In November 2018, as part of Radio 2’s ever popular series of live broadcasts ‘Friday Night is Music Night’, Tom Chaplin (KEANE) took a bold step and delivered a 20 strong set of legendary Queen classics accompanied by the Leo Green Orchestra at the London Palladium. Such was the success of the night a short UK tour was announced this year.
Chaplin who has performed with Queen (Roger Taylor and Brian May) previously has the same vocal range as Freddie Mercury, and so seemed the most natural performer to take on the challenge with astounding critical success. Ahead of a busy year with his reformed band KEANE who are touring Europe and releasing their first new album in 7 years, Chaplin seemed ever at ease with this arsenal of Queen classics.
On a hot night in Cardiff’s St.Davids Hall, alongside the 25 piece Leo Green Orchestra, Tom Chaplin soared through a 2 hour set with vocals and arrangements on an unprecedented level. His admiration and love of Queen’s music was evident in the passion and dedication of his performance. Every classic was covered and at no point were the audience left trying to compare the originals with these new interpretations, albeit key and note perfect as Freddie Mercury would have insisted.
It’s hard to think that any other popular vocalist could now offer up a similar proposition. Even for all his flamboyance, Queen’s current frontman Adam Lambert would be hard pushed to match the range and conviction that Chaplin has brought to the table. After a successful solo career in the last few years, and with the impending tour from one of Britain’s most successful indie rock outfits (all 5 consecutive number one KEANE albums), this interlude tour proves he is once again a force to be reckoned with.
With the entire audience, out of their seats singing and dancing to 25 years of Queen songs, and giving a standing ovation to Chaplin, it was a privilege to witness. Not the rebirth of Queen’s music, just a reminder of how ingrained it is in the publics psyche of popular music. Tom Chaplin owns those songs for this short tour, and no one can take that away from him.
Words and Photography by Mark Tipping