BREAKTHRU 2015: OFFICIAL NORTH AMERICAN QUEEN CONVENTION

Tony Vincent's connection and great respect for the rock band, Queen stretches back many many years, so you can imagine, he was absolutely THRILLED to accept an invitation to be a special guest performer at the 15th Annual North American Queen Convention, which took place on his BIRTHDAY, July 25, 2015, at the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport Hotel.  Convention leader/organiser Paul DeFerrari was kind enough to give us an exclusive insight to all the goings on! (Cheers Paul!)

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This year, Breakthru 2015: The Official North American Queen Convention had the honor and pleasure of having Tony Vincent as a guest and performer. How lucky we were to have Breakthru be his first convention experience, and to have him actually wanting to come?  Lucky lucky I say!

Peter Freestone (former PA of Freddie Mercury) and I met Tony at the airport.  His first fun was a rather bumpy, Detroit potholes baby, ride to the hotel.  We got him settled and he checked in with his wife, Aspen, and then off to the ballroom to rehearse with Rock A La Carte.

They all rehearsed for close to 2 hours.  I remember them working so hard on Hammer to Fall.  Having seen Tony perform in WWRY in both London and Las Vegas, it was a joy to hear him singing live again.

Saturday morning he joined everyone at the swap meet.  He had CD’s, t-shirts, pictures, he graciously signed items, took pictures with attendees, between all that he and I would talk about Breakthru and its history. Tony also agreed to participate in a Q&A session that featured him, Jacky Smith (Official International Queen Fan Club) and Peter Freestone.

Saturday night, performance time, everyone’s bellies were full, and people are raring for live music! (Saturday is THE big day for the convention, runs from 8am to about 2am). The band and Tony were introduced and the magic begins.

The set list included Hammer to Fall, We will Rock You, Champions, Under Pressure, The Show Must go On and his song, A Better Way.

Each song met with thunderous applause.  If you have seen reactions on our Facebook site, suffice to say the attendees loved Tony.  A Better Way was a treat for all, prepared to sing Queen, Tony was surprised when we asked him why none of his music was on the list.  With some prodding, he agreed to add one of his song’s to the set list. Just him, a piano and that voice! Brilliant!

Tony of course engaged the crowd, reinforced what a special time the weekend is, applauded us for the amount of monies raised for charity over the years and delighted all by saying Aspen and he had decided the money from sales of his merchandise sold at the convention would be donated to St. Jude, which was one of our 2015 charities.  How kind and generous for them to do that!  Class act all the way!  

We also knew it was his birthday.  In conversation he mentioned he hoped it was not made into a big deal, I replied I could neither confirm nor deny anything was in the pipeline and this small smile comes across his face.  Listen, he left a family gathering, spent time away from his family on his birthday, to entertain Breakthru, OF COURSE we had plans.

The conventioneers attempted a rendition of Happy Birthday after his performance and a cake was presented to him. The rest of the night Tony spent in the ballroom, watching Rock Ala Carte and Alan Morphew perform, engaging with attendees and rocking out with us.  A truly wonderful night for all.  

Once again thank you Tony for helping to make Breakthru 2015 ultra special, thank you for being part of our family, and being so kind and generous to us all.  

And there you have it…..

Paul DeFerrari 
Atlanta GA