FROM LEFT: Three members of the touring band; “Froggie”, Nellie Nixon, Freddie Mercury and the band’s lead guitarist. Photo EMMA TODD.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
When star Freddie Mercury lost his voice in Friday’s show paying tribute to the British rock band Queen, the audience didn’t complain. It took over.
FROM LEFT: Susie Gregory, “Freddie Mercury”, John Bermingham and “Froggie”.
It all started with Justine Petrick. She was in the audience celebrating her birthday. Freddie coaxed her onto the Araluen stage – much to her initial silent embarrassment.
When she finally replied he said: “You’ve got a voice” as he was about to lose his own.
Freddie then sang her a special song.
That triggered a complete flip in Justine, says Chris Hawke, one of the hundreds of people watching: “She exploded in joy, smiling, singing, dancing, playfully, delightfully.”
Somehow it was all too much for Freddie. He could barely talk now, certainly not sing.
Enter stage left Susie Gregory who took the ailing star backstage for some natural healing.
On his return Freddie asked: “Are there any singers in the audience?”
Justine Petrick – shy not for long. Photo EMMA TODD.
Were there ever: 30 or 40 people pointed to Froggie (not his real name).
He and Nellie Nixon then began to delight the crowd.
Singing and dancing in aisles had gotten under way.
“It was like a giant karaoke,” says Chris.
Freddie, after receiving TLC from Susie, got back into his dance routine, without the singing, which was left to the local stars.
And so it turned into a Froggie saved Freddie story as Justine and Nellie stole the show.
It was Alice Springs resourcefulness at its very best.