A quick scan of the Cumberland County Civic Center archives shows that the band Queen played Portland at least a couple of times during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

After the death of the group’s uniquely talented lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1991, the band moved not-so-quietly into the realm of nostalgia and tribute. One of the latest (re)incarnations, with a couple of the original members onboard, was just seen on “American Idol.”

The Portland Symphony Orchestra is doing what it can this weekend to sustain a more comprehensive appreciation for the stellar British foursome. Its final PSO Pops! presentation of the year, “One Vision: Music of Queen,” is a package of the group’s music arranged for orchestra and chorus that highlights Queen’s best songs, many in what has long been noted as the band’s grandiose or “operatic” style.

Queen-size rock music without electric guitars and a drum set just wouldn’t seem right. “One Vision” wisely includes a fully amplified tribute band featuring vocalist Michael Shotton.

It wasn’t long into Saturday night’s opening performance before the power chords of the title song announced that this would not be, for the most part, a quiet show. The full Portland Symphony, spread across the wide Merrill stage, was also amplified through banks of speakers on both sides.

It was a potent combination to hear the strong vocals of Shotton and the wailing guitar work of Adam Martin soar above the orchestral arrangements of several tunes during the evening.  The version of “Who Wants to Live Forever” was particularly powerful.

The low strings had their moment on “Another One Bites the Dust,” which had conductor Robert Moody shaking a tail feather as he directed the musicians. Things quieted down a bit for “You Take My Breath Away,” which featured the piano work of Duncan Grant. Flutes and trumpets also figured prominently on a couple of tunes.

Shotton proved to be quite a showman, encouraging audience participation by, among other things, jumping down from the stage to wander through the audience. He also got off a few age-related jokes that seemed to go over well with the multi-generational crowd.

Some seismic stomping led off the second half of the show as everyone, including the USM Chamber Singers (directed by Robert Russell), joined in on the inevitable “We Will Rock You.”  Following was a very nicely executed “We Are the Champions.”

Chamber Singer Jeremiah Haley, no shrinking violet, was called down to the front of the stage to take the lead on “Somebody to Love” and got the crowd fired up with his soulful style.

A finale of “Bohemian Rhapsody” induced another singalong to its theatrical twists and turns.  Mercury probably would have enjoyed it as much as did the appreciative fans of his and his band’s music Saturday night.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.