Queen Extravaganza tour takes flight
Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May have a lot on their plate this year, including preparations a five-date run with "American Idol" runner up Adam Lambert serving as lead singer.
But their baby is the Queen Extravaganza tour. Taylor's idea was to the create the ultimate Queen concert experience in a cool road show that celebrates the band's music and legacy performed by some of the best new music talent out there today, according to a press release. It made its television debut on "American Idol" last season.
The Queen Extravaganza touring band -- four vocalists and five musicians (two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards) -- was hired after an intensive 12-week online audition search. The winners were vocalists Marc Martel and Jennifer Espinoza along with additional vocalists Yvan Pedneault and Jeff Scott Soto; bassist Francois Olivier Doyon; guitarists Brian Gresh and Tristan Avakian; drummer Tyler Warren and keyboardist and musical director Brandon Ethridge. Soto has performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra as well as Journey.
In a show that runs just over two hours, with a 30-minute break, The QE band will perform 40 Queen classics drawn from a list of the band's biggest hits, including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Under Pressure," "We Will Rock You/We are the Champions," "A Kind of Magic," "Radio Ga Ga," "Somebody to Love" and "Killer Queen."
During a recent teleconference, Taylor said this project is "very central and very important" to him and May.
"We see it as a way of sort of flying our flag, if you know what I mean, and handing over the baton," Taylor said.
"We're very proud of our cannon of music and you know we'd like that to be represented in an absolutely brilliant way. And not as just traipsing through the hits ... we want to see a really scintillatingly put together show played, you know, almost perfectly."
Martel, during the same teleconference, said Queen was always about the live show.
"They're great on their records, but if you never caught them live -- I never got a chance -- I think you missed more than half of the equation," Martel said.
"And so we, as the band, we're trying to emulate that spirit of the live show, bringing that extra energy that you get from the live performance of the song and give Queen fans something new to cheer about, which is great."
May said that patrons won't see look-alikes of Queen members, but instead astute musicians and singers. Martel, he said, has an uncanny resemblance to the late Freddy Mercury's vocals.
"We weren't just looking for copies of us, we were looking for one, great musicianship, [and] two, obviously, the great charisma and the right people. For instance our drummer plays very much in my style," he said.
"[We're] absolutely thrilled to have it going. We were looking for musicianship and charisma and the right sort of you know personality to fit into the band I think."
7 - Philadelphia, PA - TLA
8 - Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
9 - Wallingford, CT - Oakdale
10 - Bethlehem, PA - Event Centre
11 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
12 - Huntington, NY - Paramount Theatre
15 - Tampa, FL - Louis Lykes Ferguson Hall
17 - Orlando, FL - The Plaza Live
19 - Dallas, TX - Grand Prairie
20 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
23 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
24 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey's
25 - Los Angeles, CA - Club Nokia
26 - San Francisco, CA - Regency
28 - Seattle, WA - Showbox
30 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
2- Calgary, Alberta - Jack Singer
3 - Edmonton, Alberta - Jubilee