Despite the evening being named after it, no one dared touch "Bohemian Rhapsody," which even Queen had a rough time duplicating live. Still, it's easy to forget just how complicated much of Queen's music actually was. Even amidst all the bombast and pomp--the alternately driving riffs and sensitive note-bending of guitarist Brian May, not to mention the vocally operatic flexibility and theater-nerd instincts that only Freddie Mercury could turn butch (even if campily so)--sometimes it all seems so oddly natural that you don't stop to listen to how impressive it all really is.
Because opener Andrew Collberg was forced to cancel due to a family emergency, singer-songwriter Leila Lopez took the stage well after the scheduled starting time, leading to a fuller-than-usual room--which was both good and bad. Accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, Lopez mainly stuck to obscurities; the crowd seemed hungry for hits, though, and at times, their chatter threatened to overtake the PA. The Beta Sweat, who confusingly moved their set up in the schedule and dropped a song from their set list, at one point managed to make Queen sound like the White Stripes, before engaging the audience in a "Fat Bottomed Girls" singalong.
It may have taken nine people--including a new singer and a pair of female backup singers--for Seven to Blue to faithfully interpret Queen, but that's exactly what they did, right down to the distinctive tone of Brian May's guitar. Easily the highlight of the evening was their rendition of "Bicycle Race," which was spine-tinglingly accurate--including the bike bell--despite the song's difficulty. Lagoon added a second guitarist and a pianist for their set, which was also dead-on (though it could have further benefited from backing vocals) and jam-packed with hits such as "Under Pressure" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Love Mound have a way at these tributes of somehow remaining faithful to the artist to whom they're paying homage, while still retaining their own sound--which they did with aplomb, as they tackled "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions" and "Another One Bites the Dust." To close out the night, they added Ph8 singer Marcus Davis for the metallic "Stone Cold Crazy."
Perhaps the best news of the night, though, was that the show raised roughly $1,500 to benefit the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Kudos all around.