Concert Review with PHOTOS: Marc Martel: The Ultimate Queen Celebration


By Shane Jones

Artist: Marc Martel: The Ultimate Queen Celebration

Date / Venue: Sunday 26th August, 2018 - Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

Who would know that Saturday 12th July 1986, would be Freddie Mercury’s last show ever - performing at the famous Wembley Stadium in front of 72,000 people. Over the years since, Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May have tried to keep the music going with special guest lead singing performances from Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, and Adam Lambert a former contestant from American Idol, calling their show Queen’s Extravaganza.

With Queen’s Extravaganza playing a couple of sold out shows here not so long ago in Auckland, it's hit fast on its heels by another tribute band put together by Canadian Marc Martel, calling it the Ultimate Queen Celebration. Well whats so special about this tribute band may you ask? Well Marc has a unique voice that is compared to be the closest voice to that of the late Freddie Mercury. That I found to be quite bizarre until I witnessed his show here in Christchurch; his second show in New Zealand, as he and his band performed on last Friday night in Auckland.

In front of many other Queen fans I’d be thinking 'How close is he'? Well can tell you he came out and blew everyone’s mind away with his versions of the hit after hit classics that we all grew up with in the late 70’s-80’s. Performing 'Tie Your Mother Down' as his opener, heading into 'Don’t Stop Me Now', which by this time everyone were graciously applauding him after each song - not to mention adding backing voices to the choruses. Also included in that set were 'Killer Queen', 'Under Pressure' and the song 'Ave Maria' to which he sang solo in true opera form while playing a grand piano that would have had Freddie patting him on his back. A total of 11 songs were performed, finishing the first set off with 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

During a quick intermission break of around 20 minutes, I could hear people talking about Marc and his performance so far and it's all been positive with fans asking 'Well is he the real deal or not'? With a singing voice octave range exactly the same as Freddie’s he has also mastered the moves Freddie would have done on stage to being very talented in playing piano and guitar…. Yes he is indeed, is the answer to that question.

The second set kicks off with 'You Take My Breath Away' (which was done in a solo form) and I can tell you yes he did that - which lead into 'I Want To Break Free' followed by my favourite all time song 'Hammer To Fall' with several huge more hits to follow like 'Fat Bottom Girls' and 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', which he picked up an acoustic electric guitar which gave the appearance of a very young Johnny Cash .

'Another One Bites The Dust' soon comes out as another song 'The Show Must Go On', to which it does. Marc introduces his band, who have all excelled in playing a very tight show, which if you were blindfolded you would have thought it was the real Queen band. The second setlist making a total of 11 songs to finish the set out.

The lads disappear to come back to finish of the show with two encore songs 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are The Champions', before standing in front of a upstanding amazed crowd to give their final bow, before leaving the stage for good.

This show has several wow factors of firstly the talented band. The simple 80’s style lighting rigs that lit up the stage fantastically, to the ninth wonder of the musical world of impersonators Marc Martel who is the living reincarnation of Freddie himself, who is also the singing voice in the up-coming feature film Bohemian Rhapsody arriving in our theaters in November this year.

So it's a wrap of New Zealand for these guys. They fly out next to Perth to start their Australian tour of 3 dates. I really enjoyed the show by all means, and I hope that he will finally one day join the Queen founding members and tour with them. Marc is very talented and gifted and as I mentioned earlier Freddie would have been proud of him, and to me listening to him and his band the music of Freddie still lives on.

FIRST SET                                    SECOND SET

Tie Your Mother Down                U Take My Breath Away(solo)

Don’t Stop Me Now                     I Want To Break Free

Killer Queen                                 Hammer To Fall

You’re My Best Friend                 Fat Bottomed Girls

Now I’m Here                              Crazy Thing Called Love

Save Me                                       I Want It All

Under Pressure                            -Guitar Solo-

Love Of My Life                           Another One Bites The Dust

Play The Game                            The Show Must Go On

Ave Maria                                    Radio Ga Ga

Bohemian Rhapsody                 Somebody To Love


We Will Rock You

We Are The