Since well before the advent of MTV and YouTube, popular music has had the tendency to mix music with personality, productions values and showmanship. While this is unquestionably fun, all too often the music gets lost or even becomes secondary.
Just like how a symphony endeavours to present a pure listening experience, Classic Albums Live has built its reputation on creating a note perfect musical experience for fans of the classic rock era of music. Each show features a classic album performed in its entirety and with every arrangement, note and sound presented as it was on the original piece.
Over the past 16 years and dozens of different albums performed, the group’s international success has proven that this type of experience was sorely missed by music lovers.
“We are not a tribute band and we don’t dress up in costumes,” explains Classic Albums Live founder, Craig Martin. “We care about musical perfection.”
Of course, perfection is a high bar and is easier with some albums than others. Legendary British rock band, Queen presents Martin’s group with one of their greatest challenges yet with their seminal album, A Night at The Opera. Often regarded as their best, it’s Queen’s fourth studio album. When it was released on Nov. 21, 1975, it was reportedly the most expensive album ever recorded. The album takes its name from the Marx Brothers film of the same name, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when recording.
“This was a game changer for rock ’n’ roll,” says Martin. “All of a sudden, long-haired rockers were singing along to operatic songs with soaring arrangements.”
Featuring songs like You’re My Best Friend, 39, Love of My Life and their bombastic cover of God Save the Queen, the album was already both eclectic and listenable. Most agree that it’s the inclusion of the stratospheric Bohemian Rhapsody with it’s shift from melancholy torch song through full-blown opera eventually culminating in near heavy metal head-banging piano that makes this album a masterpiece.
The incredible range of music included is also what makes performing the record a unique feat for Classic Albums Live. In order to pull it off, the group brings as many musicians as needed; in this case four guitarists, four singers in addition to a tight rhythm section and keyboards.
As always, after the album performance is completed and an intermission, the band returns to the stage to offer up a second set featuring Queen’s most celebrated songs from their entire career.
Classic Albums Live: Queen-A Night at The Opera performs at the Rose Theatre on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 905-874-2800 or by clicking here