Part 3: The Rehearsal
I wonder what most people would imagine it to be like to go and rehearse a song with Queen? Would you turn up and be greeted enthusiastically by Brian May in a pair of tiny denim shorts, sporting that most famous of all giant bouffants ever to sit atop a man’s head? Would you imagine he’d say “oh god, my fingers are killing me. They’re baby soft and I haven’t played the guitar in ages” while fidgeting with the famous ‘sixpence’ guitar pick? Would you envisage Roger Taylor sat behind a vast kit with the Queen logo emblazoned on the front of the kick drum? Would you see banks of keyboards and a harem of backing singers? Would you picture a microphone stand planted in the middle of the room begging you to come and have a go?
Well, stop imagining. This is exactly what it was like.
After some hasty introductions and some garbled hero-worshipping from yours truly, I took my place in front of the microphone. I popped in my in-ear monitors and waited. A synth sound wailed and it was my turn. No gentle easing in – It’s A Hard Life is a song where you start with the vocal line. Yep, that’s right, “you follow MY lead Brian and Roger”. It’s also a big note, a high A. Not an opening for the faint hearted. I shut my eyes and went for it. As I sang “I don’t want my freedom” I could hear the familiar sound of those muscular drums and that crunching guitar. Familiar to me from grainy tapes as a kid and now ringing loud and live in my ears.
I felt my heart soar and the song seemed to roll out in front of me in all its glory. I let myself become a part of it and it became a part of me – it was a transcendental experience.
One run through and I looked to the others for approval. Brian smiled and nodded. He seemed strangely moved. The reasons for that will become clear in the next part of the story.
To be continued…