If you’ve been reading this blog for a while-surely a year counts as this?-you’ll know that I like Queen. And their official tribute band: Queen Extravaganza. They play A Night At The Opera (circa 1975) through, because the idea was to celebrate this great Rock And Roll album. The brainchild of Queen drummer Roger Taylor, it’s brilliant.
Let’s start from the beginning….
It was relatively early on arrival; we’re met with the news that there’s going to be a live recording, available on CD. And it’s the Hammersmith Odeon! The iconic venue-where Queen themselves played, and even Bruce Springsteen… Needless to say, I’m excited.
The support act, Electric Pyramid, bring a rock flavour to the general buzzing hubbub of the auidence. People are pouring in, although finding seats seemed to have been a little bit difficult. There’s long hair flying about stage, guitar riffs, and the occasional clap. It’s good old fashioned rock.
But there’s a man on stage. Seemingly small from the back of the room, he seemingly has a twinkle in his eye, a smile that’s grin-wide. Spike Edney. SPIKE EDNEY! The music producer for Queen on The Works, and who played with them at Wembley. And a huge figure in the music industry. He chats briefly about the recreation of A Night At The Opera-including going to studios, listening, dissecting the tracks. Then ROGER TAYLOR walks out on stage. The soft-spoken Queen drummer takes the microphone, to introduce his brainchild. There’s clearly a tone of envy in the voices of the two men-Edney even fondly dubs the band “bastards” for being young, the age Queen almost would have been in their prime, as a collective.
Remember the release Queen Live At The Odeon? It’s the same voiceover, from the same concert, who introduces them I think.
There’s a sudden change in the atmosphere; seemingly mysterious, we proceeded into Death On Two Legs..the run through of A Night At The Opera. It was notable for being sung vengefully-and, following this, throughout the concert I just had this feeling of “Mercury is here…”
Best of all, I loved the greatest hits selection-I never thought that I would hear Marc Martel sing Tie Your Mother Down, for one. There was also Seven Seas Of Rhye (an oldie but a goodie). And Stone Cold Crazy , as well as Save Me were also performed.
What really seemed to do well with the auidence was I Was Born To Love You (a Mercury solo song, possibly), as well as The Show Must Go On. They were definite highlights, largely because of the amount of skill, talent, and sheer balls to carry it off. The venue was built in such a way that sound was seemingly been thrown right to the back of the room. And any Queen song, album, or just music in general should be performed that way.
Needless to say, by the time Radio GaGa came round, my hands and voice were sore. They still are as I write this.
Also, just as a side note: hats off to Tyler Warren! The drummer of the band also sings-with a very high falsetto. He also covers ‘I’m In Love With My Car’, and harmonised on virtually all the other songs. That’s some feat-to drum along additionally whilst taking lead vocals.
Overall, my favourite part was the band introduction sequence during Somebody To Love; each was introduced by Marc Martel, stating their name, where from, etc. There was just a little bit of Let Me Entertain You played-as one of ,all time favourite Queen songs, I would love to see this played live. And covered well of course. It has to have grit, as well as keeping the substance of original lyrics. This band have the ambition and potential to do so.
I also loved the fact that Martel asked if any auidence “hipsters” have A Night At The Opera on vinyl. We were also greeted as “good people of London”. So regal!
My only criticism is two things: there was a huge emphasis on lighting, to the point almost of being painful. During a quick break in songs, with the band off stage, and the lights up, spots were polluting my vision. It also partially contributed to a headache later on. Martel also forgot and messed up quite a few of the lyrics-there needs to be more of a fluency.
Please, please, pretty please, next year can we have News Of The World?
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the following:
- Meeting Queen Extravaganza.
- Interview with Marc Martel.
- Interview with Tyler Warren.
- QUEX Anticipation.
- What I’m Really Exicted About.