My husband Michael and I went to see the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” last month. As you surely know, this movie is about the rock band Queen.
I grew up listening to Queen’s music, along with music from mega-rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, etc.
I never considered myself a huge Queen fan in the past, but that changed after we saw the movie. I am now completely obsessed with the band (especially Freddie Mercury) and their music!
So when I found out that the Spokane Symphony would be performing the music of Queen at the Fox Theatre in Spokane on my birthday a few weeks ago, I knew we had to go to the show.
Unfortunately, by the time we found out about the show it was sold out.
Michael continued to check online for tickets as the date approached but had no luck.
We’d accepted the fact that we wouldn’t be going to the show and tried to figure out something else to do to celebrate my birthday.
But on the afternoon of the show, Michael decided to check one more time to see if the theatre had released any tickets at the last minute. And they had!
The online box-office seating chart showed that two great floor seats had become available so Michael bought them. Yes!
That evening, we headed to Spokane early so we could have dinner before the show, making the hour drive from the rural mountains north of Spokane where we live to downtown.
When we arrived, we found street parking in front of a big, beautiful old church then made the short walk though the foggy and warm-for-January temps to the restaurant.
After a lovely dinner, we walked a short distance to the Fox Theatre.
There were other events going on in town that night at the Bing Theatre and the INB so the town was bustling with traffic and people walking about.
Spokane is a beautiful city, but because of the busyness and the fog that blanked the city it was magical that evening!
We arrived at the Fox Theater about 20 minutes before the show started, took our seats, and talked with some of the people seated around us.
The Fox Theatre is a special venue because of its history and intimacy.
It is an art deco movie theater that was built in 1931. It was part of the Fox Film Corporation Empire founded by studio mogul William Fox.
In 2000, the Spokane Symphony purchased the building and spent 7 years and $31 million doing an extensive restoration, which included reducing the seating from 2,300 to 1,700.
Just a few days prior to the show we went to, the theater had installed a new sound system that was paid for by an anonymous donor.
The show started shortly after 8:00 pm, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it included a full rock band and a vocalist named Brody Doylnuk.
What happened over the next few hours was amazing!
The outside world with its problems, political divides, and noise disappeared.
If you’ve been to a concert since smart phones took over the world, you know that most people take pictures and video throughout the show. But this night, every person honored the “no recording” policy for the performance.
For Michael and me, what was so beautiful about the night was how everyone in the audience knew the words to every single song, and sang along in perfect harmony with the vocalist who was professional, entertaining, and very talented.
To not only see but also feel the joy in the audience as they participated in the show, clapping and dancing as they belted out the lyrics to “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Tie Your Mother Down”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, Somebody to Love”, I Want It All”, and the many other hits Queen had, was just what our spirits needed.
While I enjoyed all the songs, there were two that really affected me.
The first was “Under Pressure”, which Queen recorded with David Bowie and released in 1982.
Interestingly, it had never been one of my favorite songs in the past.
But the lyrics took on new meaning and relevancy as I heard them at the show, thirty-seven years after the song was released.
I was brought to tears as I sang, “It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about. Watching some good friends scream, ‘Let me out!” because, man, I feel that way sometimes.
The second song that affected me deeply was “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
This seemed to be the song that affected the audience the most, too, and was also the song they sang the loudest.
But it also affected the vocalist, Brody, deeply, when the audience so beautifully and tenderly accompanied him on the final few versus of the song, which are sung with minimal musical accompaniment.
He teared up, as did Michael and I, when everyone in the theater sang, “Doesn’t really matter to meeee,” carrying the last note together in perfect harmony, as we, in that moment, became a choir that had never before and never will again perform together.
We did the same for the final verse: Any way the wind blows.
Those who weren’t yet on their feet, rose, and the theater erupted in applause and cheers.
I think many were a bit surprised by the power of the amazing moment we had all unexpectedly created and participated in.
The clapping transitioned us into the final song of the show, which the audience politely demanded with its thunderous stomping and clapping.
Stomp, stomp, clap! Stomp, stomp, clap!
Yeah, you know the song.
Everyone remained on their feet, stomping, clapping, and singing their hearts out as Brody, the orchestra, and the band performed “We Will Rock You – We Are the Champions”.
We all felt like champions and rock stars as we released our inhibitions and freed our inner Freddie Mercury, who has been hidden away deep inside of us for far, far too long.
It was spectacular!
I didn’t want the night to end because it’s been a long time since I’ve had that much fun and experienced such an entertaining show,
This show and also the movie reminded me of the level of talent, creativity, imagination, and willingness to experiment that Queen possessed, and how much I miss that.
This level of “creative genius” has disappeared from the music industry, gradually, over time, and many of us haven’t even noticed.
But Michael and I, and the 1,700 members of the audience that night at the Fox Theater, where reminded how hungry our spirits are for music that is created and performed from this place.
I’ve been watching a lot of Queen videos on YouTube since the show, and what I’ve noticed about Freddie Mercury is how he sang each note of every song with every fiber of his being.
He put every ounce of himself into his performances, and seemed completely free.
His talent was extraordinary, and he was unapologetically himself, embracing his uniqueness and peculiarities, which is oh so rare today.
I love that the movie has rekindled a newfound love affair with Queen and their music for me and so many others, while also introducing their genius to a new generation of fans.
The mark of truly great music is that it remains relevant over the years, oftentimes becoming even more relevant than when it was originally released, making it eternal and those who wrote and performed it immortal.
Our spirits need to experience this level of creativity to survive. That’s why it’s so important to not only value and embrace creativity in our lives and in the world but also to become creative ourselves.
I talk about this in Chapter 33, “Valuing and Embracing Creativity,” of my book THE SPIRIT FACTOR.
Our lives and the world will benefit the more creative each of us becomes, but we have to give creativity the time, space, and resources it needs to live in us and others.
THE SPIRIT FACTOR will help you do this, and in the process free you from obstructions so you can discover the limitless potential that lives inside of you.
THE SPIRIT FACTOR is a completely new and revolutionary philosophy — based on the simplicity, intelligence, and wisdom of nature — that provides us the tools to tap into the limitless potential of the human spirit.
THE SPIRIT FACTOR is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.