Gareth Hill as Freddie Mercury
Gareth is one of the biggest Queen tragics you’ll ever meet!!
After hearing Bohemian Rhapsody in a High School music class in 1985 when one of his friends bought in the cassette tape (yes, he’s old!!), he was hooked… Along with his best mate, Warren, Gareth commenced a Queen obsession that continues to this day!
Since then, you could say he’s been one eyed about Queen and especially about the amazing Freddie Mercury.
Not one to shy away from a stage and the chance at some attention, over the next few years Gareth went on to star in many music theatre productions. With roles such as Fagin in Oliver, The Leading Player in Pippin and Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys & Dolls to name just a few of his musical theatre exploits and a few years playing leading roles in local pantomime under the tutelage of the infamous Joy Mudge, Gareth is no stranger to taking on character roles.
That said, his ultimate role has always been that of the greatest there ever was, Freddie.
Gareth regrettably never got to see Queen perform live, having just missed their tour of Melbourne by a few months. He was only 11 at the time.
He did however, see the incredible Brian May perform in Melbourne in 1998 with The Brian May Band at The Palais Theatre in St Kilda. Approaching the venue with the same best mate and fellow Queen nutter, Warren, the two excited 20 somethings spotted a tall, curly haired man exit one of the stage doors. One look at his feet and when clogs were spotted, Gareth & Warren knew it was the one and only Brian May!
No time to prepare or to have second thoughts, Gareth & Warren ran across the road shouting, “Brian, Brian!!”. Brian greeted them both very warmly. Gareth & Warren were dumstruck, managing only to utter the words, “Brian” repeatedly until Brian eventually gave in and bid them goodbye in the only way Brian May knows how. Extremely politely!
Just a few years later, around 2003, Gareth was taken by a friend to see a Queen Tribute play a show in Melbourne. It was an experience to say the least. Let’s put it this way… Gareth thought he could do it better.
His dream germinated and although he never really seriously thought it would come true, his opportunity arose when fellow Queen Tragic and Brian May aficionado, Luke Mullens gave him a call to take part in a jam session…
Whilst all this was coming to bear, Gareth also made it his business to travel to the UK on a couple of occasions to attend official Queen functions. The first being the 60th birthday celebrations for Freddie Mercury at The Dominion Theatre in 2005. It was here that Gareth met Jacky Smith, the president of the Queen International Fan Club and Jim Jenkins, widely known worldwide as “The Queen Encyclopedia” for his books and eternal dedication to everything Queen related.
Just a few years later, in 2008, Gareth attended the Queen International Fan Club Convention. This was Gareth at his most star struck! Meeting Peter Freestone, Mike Moran, Spike Edney, Jim Jenkins and Jacky Smith again, the amazing Jeff Scott Soto and the infamous Jacqui Batty, Gareth was in Queen heaven!
The culmination of this particular tour was when Gareth performed Bohemian Rhapsody to a flabbergasted Peter Freestone, who exclaimed, “I can’t look” and “That was eery”, encouraging Gareth to continue on his plight.
Gareth Hill is just about the most complete “Freddie” in the business. With an amazing vocal range and every song sung in the original key, an energy that has to be seen to be believed, an incredible likeness for Freddie Mercury and a penchant for the sort of tongue in cheek humour that Freddie bought to the stage, Gareth’s arguably the best there is!! From the moment he steps out onto that stage, to the last curtain call, he’ll have you screaming for more!
If you want to meet him in person, just hang around for a few minutes after a show and the great man will make sure to greet you with his trademark grin and a few laughs… You might even get an autograph!!
If you wish to join the ever growing list of Gareth Hill fans, click the links below to follow him on any one of the myriad of social networking sites he belongs to… And while you’re there, say a big hello!!