Queen tribute reigns at Sands

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Brian Gresh (left) and Tristan Avakian jam during a Montreal performance of 'Queen Extravaganza,' which hits Sands Casino Resort Sunday night. Photo: Patrick Beaudry, www.queenextravaganza.com

At first glance, the idea of a Queen tribute band doesn’t seem all that novel. After all, such acts are quite the rage these days, with top-tier units like early-Genesis clones, The Musical Box, and equally accurate Pink Floyd acolytes, The Machine, receiving major-league performance fees for sold-out shows.

But “Queen Extravaganza,” which on Sunday plays Sands Casino-Resort in Bethlehem, isn’t just another rock ’n’ roll mimic-fest. Its producer/musical director is Roger Taylor, who kept the beat for the beloved band fronted by the late Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991.

It’s also unusual in its makeup. Rather than replicate Queen’s four-man lineup, “Queen Extravaganza” calls on the musical and vocal talents of nine performers, four of whom fill in for Mercury.

“They really needed multiple singers to do Freddie,” Taylor, who does not perform with troupe, told Bostonherald.com. “His vocal range, his range of styles, no one person can do that. Plus now they can do ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with all those great harmonies.”

In all, the program boasts 32 Queen tunes. While the greatest hits (“BoRap,” “We Will Rock You,” “Somebody to Love”) are represented, the set list also features lesser-known songs including “I Want It All,” “A Kind of Magic” and “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $65, $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50. For tickets, call 800-745-3000, or go to www.sandseventcenter.com.

Blues, jazz at Atlantic Club

The Atlantic Club (which, we hear, appears to be turning around its long-running financial woes with its new emphasis on the locals market and discounted restaurant pricing) is spotlighting two musical genres generally given short shrift by casinos.

Atlantic City’s westernmost gambling hall is now presenting a regular schedule of blues and jazz performances. You can get the blues every Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Burger Bar (this month’s featured artist is Nathaniel Peterson).

For jazz fans, the place to be is Ono Chinese Bistro Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m. This Sunday, the headliner is local saxophone legend, Mike Pedecin.

While there are no cover charges for either room, the folks at Atlantic Club will likely appreciate you having a nosh and/or a pop while you’re taking in the sounds. Both eateries will feature drink and food specials.

Guest chefs at Viking Cooking School

Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City has announced a June lineup of classes led by some celebrity stove jockeys.

June 17, current “Food Network Star” contestant Malcolm Mitchell will help students prepare a feast of coconut curry shrimp with pineapple glaze and grilled New Zealand lamb chops. Afterwards, there will be a viewing party to see how Mitchell did with the show’s judges.

June 22, “Food Network Star” season-seven participant Chris Nirschel presides over a class called “Cocktails and Cravings: Italian 101,” during which he’ll prepare such delicacies as stuffed eggplant and a summer salad with strawberries and balsamic.

On June 29, Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco, who runs Harrah’s popular 24-hour Sammy D’s Restaurant and Bar, will conduct an appetizer seminar dubbed “Cocktails and Cravings: Keepin’ It Hot.” The bill of fare that night includes spicy chicken drummettes, cheese steak fumplings and pork eggrolls, all of which are on the Sammy D’s menu.

For more info, inclusing times and admission fees, 39.00 to $149.00. More information about Viking Cooking School can be found at www.harrahsresort.com.