The Queen Extravaganza (QE) landed in Seattle, dropped off a dose of Queen-inspired magic, then continued on its North American tour. I’d like to thank them for the show. But more so, for reminding
me us all that Queen is still one of the best rock bands of all time.
With that said, the show actually started off slow. Jeff Scott Soto‘s rendition of We Will Rock You, meant as a strong, crowd energizing opener, fell flat. It was at this moment I realized how incredibly hard it must have been for Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May to find people (QE has 4 singers to cover the songlist) to fill Freddy Mercury’s shoes. The next few songs showed the QE heating up and the crowd warming to the idea of “Queen” without Mercury.
After his slow start, Soto came back strong with Bicycle Race showing his veteran stage skills and vocal ability. In the second half of the show he really delivered with a sizzling version of Stone Cold Crazy and a rousing rendition of Fat Bottomed Girls. Soto knows how to milk a crowd for all their worth but he overdid it at times, losing a crowd that was hanging so precariously to the reality of Queen classics without the iconic frontman.
Singer Jennifer Espinoza took some getting used to but her rendition of Who Wants To Live Forever was emotional, powerful and captivating. She had issues with stage presence, at times seeming too small, and it affected the power of her vocal performance. On Another One Bites The Dust, Soto, the veteran that he is, arrived on stage just in time to save the performance to bring the energy level of the crowd back up.
Singer Yvan Pedneault performed admirably with good, strong vocals but lacked the magical spark needed to push his performance into the ‘great’ range.
Not so for singer Marc Martel. The internet sensation showed why he is, without a doubt, the single most important member on the QE roster. His vocal skill is absolutely amazing. His stage performance and delivery paid homage to Mercury’s greatness without feeling like a cheap imitation.
Martel wowed the crowd with a fantastic rendition of Crazy Little Thing Called Love, an absolutely slamming version of Bohemian Rhapsody, and a spectacularly catchy rendition of Radio Gaga just to name a few. There is no doubt that Martel has the talent and gifts needed to become a megastar.
The Queen Extravaganza put on an wonderful performance. They did the song catalog and members of Queen proud. They delivered a performance good enough that, for a few beautiful moments, I felt as if I were actually seeing Queen live. That was worth much more than the price of admission. It was priceless.