During his phenomenal set at Dublin’s 3Arena on Wednesday night, Eddie Vedder paused to speak about an Irish Freddie Mercury impersonator he had bumped into the previous day.
Brian Keville, who performs as Mercury in Queen tribute band Qween, had spotted Vedder along with Glen Hansard at the side of the road in Celbridge, Co Kildare.
A Pearl Jam fan for three decades, Brian couldn’t believe his luck when he spotted Vedder posing for a photo beside a ‘Who’s Eddie?’ poster, and quickly pulled his car over to meet his idol.
“I was completely bowled over,” he tells Independent.ie. “It was like ‘what the hell is a superstar and icon doing in Celbridge?’ He’s been my hero for the past 30 years and I just turned into a boy again.”
Brian, who is from Leixlip, explained to Vedder that his moustache was not a personal fashion choice, but because he performs as Freddie Mercury, and Vedder asked him to sing a few bars.
“I broke into ‘Ay-Oh’ and he literally took a step back he was so scared,” laughs Brian.
Vedder also recorded a phone message for Brian’s brother John who is also a massive Pearl Jam fan.
Brian was unable to attend the 3Arena gig as his friend was ill, but while he sat at home that evening he was suddenly inundated with messages via social media from friends telling him that Vedder was talking about him on stage.
“People were telling me he was telling people the story of meeting me and he was putting pictures of me up on the big screen,” reveals Brian. “He showed a pic of me dressed as Freddie and everybody went crazy.”
Brian hopped in his car and arrived at the 3Arena as the gig ended, but after a quick chat with security (having run through the crowd shouting ‘I’m Freddie!’ to rapturous applause), he was taken into the venue to meet Vedder backstage.
“He was so nice and courteous and he gave me a little gift only myself and The Edge got – a little logo lighter – and I got a picture with everyone.”
Eddie’s wife Jill also got their daughter, Harper, on FaceTime as she is a big Queen fan.
“Harper was actually starstruck by me!” says Brian, “Her own father is a superstar and she was actually starstruck by me!”
Brian emerged from the 3Arena after 15 minutes and was so elated he drove six miles in the wrong direction on his way home.
It was Brian’s late mother Frances’ birthday the day after the concert, and Brian feels the timing was telling, “Our mother passed away three years ago and it’s her birthday July 4th, so I like she had something to do with it,” he says.
Since his moment on stage, albeit via a couple of photos, business has been booming for Brian and Qween.
“I just hope all the attention helps the band,” he says. “The truth is, we’re very good. People who come to see us give us five stars. People are impressed by what we do. We played Tayto Park this week and I was there for an hour taking photos with everybody afterwards.
“The Queen legacy has been regenerated by the film [Bohemian Rhapsody] recently too so we hope this will help with opening a few avenues across Europe.”
Eddie Vedder wraps up his European tour tomorrow night in London supporting The Who.
You can find out more about Qween via qween.ie and www.facebook.com/qweenband
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