REVIEW: Mercury, The Brook, Southampton

It’s A Kind Of Magic, they sang. And in a way, it was.

This is how it must have been in the early days before Queen hit the big stadiums - up close and personal in a cosy intimate venue.

And as Queen tribute Mercury brilliantly whizzed through the hits, you could feel the nostalgia rise.

Arguably, with Queen’s fabulous back catalogue to draw on, Mercury couldn’t go wrong - but you’ve still got to get it right, and they did so magnificently.

Just once or twice, you winced at a rhythm which wasn’t quite there, but this was a great night, built around terrific musicianship and the flamboyance of Joseph Lee Jackson as Freddie.

Jackson nailed the gestures, the strut, the preening, the intonation, the sheer charisma, and Glenn Scrimshaw, despite a wig which seemed more Charles II than Brian May, was mesmerising on guitar, playing with a liquid effortlessness which soared.

A little rethink on the ordering of the songs wouldn’t have gone amiss. A couple of the lesser-known songs from the second half should shift to the first, and songs such as Don’t Stop Me Now and Bohemian Rhapsody probably ought to held back to later.

But that’s probably nit-picking. The fact is that Mercury gave us superbly-authentic versions of classic songs in the south’s finest venue, all rounded off with We Are The Champions exactly as it should be done.

Phil Hewitt