So thus far, Chilean carrete (nightlife) has been filled with plenty of surprises, such as the tribal like dancing around the pile of coats or the combination of reggae concerts and discoballs . However, last night, we discovered the true gem of Santiago: a Queen cover band.
As all you Bohemian Rhapsody fans out there know, the opportunity to play a Brian May solo on air guitar is never to be passed up. So when I came across the webpage for Batuta and discovered that the coverband Chilequeen would be giving a special performance in honor of Freddie Mercury's birthday (today September 5th) we clearly had no choice but to warm up our vocal cords and go!
The group consisted of five guys; the "Brian May" of the group unfortunately didn't have a shock of beautiful curls although he was sporting a delightfully vintage Queen concert T-shirt while the "John Deacon" inexplicably wore a Chicago Bears football jersey (I'm still a bit confused). Yet "Freddie Mercury" was by far the most extravagant; he of course made his grand entrance during the intro for "Hammer to Fall", clad in white pleather pants and a matching jacket. But of course the outfit wouldn't have been complete without his tight black tank top, the V-neck of which dipped close to his navel, revealing a selva (jungle) of chest hair. It should also be noted that about halfway through the performance, he left the stage for a brief minute, only to reemerge to proudly display for us his costume change, a muscle shirt consisting of the British flag, with an equally revealing neckline.
But all effects aside, the band was actually really good. The "Freddie" was not only a great impersonator but had the pipes to back it up; his vocal range rivaled that of Mercury himself, complete with high pitched screams which were remarkably in tune and enjoyable to listen to. Everything from "Another One Bites the Dust" to " I Want to Break Free" was incredible and when we the crowd acted as the gospel choir during "Somebody to Love" it was probably the closest thing I've ever had to a religious experience.
Yet what was equally entertaining was the commentary in between songs simply because of the abrupt change in language; one minute "Freddie" was crooning out the end of "We will Rock you" and the next said, "Gracias! Que bacan esa cancion!" (Thanks! That song is great!)
A great mix of genders and ages. There was a strong presence of men with long hair, that which is ideal for head banging, an activity which was not scarce throughout the course of the evening. But despite our different fashion choices, our shared love for Queen united us; we swayed together during "We are the Champions" and lamented to "Mama" during "Bohemian Rhapsody", the best encore song ever. By the end of the night, my ears were ringing from the excessively loud dynamics but I had a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, that of which can only come from grooving to "Crazy Little Thing called Love". Over all, great night.
In other exciting news, I'm legal in this country! If you'll remember from my post about our pre-BuenosAires adventures, five of us lost our student visas due to a system crash which prevented us from getting our Chilean ID cards. Although we were in the process of re-applying for visas, our program director received a call Monday morning from the government, angrily questioning why we had two visa applications and no ID cards. After a short but hardly sweet meeting with a government official Thursday morning in an office which reminded me too much of the DMV (aka HELL) the Chilean government reluctantly granted us a 10 day extension to register for ID cards, thereby telling us that our old visas are still valid! So, although this whole process was a "lata" (hassle/bummer) in 9 days I'll have an official Chilean ID and all will be well with the world.
Shout-out goes to my dear mother Julie Eskenazi, know that I could only think of you, Pictionary and the globe when the cover band did a glorious rendition of "We are the Champions" last night. Actually, I guess this shout-out goes to Barb Helfrich as well...isn't it fun playinig board games as a family?