Show preview: The Queen Extravaganza @ Showbox SoDo 6/28/12
by Jessica Price
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to see just about every legendary band I ever dreamed of seeing but never thought I would. Everything (and everyone) seems to come around eventually. Yet one of the biggest regrets of my life is that I never saw Queen when they were around in the 70s and 80s- I was just too young, and the incomparable Freddie Mercury died of AIDS at the age of 45 in 1991. As a little girl I listened to News of the World on my parents’ eight-track player, the cover art (depicting a giant robot holding the bleeding bodies of the band) frightened me a little, but I didn’t care. Freddie’s voice was warm and soaring, his four-octave range blowing my young mind even then as did his penchant for capes and flamboyant stage gear. Freddie’s enthusiasm was catching and made a lasting impression. Years later – slumming it in London just out of school and by this point, well-schooled in Queen’s back catalog- I came across a message scrawled on the pavement at Piccadilly Circus: “Freddie Mercury we’ll never forget.”
Truer words were never written. Reunions and tributes since Freddie’s death have always been just that- tributes to the man himself and the remarkable music he made with Brian May and Roger Taylor. But for those that missed the chance to hear those songs delivered properly by Freddie, there’s someone you should see. The Queen Extravaganza rolls into Seattle this Thursday evening at The Showbox SoDo with vocalist Marc Martel.
Hailing from Canada but currently living in Nashville, Martel sent an audition video of himself casually singing “Somebody to Love” to drummer Roger Taylor, who was holding a 12-week online search for the perfect person to front a concert tour designed to capture the music of Queen. Martel’s audition video generated more than 6 million views, an invite to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and earned him a spot on the 2012 Queen Extravaganza tour.
Martel’s natural voice is uncannily like Freddie’s, but don’t expect a campy homage to the singer. Martel doesn’t present the songs as an impersonator. His earnest delivery and skilled piano playing suggest that he understands and appreciates the songs, and is there to sing them as only one other person has been able to do. He doesn’t have to be Freddie, and in all honestly, it would probably feel wrong if he tried to be.
For those that want a bit of a stage show (admittedly this includes me), preliminary word promises plenty of electrifying arena-rock flourishes on hand courtesy of a full band, Martel’s passionate delivery, and stage designer March Fisher, who has worked with Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones on every tour since 1989.
As for that audition video. . . see what earned Marc Martel his spot on the tour here:
The Showbox Presents:
The Queen Extravanganza
@ Showbox SoDo, Thursday June 28, 2012
All Ages to Enter, 21+ to Drink
Tickets available at Showbox Online