It was July 1986 and I was standing at Wembley waiting to see Queen play their last world tour date at the famous National Stadium. I had watched support bands INXS, Status Quo and The Alarm whip the sold out crowd into a frenzy of expectant excitement that seemed almost impossible to match and yet, and unsurprisingly, Queen managed to not only match but surpass all expectations in what became remembered as an iconic gig.
Years later in 2016, I had the chance to see Queen Extravaganza, the official Queen tribute band, follow in their heroes footsteps as they played a sell out night at the London Eventim Apollo, the former Hammersmith Odeon, where in 1975 Queen had played in a gig that gained immortality due to its being recorded as “A Night at the Odeon”. I was naturally sceptical that night but all my fears of this being just another tribute band were unfounded as Marc Martel, Tyler Warren, Francois-Olivier Doyon, Darren Reeves and Nick Radcliffe absolutely brought Queen and their music back to life, not as a slavish impersonation, but as reinvention of the music that changed the world. The band is the lovechild of Queen stalwarts Roger Taylor and Brian May, so I really should not have been surprised. Marc Martel, incidentally, is the singer that provided vocals in the hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody along with Freddie’s originals. The amount of work Marc did is shrouded in rock’n’roll mystery by a non disclosure agreement which, by its very existence, suggests quite a lot.
Now, with Queen’s 50 year Anniversary on the horizon, Queen Extravaganza are back in the UK in January and February 2021 with what Roger Taylor has described as “a scintillatingly perfect recreation” of the original band’s music. He adds that he is “incredibly proud of these guys and it’s going to be a nostalgic and stunning night out for anyone who goes along”.
I was lucky enough to see the original band in all their glory but I can’t wait to take my sons to experience the magic of Queen all these years later. They loved the biopic of Freddie Mercury and the band and it will be a great opportunity, and realistically one of the very few ways, to experience the magic of Queen live all these years later.
The way that Queen Extravaganza is set up means that it has a rolling and fluid line up but whoever you see you can be confident that, with the involvement of May and Taylor, there is no way this will disappoint. If you want to experience the rush and high of clapping along to Radio Ga Ga or simply letting loose to Bohemian Rhapsody I’d advise you to get tickets as soon as you can.
13 January Portsmouth Guildhall
14 January Eastbourne Congress
15 January Oxford New Theatre
17 January Birmingham Symphony Hall
19 January Leicester De Montfort Hall
21 January Ipswich Regent
22 January Reading Hexagon
23 January London Eventim Apollo
25 January Plymouth Pavilions
27 January Bath Forum
29 January Cardiff St David’s Hall
31 January Southampton Mayflower
2 February Llandudno Venue Cymru
3 February Sheffield City Hall
4 February Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
6 February Blackpool Opera House
7 February Liverpool Empire
8 February Bradford St George’s Hall
10 February Hull Bonus Arena
12 February Newcastle City Hall
14 February Edinburgh Usher Hall
15 February Glasgow Armadillo
16 February Aberdeen Music Hall
18 February Salford Lowry
19 February Stoke Victoria Hall
20 February The Anvil Basingstoke