Almost Queen ‘will rock you’

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Almost Queen played The Cabot in Beverly, Mass. (photo by Brooke Robinson).

Brooke Robinson, Staff

The New York-based Queen tribute band “Almost Queen” rocked The Cabot Theater in Beverly, Mass. on Friday, Dec.10. 

Concert-goers were up and moving throughout most of the show, and towards the end, the crowd gave the band a standing ovation, cheering and waving. 

Almost Queen, who has been going strong for 17 years, includes lead singer Joseph Russo, guitarist Steve Leonard, bassist Randy Gregg, and drummer John Cappadona. 

I had the opportunity to interview Russo and Cappadona before the show at The Cabot Theater.

Both musicians said the band Queen has been a significant part of their lives since a young age. 

“I heard ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for the first time on the radio in 1975, and that did it for me,” said Russo, who started playing the piano at 7 years old and took up other instruments such as the saxophone and bass afterwards. 

 Cappadona said that he began to play drums at the same age. “I never stopped, never looked back, and I still play every day for about an hour a day,” he said. “I just love it.” 

For Cappadonna, the live performances are the biggest thrill of playing in a rock band.

“We live for the shows. There’s really nothing like them,” he said. “It’s an hour and a half on stage. Everything outside of that hour and a half is a lot of travel,” said Cappadona. “But tours are seldom. We do basically a lot of weekend-warrior type stuff.”

In order to play Queen, a band known for their eclectic music-style, the musicians need to be versed a range of genres. 

“We’re all very different musically,” Russo said. “I think that makes us a great unit as a band. We all bring something really different to the show. We all come from different backgrounds. It’s a good mix.” 

Russo said they all listen to a variety of music- from The Beatles to classical music and, yes, Queen. 

Over the years, the band said there have been many songs that they’ve enjoyed playing. 

“I enjoy playing a lot of our songs, but if you ever notice, I love doing ‘You’re My Best Friend.’ It’s just such a sweet song, and I’m always just so happy to sing it,” Russo said. 

For Cappadona, among the Queen radio classics, he favors playing “Somebody to Love.” 

“It is such an amazing well-written song that there’s no other song like it—like many Queen songs. But particularly that one really gets me every time.” 

But Cappadona added that he particularly enjoys playing deeper cuts from the band.

“Of course every show, we do the biggest hits,” he said. “But of all the other songs we throw in there, over the course of 17 years, we have done probably over 30 deep cuts, and I’ve gotta say, I really loved most of them.” 

In fact, one of the first songs Almost Queen  played together was a deeper cut: “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy,”. 

Still, the band remains humble and grateful for the fans that attend their shows.

“We hope you’ll come see us. We’re playing a lot in the next few months and  focusing on the northeast at this time,” said Russo.