Miracle, 19th October 2002
Stadsgehoorzaal, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

By Jan-Jaap de Haan


Fredie-style and May-sound

One of my all time favorite bands is Queen. And since they (or at least one of their members) are no longer alive, the closest thing to seeing a Queen-show, is hearing and watching Miracle and their show. Hearing and watching, in that specific order, because the band is no dress-up, wig-wearing "drag-Queen", to the contrary, but when you close your eyes, you'll notice the striking resemblance.

Not that there was nothing to see on this evening of the 19th of October. Miracle created a great show, with a battery of lights, lasers and balloons!! The average prog-band reviewed on this site can learn from these guys, as far as show-elements are concerned.

The most difficult thing, when covering Queen, is to copy the most essential elements of their sound, especially Freddie's voice and Brian's guitar-sound. Johnnie "Freddie" Zwaan comes very close to Freddie's voice, at least live, which is a 'miracle' in itself. Rudi "Brian" de Jong, has some essential sound-elements as well, although I think the band can still improve on the typical multi-layered May-sound.

This concert was the grand finale of the Dutch Queen-convention, which included a huge market and a special appearance of Peter Freestone, former personal assistant to Freddie Mercury. Because the gig was being recorded for a DVD, the band compiled a unique set-list of songs. Most of these very rarely played by Queen, some of them never at all! So this was no "Greatest Hits I, II and III" played live.

Personally, I found Son and Daughter a bit strange choice to open with, but this was made up for by Let Me Entertain You, which got everyone in the theater standing and cheering. After Now I'm Here and I Can't Live with You the next highlight was Ride The Wild Wind, like the latter song off the Innuendo-album. This one had great laser effects and bright lights on the audience, when participating in the shouting of "hey, hey, hey!"
Band in Heaven is Miracle's only own composition, and a very nice one, a ballad in Queen-style about Freddy singing with Jimi, John and Cozy...

Jumping back and forth in time, next were a fast version of Great King Rat (off Queen I) and Was It All Worth It (off The Miracle). This song was another highlight of the evening and it's one of my all-time Queen favorites. Imagine a man suffering of aids, and listen to the lyrics. Keyboardist Mark Smit, who functioned as the "Spike Edney" of the band, had a very prominent role in recreating the orchestral arrangements of this song. And he managed to do so very well.
Scandal is new on Miracle's set-list and it is a welcome addition. Johnnie Zwaan handled the very high parts of the song ('deeper and deeper and deeper inside') in a great manner.

After Seven Seas of Rhye and Dead On Time, there was a short break, because of Zwaan having voice problems. He had to stop several times during the gig. Possibly the many rehearsals and the tension for the DVD-recording were to blame for this. His disappointment with his own performance was clearly visible, and he even apologized after the gig, but let me say that Zwaan was still singing better than anyone in the audience and even better than Freddie himself on most of his more recent performances ('84 and '86 tours).

In don't know if it was because of these 'problems', but a couple of songs were taken care of by Mark "Spike" Smit. He did very well on Fight From The Inside, Coming Soon, Tie Your Mother Down and We Will Rock You, although his voice doesn't really resemble Freddie's.

A short acoustic set, consisting of My Melancholy Blues and '39 were followed by an interesting combination of hits (Who Wants To Liver Forever, Crazy Little Thing) and album-tracks.
These album-tracks were the very majestic Teo Torriate and a stunning version of The Prophet's Song, a song Brian May always considered 'impossible to play live'. Miracle did, and in a great way: shivers down my spine!

The rhythm-section of the band, Chris "Roger" van Koppen and Bart "John" Pellinkhof took their chance to shine in a medley of 80's hits. These pop-tracks, written by Deacon and Taylor, have been created around the steady rhythm and both boys re-created the composers' beat at ease.

The encore of the band was well chosen, with Don't Stop Me Now, We Are The Champions and We Will Rock You. The ancient Ogre Battle perhaps was a less obvious choice.

All in all, I had a great night. Beautiful music, played in a great way. If I'm not mistaken attention has been paid to every Queen album (Flash Gordon excluded), which is quite an achievement. I have no problems at all to forgive Johnnie Zwaan his extra breaks and occasional high-notes missed. We all know Roger did most of them on the famous Wembley-concert. So in a way, even his shortcomings are Freddie-style ;-)

As you can read from the setlist below, Miracle brings a lot to enjoy, also for progressive fans. They do represent Queen's symphonic side very well and not only the hit-machine. So, when these boys come to your town, don't miss them!

Setlist:

Son and Daughter/Let Me Entertain You
Now I'm Here
I Can't Live With You
Ride The Wild Wind
Band In Haven
Great King Rat
Was It All Worth It
Scandal
Seven Seas Of Rhye
Dead On Time
Too Much Love Will Kill You
Fight From The Inside
My Melancholy Blues (acoustic)
'39 (acoustic)
Who Wants To Live Forever
The Prophet's Song
Coming Soon
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Teo Torriate
Medley: Breakfree/Bites the Dust/Radio GaGa
Tie Your Mother Down

Drumsolo
We Will Rock You (slow and fast version)
We Are The Champions
Ogre Battle
Don't Stop Me Now

 

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