For those not acquainted with the likeable and genuine Flash Harry guys, they have been known for re-creating the legend Rock music that was Queen for the last 20+ years, and it’s hard to remember a time without them. They have constantly raised the bar in taking their Queen tribute show to new and more challenging heights year after year, to a point where they can safely say that they are the most successful and adventurous Queen tribute act around.
The Band, founded by long time school friends Harry Hamilton (vocals) and John (Click) Cleland (Bass), had been playing rock music since the mid 1980’s and is today much transformed from its modest beginnings in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. The break came in 1992 when Harry and Click decided to pay homage to the then recent passing of Freddie Mercury by performing, for one night only, a set of Queen songs to anyone who would come along and bring their own drink! So Flash Harry, a group of 5 musicians, took a giant leap of faith and courage with an inaugural gig on 13th March 1992 at the local Town Hall. The 270 strong capacity crowd went as daft then as the audiences do today. A few more local gigs followed, after which time Stevie Shanks joined the Band as Drummer. The future of Flash Harry was cemented with their big break when, on the first anniversary of Freddie’s death, the guys plus support Band, performed at the Ulster Hall in Belfast; and the rest, as they say, is history. As is generally the case with any successful band, there’s been line-up changes along the way, and the current incumbents joining Harry, Click and Stevie: Stevie Prosser on keys, and taking over from a 13 year stint by Ian “Speedo” Wilson, Stevie Boyd on lead guitar, still get the same buzz from delivering a festivity of Queen songs which never pass their sell by date. A band is always indebted to its backup, and Spike Milliken as chief roadie and lighting engineer, has pretty much led the crew since the beginning, ably assisted in more recent times by Dougie Smith. As for the music, it can be pretty complicated stuff – many of the Queen songs have a different chorus every time, and sometimes no two verses are the same – a challenge for any accomplished musicians. With their own particular slant, Flash Harry performs the songs as the extravaganzas they are, to very exacting and expectant audiences. The repertoire has grown somewhat from the 26 song set which launched Flash Harry so long ago; it encompasses the majority of Queen’s released material, both well known and lesser so, but there’s no doubt that the staple diet of anthems incorporated in the regular sets, will always get the crowd on their feet dancing, stamping, clapping and singing along each and every time.
The Band has toured not only all over Ireland, but more widely, in the UK and abroad. Their track record speaks volumes for the quality of the performances, quality and sheer entertainment value of their Show. They have sold out major venues time after time, including Belfast’s Grand Opera House, Waterfront Hall, Dublin’s O2, and even London’s Royal Albert Hall. Their own-style “The Magic of Queen – Rocked Up and Classical” show, incorporating a 64-piece orchestra and 40-voice choir, filled the biggest venue in Ireland – Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, to capacity on three separate occasions, earning the guys their place in Irish Rock Music legend. They are also repeat headliners for the International Queen Fan Club’s annual convention, where they play to a highly critical audience.
After an amazing non-stop 20+ years delivering unforgettable shows in top notch venues, the reason for Flash Harry’s success is simple, it’s a show of hit after hit, delivered with the very essence of live performance: energy, enthusiasm, talent, passion and pure showmanship. The music of Queen is universal in its appeal, and the reputation of Flash Harry is well earned – quite simply, it’s live music entertainment at it’s very best, you just know that these guys can deliver a rock show as good as any you will see. The music of Queen has been the sound track of the last 40 years. Rarely will a show reach across generations and deliver as much as Flash Harry – a Tribute to Queen.
May 10, 2017