This little corner of Abruzzo is in danger of becoming Resurrected Rock Star Central. I’ve already blogged the astonishingly good Elvis tribute band we saw in Casoli a couple of years ago – but who are making a long-overdue reappearance on Wednesday !

It's a kind of magic ! Freddie lives !I now blog – with ears still slightly ringing – a truly memorable Friday night in nearby Palombaro being blown away by Queen tribute band Regina.

Now Queen were – are – Pauline’s absolute most favorite band in history. Ever. Utterly.

So this wasn’t a case of “Oh look at that poster. There’s a Queen tribute band in Palombaro on Friday. If there’s nothing on telly, fancy going ?”


And thus it came to pass that we sat eating very good char-grilled sausages and scamorza, while I drank beer and Pauline peered moodily at a glass of that famed Abruzzo favourite sangria, while wondering why this was the only festa in Italian history where you couldn’t buy a bottle of wine.

Luckily, an SOS SMS reached our friends Michele and Nick just as they were leaving home and they arrived with a bottle.

Just one unfortunately, which gave Michele and Pauline – and our other friend Ruth – just the excuse they needed to buy a round of industrial-strength gin and lemon-soda cocktails.

A couple of tables away, Freddie Mercury look-alike Diego Regina and the other band members, (who – not that it especially matters, but I mention it in passing – looked nothing like Brian May, or Roger Taylor, or the guy who played bass), prepared for the gig with practiced indolence.

Red wine. Hangers-on. Photos for fans. Cigarettes. Giggles and In-Jokes.

Rock’n’roll never changes.

Irritatingly, a well-meaning but utterly dire Abruzzo folk ditty chorale – the world’s most incongruous-ever warm-up act – over-ran interminably, due mainly to some fool in the crowd who persisted in applauding them. Which of course encouraged them to do more.

The show must go on...Regina finally appeared just after 11.00. An hour-and-a-half of classic hits later, later they triumphantly wound it up, segueing from Radio Ga-Ga into We Are The Champions.

Now…anyone can dress-up to look like Freddie Mercury. Diego Regina clearly believes he is Freddie Mercury. And he’s not being all that delusional.

He can sing. That’s for sure. Like his hero, he also plays keyboards and guitar. And for ninety minutes, as he strutted his stuff onstage, he was his hero.

To back him up, the boys in the band had that razor-edged quality that sets genuine musicians apart from a bunch of guys who happen to own guitars and know a couple of chords.

No surprise to discover then that Regina were finalists in this year’s Italy’s Got Talent TV series.

They really are that good.

Killer ‘Queen’ in fact.