrack in its entirety across Australia.
The shows have been off to a flying start with dates in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney already been and gone with rave reviews from audience members, and it’s no wonder with Thompson taking lead. Punters of the Red Hot Summer Tour Ballarat earlier this year witnessed Thompson embody Mercury to a tee from the moment he set foot on the stage in his bold statement ASOS suit and silver crocodile skin boots, recreating the infamous Live Aid call and response vocal gymnastics with the sea of 5000. Doing Mercury justice is no easy feat, but Thompson is undoubtedly the man for the job.
“Back when Chocolate Starfish started, I wanted to entertain like Freddie and I wanted to dress in that sort of flamboyant style. The way I engage a crowd is always Freddie-esque. It’s always been very inspired by that for the last 25 years of performance and he really was my own and greatest influence in terms of how to reach an audience and how to turn an audience on and that’s something that I’m always indebted to him for because he was the master of it,” he explains. “His range was incredible so I took a lot of lessons on how to extend my range and preserve my voice but also in his songs and the way they were constructed, the emotion comes from a lot of that – he takes a lot of those vocal leaps but not in a pretentious way, but in a powerful and impassioned way. There’s vocal gymnastics and there’s vocal passion.”
Thompson is also no stranger to covering the greats. Chocolate Starfish’s version of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’ powered the fish to stardom while their live shows never cease to include outstanding renditions of classic songs. In 2017 the band took on the monstrous voice of Meat Loaf in their ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ Tour, sampling the set at this year’s Red Hot Summer Tour, and followed suit in their Classic Album Series with Australian new sensations, INXS with ‘KICK’ across 2018/19. But these shows are not your standard tribute concert – Thompson doesn’t become the artist; he celebrates them and their music.
“There are tribute bands out there with buck teeth and moustaches and that’s not this band. This band is theatrical in its essence and we’re going to get up there as passionately as Queen would have ever delivered them,” Thompson says. “It’s watching a recording artist do Queen in his own flamboyant way but not trying to copy the dress, the mode, the teeth, the way Freddie holds the mic – that’s not me. To be in a band that plays the stuff the way it should be and with the energy and the vibe and the passion that it needs to be – that’s what we’ve got.”
Shepparton will get a taste of Queen Friday 7 February when Bohemian Rhapsody hits Eastbank Centre, while Bendigo can enjoy the show on Saturday 8 February at the Ulumbarra Theatre.
Tickets at www.bohemianrhapsodyconcert.com/
Written by Tammy Walters