In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. In this second look back at 2022 it involves a trip to a small town on the outskirts of Kansas City and that’s Liberty, Missouri. We performed in Liberty in June 2022 and we had a very nice venue of the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre to host our Celebrating Queen gig. If you haven’t seen Part 1 of this series, please take a look at Celebrating Queen in Utah.
Gig 2 – Liberty, Missouri
On Monday, June 6th I flew from Dublin to Chicago with Aer Lingus and had the joy of having no in-flight entertainment system and hot tea being spilled on me on the flight due to a careless person in the seat in front of me … who by the way didn’t even turn back to see if I was ok. The Aer Lingus crew was excellent, making sure I was ok. After that ordeal, I flew from Chicago to Kansas City with American Airlines who are always excellent to fly with.
What a Welcome to Liberty Missouri
Arriving in Kansas I could see lots of clouds on the horizon and it was just after sunset as we made our final approach to runway 19R. By the time I made my way from the airport to the band hotel, it was around 23:30 local time and I had been traveling around 27 hours by this stage. I made my way to my room, by now it was around 1:45 am (after a small mix-up with my room details), and settled in for what I hoped would be some good jetlag-catch-up-sleep … but that didn’t last. Within minutes our lead singer was banging on the door, shouting “Shane Shane get up … tornado”, I made my way to the door and was told that I had 1 minute to get out and get to the basement as there was a tornado warning. With that my iPhone made the most horrifying noise I have ever heard; it was like all the alarms on my phone going off at the same time with a notification basically saying Tornado Warning – seek shelter. We stayed in the basement for about 30 minutes until we were given the all-clear. So much for a relaxing sleep!
The Tornado Warning that appeared on my phone accompanied by a wailing screech from the phone – probably designed to wake you up
We arrived at the venue the next day and had a look around, arranged some small tech details, and proceeded back to the hotel for a quick rehearsal and show run-through.
On the day of the show, we had a band lunch at a very nice Italian-run steakhouse/sports bar restaurant and then proceeded to the LPAT venue for the show. The venue has the most beautiful Yamaha Grand Piano, even nicer than the Steinway which I played in St. George Utah back in March. I also had my trusty Korg Kronos 88key workstation which is always on my tech rider and is rented for me when I get there.
The Yamaha Grand Piano all ready to Rock before the Show with the Korg Kronos behind it
The show itself went off amazingly with a fantastic set of Queen Hits. I have an audio recording of the show and for me, it’s one of the best shows I have done. Some of the Highlights are Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer to Fall, Under Pressure, and Killer Queen. At one point during Hammer to Fall, a member of the audience, dressed in a very convincing Freddie Mercury Live Aid outfit came up on stage and started to sing into one of the microphones – our lead singer had to politely ask him to leave the stage. We had a very good projection system at the show and this allowed us to project images behind us as we played. Also at the end of the show, as normal for any Queen tribute, God Save the Queen, was played – but we had credits rolling with the band names, our stage manager, and all that so it looked very professional. The team at the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre was amazing and I look forward to returning. After the show, we had a band catch-up over some pizza and snacks, a really good evening for sure.
Exploring Historic Liberty
The day after the show we got some downtime and explored the small town of Historic Liberty. There is a lot of history in this area and the town square looks very much like the one from Back to the Future with the town hall in the central green square and all the quaint shops around it. As we walked the area it was 33C, very hot and it was only a 30-minute walkaround before you started feeling the heat – at least I did because we rarely get 33C in Ireland.
The fun wasn’t quite finished though. I was leaving the night after this show and I decided to get some rest from about 8 pm to 2 am as my flight was not leaving until 6 am. My plan was to sleep until 2 a.m., get to the airport at about 3:30 a.m. and I would be in perfect time for the 6 a.m. internal flight to JFK. But at 10:45 pm, another Tornado Warning. The iPhone notification and sound went off again, I was getting texts and phone calls to come down to the hotel basement. So much for a relax. Looking back, I suppose it is part of the experience of living in that area of the world. We would never experience this in Ireland so all in all, it was an interesting trip.
Returning to Liberty with Freddie: Songs of a Legend
Photo Gallery of my Trip to Liberty, Missouri
My room had a very nice Jacuzzi in it also – ideal for a post-gig relaxing soak
The tornado warning on my weather app
Just arrived at the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre
The Liberty Performing Arts Theatre seating 760 in the audience
Testing the Yamaha Grand Piano moments after arriving at the gig ; pre load-in
On stage during the show, this was You’re my Best Friend about 6 songs into the set
The view from the back of the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre
The Yamaha grand piano is all set up with the Korg Kronos ready to go in the background.
A plaque with some information about Historic Liberty. Quite a lot has happened in this small but beautiful town.
The weather was very warm as we explored the town the day after the show
Weather Radar as the second tornado warning comes into effect and we yet again take shelter in the hotel basement.
This is a photo that I took on my DSLR about 30 mins before the tornado warning came into effect. The storm could be seen approaching from the northwest and the lightning was on a level I had not seen before.
I hope you have enjoyed Part 2 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute in Liberty Missouri next up I will do a small piece on our festivals in Florida and Texas.
There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.
You can follow my musical timeline journey at https://shanemcdonald.ie/queen/my-music-timeline-and-journey