We Will Rock You

Queen tribute band Killer Queen readies to rock the Dominion Energy Center this Friday.

As a youngster growing up in England, Patrick Myers was just a little too young to catch British rock band Queen on their mid-1986 “Magic Tour” that included two sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium.

“I thought I’d go to the tour after,” says Myers, reached by phone from England. “No one knew there’d never be another tour, so that never happened.”

A week prior to the last show of that tour, lead singer Freddie Mercury told guitarist Brian May “I’m not going to be doing this forever. This is probably the last time.” Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS the following spring, and though Queen released two more studio albums with Mercury, they’d never perform together live again. Mercury died from complications of AIDS on Nov. 24, 1991, at the age of 45.

Attending his first semester of college at the time, Myers and his classmates were struck by the news and decided to learn the band’s catalog.

“We’d only just literally left home,” Myers explains. “We got to know each other through teaching each other Queen songs.”

Performing under the name Killer Queen, Myers and company decided to play a one-off show in Mercury’s honor.

“It went down really, really well, much to our relief, because we were terrified,” says Myers, who portrays Mercury onstage.

Patrick Myers portrays frontman Freddie Mercury in the tribute band Killer Queen.

Before long, Killer Queen booked a tour and became the first tribute band to play London’s West End. They’ve since filled some of the same arenas that Queen played at the height of their fame.

More than three decades on, Myers is still rocking. Killer Queen hits the stage at the Dominion Energy Center this Friday.

Asked what it’s like to inhabit arguably the greatest frontman of all time, Myers says it’s “exhilarating.”

“Freddie looked like he was having so much fun on stage,” Myers says. “He looked like he was totally inhabiting and transmitting the music through his fingertips. I try and do that same thing, of feeling the music and transmitting that music like a lighting rod to the audience.”

It helps, he says, that Queen has such a lively and inventive catalog.

“The songs themselves are very exciting to perform. They’re exciting for an audience to hear, and it’s great fun to do. Queen songs mean so much to so many people,” he says. “It’s like Christmas morning, giving them presents. You know what’s inside the wrapping paper and they don’t.”

As for his favorites, he offers “The Show Must Go On” and “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” calling them “more reflective” numbers.

“You always have a soft spot for the big guns,” he says. “When you play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ when you play ‘We Will Rock You,’ you know the audience is on fire and it’s lovely doing those.”

Asked about the challenges of playing a charismatic singer with a famed four-octave range, Myers says it’s more about stamina than any one song.

“You’ve got to sustain over a couple of hours,” he says. “You can’t fry your vocal cords. You have to make each of these shows stand up on their own rights.”

Having impersonated Mercury longer than Queen performed with the iconic singer, Myers says he’s learned some things about the band’s catalog.

“I appreciated the songs as brilliant songs as a kid, but now that I’ve grown up and written some songs on my own, you realize what amazing songwriters they all were,” he says. “Your respect for them deepens over the years.”

As for the difference between U.S. and U.K. audiences, Myers says America seems to prefer the hard rock numbers over the synth-driven numbers.

“Some of the stuff from the ’80s, like a track that was a huge hit all over Europe called ‘A Kind of Magic,’ didn’t really trouble the American charts too much, which is a shame because it’s a cracking song,” he explains.

While audiences should expect to hear the hits, Myers says Killer Queen will sneak in some deeper cuts as well.

“You like to surprise an audience,” he says. “Try to put in a few things each night that are going to surprise them.”

Killer Queen plays June 28 at the Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St. For more information, visit dominionenergycenter.com.

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