It’s one of the odder supergroups NME has witnessed: Brian May, Tom Jones – and comedian Al Murray on drums.
The unlikely gang took to the stage last night (September 3) at London’s Savoy hotel for a fundraiser in aid of Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS Charity set up by Queen after the frontman’s death.
Tom Jones sang just one song, a cover of Elvis Presley’s 1958 hit ‘One Night’, towards the end of a setlist that was mostly made up of Queen songs, but also included a few surprises, including a cover of Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone’.
Joining May onstage at various points were Queen drummer Roger Taylor, tenor Alfie Bowe (best known for playing the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables), Barbadian rock band Cover Drive, the cast of Queen musical We Will Rock You, Al Murray, and Freddie Mercury soundalike Marc Martel.
Also in attendance at the charity event were Sarah Ferguson, Princess Eugenie, magician Dynamo, and Sacha Baron Cohen, who is set to play Mercury in an upcoming film about the singer, who died in 1991.
One of the prizes auctioned was a walk-on part in the Mercury biopic, which is scheduled for release in 2013. Guests at the fundraiser, dubbed Freddie For A Day, got into the spirit by wearing Mercury-style moustaches.
Brian May with wife Anita Dobson
Yesterday we reported that Freddie Mercury had been turned into an Angry Bird for a one-off YouTube animation, also part of the Freddie For A Day charity push. Seemingly anticipating criticism of this tongue-in-cheek use of Mercury’s image, Queen manager Jim Beach said to guests the start of the event:
Freddie told me before he died, ‘You can do anything you want with my name and my image, I don’t care. Just please, don’t ever make me boring.’
Last year, Freddie Mercury came second in an NME poll of the greatest singers of all time.