On the 31st October 1975, the face of British music changed forever. Bohemian Rhapsody was released and took the music world by storm. A song without a chorus that lasts for nearly six minutes and has an operatic section was a real gamble. Add to that the huge cost of production and a ground breaking video that Rolling Stone magazine credits with ” inventing the music video seven years before MTV went on air”, its influence cannot be overstated. It was in short a game changer!
A matter of weeks later and Queen released ‘A Night at the Opera’, the most expensive album ever recorded at the time, co-produced by the band and Roy Thomas Baker, and set to become many people’s ultimate Queen album. The BBC once said ” Christmas 1975 was to be forever remembered as Queen’s. And ‘A Night at the Opera’ remains their finest hour.”
Skip forward another 40 years or so and Roger Taylor and Brian May’s brainchild, ‘The Queen Extravaganza’ is hitting the road again. This time it’s a little different: instead of playing a greatest hits tour they will tackle the album described by Rolling Stone magazine as, “one of the greatest albums of all time”. They will play ‘A Night at the Opera’ from start to finish, in its entirety, just the way the legendary Queen intended it to be listened to. An album from a time where listening to an album was a journey with a beginning, a middle and a climax.
Roger Taylor, Queen’s brilliant drummer, and Brian May, legendary Queen guitarist, have hand-picked a group of musicians who are charged with bringing to life the experience of seeing Queen live, the thrill and excitement generated by witnessing the wonderful stage shows put together by the original band. As Roger Taylor explains,
“It’s our own official tribute band,”
“They actually play the music better than we ever did…a more perfect version, with a more polished sound.”
Using rare video footage from the Queen archives, the guiding hand of Queen’s own musical supervisor, Spike Edney, and the creative involvement of remaining band members has added a huge aura of legitimacy around the project and the show is set to play 18 dates, starting in Plymouth on October 28th, and concluding at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, on November 20th.
The band itself has been hand selected by Roger and Brian and includes Marc Martel, a singer who clocked up over 11 million You Tube hits for his version of ‘Somebody to Love’, and was so good when he last toured with the Queen Extravaganza that Rolling Stone magazine said: “Martel’s vocal resemblance to Mercury is striking”. He will be joined on stage by guitarist Nick Radcliffe who is also a touring member of The Who’s ‘Tommy’ and bassist Francois-Olivier Doyon who has worked with composer Michel Cusson in the multi media production ‘Cavalia’, drummer Tyler Warren and keyboardist Darren Reeves, who previously appeared in ‘We Will Rock You’, and toured with ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again.
I was lucky enough to witness Queen play Wembley Stadium on the ‘Magic’ tour in 1986, the last time Freddie toured with the band, and can’t wait to see the incredible music of this iconic British band brought to life for a new generation. If the reaction to last year’s sell out world tour by the ‘Queen Extravaganza’ is anything to go by, this will be a date in the calendar not to be missed. Marc Martel has promised not only the ‘Night at the Opera’ album but surprises and songs from Queen’s early recordings. This is a wonderful chance to relive the ‘Magic’! See you there!
Tour dates and ticket information:
Friday 28 Plymouth Pavilions www.
Saturday 29 Salisbury City Hall www
Monday 31 Reading Hexagon w
Tuesday 1 Cambridge Corn Exchange www.
Wednesday 2 Leicester DMH
Friday 4 Newcastle City Hall www.
Saturday 5 Glasgow Clyde
Sunday 6 Liverpool Empire www.atgtickets.com/venues/
Tuesday 8 Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 9 Sheffield City Hall www
Thursday 10 York
Saturday 12 Cardiff
Sunday 13 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre www.atgtickets.
Monday 14 Portsmouth Guildhall
Wednesday 16 Stoke Victoria Hall www.
Friday 18 Llandudno Venue Cymru www.
Saturday 19 Birmingham TSH (SOLD OUT) www.thsh.co.uk
Sunday 20 London Eventim Apollo www.