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Live Review: The Queen Extravaganza Show - The Star Event Centre, Sydney (07.10.15)

Attempting to fill the shoes of anyone in Queen is a difficult, and almost impossible task. Though for the official cover band, where members are chosen by Brian May and Roger Taylor, The Queen Extravaganza is injected with an aura of legitimacy in their quest to continue the Queen experience. How did they go when they played The Star Event Centre last week? Lachlan brings us this review.

After being greeted by polite and helpful staff of the The Star Event Centre, we were shown our seats. A large curtain with the iconic Queen emblem covered the stage. Soon after 8 lights began to dim as bass-y vibration grew. As spotlights circled, “A Prophets Song from the bands iconic 1975 album A Night At The Opera began to play. The curtain dropped with force as the band thrust into “Tie Your Mother Down” in front of a packed 3000 person crowd.

Each member of band was lacking in color as they all dressed in black. Different to the whole of Queens’ typically flamboyant nature, it was a stark shock not to see expression through fashion. “Don’t Stop Me Now” saw the first sing a long of the night and use of karaoke-esque videos in the background. “Save Me”, “Seven Seas Of Rhye” and “Killer Queen” followed in a medley that saw lead-singer Marc Martel doing the iconic fist pumps and leg kicks of Freddie Mercury with awkward shuffling you’d see expect to see on a dancefloor.

Following the bands perfect harmonies on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Love of my Life” saw the first talking from Martel who gave a backstory of himself being a Queen fan and being chosen by May and Taylor.

Although you don’t want the band to cheaply copy the tactics and antics of the legendary band they’re covering, it is almost sacred ground, fingers were still crossed for a costume change. The all-black jeans and tees weren’t fitting for the powerful imagery of Queen video clips that adorned the video screens behind them. Although musically talented, the group started to aesthetically fall into a pub-band look.

Just as Roger Taylor does, “I’m In Love With My Car” was covered by drummer Tyler Warren who is also musical director for the band. “Growing up I never listened to cool music like you all did”, Martel said as he glanced to the crowd, “so this song, I first experienced in a movie called Waynes World”. With that, Martel sat at a keyboard as “Bohemian Rhapsody” started. Just as the real band did in concert, they left the stage for the middle, operatic portion and let the video clip play.

Bass player, Francois-Olivier Doyon covered David Bowie’s parts for “Under Pressure” before Martel grabbed an acoustic guitar for “I Want It All”. His voice and nature were comfortably Freddie in nature. “Another One Bites The Dust” eroded into a satisfying drum solo before the recognisable synths of “I Want To Break Free” filled the theatre. Oddly edited loops that avoided showing the band members faces from the original video were shown in the background. Whilst the whole sentence could not be made out, someone in the crowd shouted out a sentence angrily that ended with the word “outfits”. “Radio Gaga” flew into the huge U.S. hit “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Somebody to Love”.
A montage of shots of Freddie over the years, dressed in one flamboyantly extravagant outfit to another was shown over “The Show Must Go On”.

“We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” were a triumphant finish to the evening. The crowd swayed just as clips from the 90s showed audiences doing for the real band. Powerful and energetic, this was the track of the night – each note, either sung or played was perfectly similar, yet refreshing – a common feeling throughout the night. It’s a weird thing, the better the Queen Extravaganza show is, the more we will miss Freddie and co. But with a bit more color, this tightly rehearsed production will refresh and ease the void any Queen fan has.

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