Waiting for Dios Salve a la Reina to take the stage, anyone could have thought the crowd was in fact holding their breath for Queen with back-from-the-dead Freddie Mercury to grace them with their presence. The multitude clapped and buzzed amid an occasional eager yell at the glimpse of a body on stage, only to realize it was only a crewmember at work. A British flag and a sign requesting, “’39 please!” hung from the balcony. Finally, the fog machine started cueing more commotion and the band took the stage.
itemId=13318 Photo by Mauro Tapia
Dios Salve a la Reina (a.k.a. DSR), an Argentine tribute band to Queen, returned to Santiago’s Teatro Caupolican on October 15, about eight months after they opened for Deep Purple in February. This was one of their several stops in Chile following their three-month tour in Europe.
itemId=13091 Photo by Mauro Tapia
The group didn’t hold back and started out with the classic “We Will Rock You.” The hits continued throughout the show with songs like “Somebody to Love” causing Pablo Padín, playing the role of lead singer Freddie Mercury, to take off his shirt or jacket—resulting in obligatory girlish shrieks.
The group, made up by Padín (vocals), Francisco Calgaro (guitars), Matías Albornoz (drums) and Ezequiel Tibaldo (bass), takes their Queen impersonation seriously. Calgaro, who plays the role of guitarist Brian May, sported what can be assumed to be a curly, black wig; and drummer Albornoz donned Roger Taylors’ bleached blond hair and a striped black-and-white tee from Wembley ’86.
Padín does a practically impeccable impersonation of Freddie Mercury. For most of the concert, Padín wore a mostly white ensemble similar to Mercury’s clothes during the 1985’s Live Aid concert, with tight pants that left little to imagination included. Padín’s facial features bear a resemblance to the late Mercury as well, topped off by a haircut and a mustache from Mercury’s mid-80’s look.
itemId=13114 Photo by Mauro Tapia
Padín also has Mercury’s mannerisms perfected, and he can sing just like him; his only shortcoming is that he can’t compete with the wide vocal range of the legendary front man. Padín only spoke English during the concert, causing one onlooker to shout down from the balcony, “¿Qué estás diciendo? (What are you saying?)”
The audience’s behavior became a bit nonchalant after the first few songs, sticking to their seats as if they had been standing all day long. Although, it could have also been the annoying light flashing and blinding the viewers every couple of songs that kept them in a daze.
itemId=12943 Photo by Mauro Tapia
Songs like “Love of My Life,” however, brought spectators to life singing along to the lyrics, and “Radio Gaga” induced a robotic-like response of arms in the air cycling through clapping twice and making fists, as seen in the audience at Live Aid in 1985. DSR’s interpretation of “Bohemian Rhapsody” brought the crowd to its feet. The band, unlike Queen in some performances, did the entire rendition live without playback, topping off their untouchable tribute to Queen.
The crowd hadn’t had enough and managed to receive two encore performances. Whether it was the wardrobe, the voice, the music of Queen, or simply the desire to imagine they were seeing Queen live, concert-goers enthusiastically demonstrated their enjoyment by the end of the Dios Salve a la Reina’s concert giving them more than one standing ovation. Some fans could say that it was simply a reenactment of Queen’s famous performances at Wembley Stadium, but man, is was a good reenactment.
Dios Salve a la Reina
October 15, 2009
San Diego 850