Article and Photos by: Michael Flores
Miami, FL – On a warm Sunday evening, the doors at the Knight Concert Hall in the Adrienne Arsht Center opened promptly at 7 pm for The Ultimate Queen Celebration. The house was doing its last-minute touches to ensure the lights were properly working minutes prior to opening. It was great to get a glimpse behind the curtain and see the amount of effort and coordination that goes behind a production like the Queen tribute show.
If you are a Queen fan, you may have heard of the lead vocalist, Marc Martel. His Queen cover songs have gone viral with 30 million views on YouTube. He’s even made appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Prior to the Queen stardom, he spent 13 years with his Canadian Christian Rock band, Downhere.
It all started when Queen’s original drummer, Roger Taylor, was in search of members for a Queen Tribute band through an online contest. Marc Martel would constantly get asked, “Do you know who you sound like?” After multiple asks and listening to his wife’s advice, he entered the contest with a cover of “Somebody to Love” and was ultimately declared the winner. This led to touring with Queen’s official tribute band, The Queen Extravaganza. Martel has now started his own Queen tribute show, The Ultimate Queen Celebration, and it was just amazing to witness a sold-out crowd sing along with Marc. The vocals were uncanny and gave me goosebumps.
It is so impressive to witness how much Marc Martel sounds like the legendary Freddie Mercury. Even to the point where producers from the Oscar winner film Bohemian Rhapsody sought him out to be the voice behind Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.
The Ultimate Queen Celebration is a quintet comprised of Marc Martel (vocalist), Brandon Etheridge (keys), Angus Clark (guitar), Jason Gianni (drums), and Mike Cohen (bass). The show consisted of two solid sets with an intermission in the middle.
Marc Martel does an excellent job of channeling Freddie Mercury’s essence on stage, from his singing, piano and guitar playing, and even his iconic dance moves. Marc and the band played all of Queen’s greatest hits, complete with a 19-song set list and 3-song encore which included classics like “Under Pressure,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and “We Will Rock You.”
Martel even covered the iconic “Ave Maria,” playing the piano solo showcasing what Freddie Mercury might have sounded if he ever played that song for the world. It was amazing to see him transition perfectly into “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the crowd lit up their phone flashlights and waved lighting up the 3-tier concert hall.
The Ultimate Queen Celebration is currently on a World Tour, so definitely check them out in a city near you. It is a must see show for Queen fans everywhere.