'We Will Rock You' Comes to Baltimore Thanks to the BSO

July 24
3:47 PM 2009

'We Will Rock You' Comes to Baltimore Thanks to the BSO

For me it all started with the "Live-Aid" Concert to raise awareness of world hunger on July 13, 1985.  From London's Wembley stadium, I watched in awe the incredible performance of the rock group "Queen" featuring Freddie Mercury. Thankfully, I was able to video-tape it. I had heard their music before, but never saw them in action.

Then, someone had the bright idea to make the theatrical show We Will Rock You based on their music. It's been at the Dominion Theatre in London for eight years and has toured all over the United Kingdom. I've been waiting for it to come to the U.S. (Visit the web site www.wewillrockyou.queenonline.com.

When I noticed the Baltimore Symphony would be presenting a concert of their music, I couldn't miss it. And for the outdoor packed Pier VI pavilion in Baltimore's inner harbor what a night it was.

The concert was the brain child of conductor Brent Havens who is known for arranging rock musicfor symphony orchestras. His success stories include the "Music of Led Zeppelin", the "Music of the Doors", the "Music of Pink Floyd", and the "Music of the Eagles".  He also worked with the Doobie Brothers and the Milwaukee Symphony for Harley Davidson's 100 Anniversary Birthday Party Finale attended by over 150,000.

The Berklee Conservatory of Music trained arranger and conductor assembles the musicians and then contacts Symphonies around the country. In 2009, the BSO presented his arrangement of "Led Zeppelin".

Saturday night, July 18, vocalist Brody Bolyniuk (whose band performs in Las Vegas) was joined by four other musicians and wooed the crowed with the hits of "Queen".

Bolyniuk was terrific and paid homage to the great Freddie Mercury. He is quite the performer and at the end of the show, took out his camera to take a picture of the audience standing on their feet.

He started the evening with their goal of bringing together those who love classical music and rock fans. He was successful.

He started with "Everybody Plays the Game". The film "The Highlander" featured two "Queen" numbers and both were played, "I Want it All" and "Who Wants to Live Forever".  There were beautiful ballads "These are the Days of Our Lives" "The Show Must Go On" that Mercury wrote towards the end of his short life.

The rock hits were many. There was "Somebody to Love Me", "Stone Cold Crazy", "Black Bottomed Girl", "Crazy Little Think Called Love", "Another Bites the Dust", "We Will Rock You" and finally "We Are the Champions".

The highlight was the incredible masterpiece "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Pier VI is a great location, but there were sound problems (one couldn't hear the BSO for a few numbers) that later were rectified. I also noticed only one follow spot and they couldn't have used more. The conductor was often in the dark.

I also don't understand the policy of not allowing any drinks or snacks into the venue. My small bag of pretzels was confiscated. They don't do this at Symphony Hall.

I know the vendors want to make money, but Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium allow patrons to bring food with them, so should Pier VI.

It was great to see so many young people attending with their parents.

May I also suggest this is a great venue for the Baltimore Symphony to bring concerts of Broadway show music to Pier VI next year. This could be a huge success.

Now, if only the musical We Will Rock You can finally come to the U.S.

For comments, write to cgshubow@broadwayworld.com.

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