Queen Extravaganza – Casino NB – 02/02/13

Posted: 5th February 2013 by refrainmusic in Concerts


Set off and running in the summer of 2012, The Queen Extravaganza is an amazing touring show designed to take the glorious music and the live experience of rock legends Queen to old and new fans in cities across the US and Canada.  Behind  the show is Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor, a man whose talents as a writer and musician have inspired many musical legends of today.  Taylor’s idea was to the create the ultimate Queen concert experience that particularly celebrates the band’s music and not so much be a band that ‘imitates’ Queen but performs the music of the band in the best way possible.

Appearing at Casino New Brunswick this past Saturday, I knew not what to expect.  I normally search the web looking for artists I don’t know much about for a little insight on what to expect, but for this show I decided not to, wanting to take in the full experience.   Now, that said, I had seen vocalist Marc Martel’s viral YouTube video that garnered him global attention for his uncanny ability to sound like the late and storied frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury.   I too had seen QE’s performance on American Idol, which ironically, I found out later in the show was their first public appearance!   Now the sound in the Casino is usually top notch, but I was told before the show that this was likely to be the best sounding show that I had heard to date in this venue (they weren’t wrong).

Marc Martel - Queen Extravaganza

Marc Martel – Queen Extravaganza

With a rapid dimming of the house lights, a bang of the drums, the large logo covered drape that hid the stage lit up like the mothership landing and the show had begun with drummer Tyler Warren starting the show with fellow band members Drian Gresh (Guitar) and Francois-Olivier Doyon (Bass).   Already I was impressed with the skill level the band played at (and became further and further impressed) and main vocalist Marc Martel hadn’t even appeared yet.  By the second song Martel and other vocalist Jennifer Espinoza and from the first note that Martel sings you are blown away by the similarity of his voice to that of the late great Freddie Mercury.   Many have tried to ‘imitate’ the former Queen frontman, but most fall short…Martel does not.   Right from the first note, the high expectations that the crowd has for the cog in the wheel that was Queen is more than adequately achieved in Martel his voice taking on the Mercury vibrato in all the right place, the tone bang on, I saw several jaws drop in the crowd when he began to sing.  Tyler Warren behind the drums and Jennifer Espinoza also take on vocal duties for some songs but this is about Marc Martel and his incredible ability to recreate Mercury (there had been two other singers in the group previously that had earlier been removed).  Taylor’s Queen Extravaganza were hired after an intensive  six week online audition search.  The buzz surrounding the public auditions sparked worldwide interest with video submissions generating more than 6.4 million views. Television host Ellen DeGeneres was so impressed with the level of talent, that she invited one hopeful to perform his audition on her show. That contestant, Montreal’s Marc Ma rtel, secured himself a place in the final band (rightly so!).

Queen Extravaganza - Casino NB

Queen Extravaganza – Casino NB

Belting out classics like “Killer Queen” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, mixing in the more obscure “Lazy On A Sunday Afternoon”, the band had the crowd fully engrossed in the show from the beginning.   Martel interjecting with brief introductions and thanks to the crowd in both English and French, the crowd ate it up with every breath and note the band produced.  Audience participation was encouraged throughout the show, getting the crowd clapping during a fantastic rendition of Radio Ga-Ga, and having the crowd sing along in parts of songs.  Speaking of singing along, the crowd could not help themselves when the band performed the operatic anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” which was interspersed with video footage from the actual Queen days, leaving the harmonies up to them, and the piano playing and main vocals up to Marc Martel…with band coming to a climactic close and the final line, “any way the wind blows”, sung by the crowd.

Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, having never performed it live themselves, was a resounding success filling the room with incredible vocals and musicianship.  Drummer Tyler Warren performed an entertaining drum solos part way through the show, and Jennifer Espinoza shared vocals with Martel during a lively rendition of Under Pressure with Espinoza performing the Bowie portions of the song.

Jennifer Espinoza - Queen Extravaganza

Jennifer Espinoza – Queen Extravaganza

There were many highlights on this night for me, with the vocals of Marc Martel being the prime one.  This band is not a ‘tribute’ in the sense of others where the band attempts to ‘mimic’ the original in both music and character, but Martel nails the voice and the more subtle gestures of the more flamboyant Mercury.   It was a joy to hear some of these songs performed so incredibly well, like “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Fat Bottom Girls”, and “I Want To Break Free”.  I would love to tell you how long the show was (just under two hours I think), but I’m not really sure, I don’t remember the last time I was that engrossed in a show…I didn’t look at my watch once.  Ending the night with one of the most recognizable songs from the band, and the song that got Martel so much recognition, “Somebody To Love” with an incredible vocal performance.

The crowd however was not ready to let the band go just yet, with an on their feet, clapping and cheering session that pulled the band back on to the stage for an up tempo and rocking three song encore of “Tie Your Mother Down”, “We Will Rock You”, and “We Are The Champions”.

Brian Gresh - Queen Extravaganza

Brian Gresh – Queen Extravaganza

I suggest, strongly…that if you ever get the chance to take in a performance of the Queen Extravaganza, don’t hesitate.  I closed my eyes on many occassions this night and was transported back to the heyday of Queen, the sounds shining brightly as if Freddie had miraculously reappeared and was on the stage before me…my ears were in awe, my musical heart was happy, and a great time was had by all.  If Roger Taylor set out to give the best musical rendition he could of his former iconic rock band, I say job well done sir, job well done!

Thanks to Queen Extravaganza, Evenko, PPRL, Casino NB, and the music of Queen for a wonderful night of musical entertainment!  Until next time!


  1. Brent says:

    Very nice review. I couldnt agree with your comments more. Just a little side note. The three musicians who were in the the original group that did not return, really were not removed….. they just had other offers for longer employment. All of them left with Roger’s blessing and the offer to return if schedules permit. Jeff Scott Soto went with Trans Siberian Orchestra, Tristan Ivakian with Rock of Ages and Yvan Pednault with Phoebus. Like you, its been a very long time since I enjoyed myself this much at a show. I loved how intimate the show was as well. This show could easily get to be a pretty big deal…. especially once they eventually play the UK… They will eat this up.