Queen and Adam Lambert last toured the US in the Summer of 2014. Those who saw them during that tour probably wondered if their relationship, like that with Paul Rodgers, would be short-lived.
Three years later, they have returned for a 27-date tour across the States, starting in California and ending in Houston – the venue of one of their more infamous (or legendary) shows forty years ago.
Brian May, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert, have become a tight-knit and beautifully solid unit, and while deference and reference is still paid to Freddie Mercury at a number of points in the show (it would be preposterous not to), it didn’t feel like Freddie’s ghost was haunting the proceedings.
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The opening of the show is a stunner – a projected metal paneled wall at the front of the stage begins to jolt and shudder as if a giant is approaching. Who would have thought that Queen would have brushed off their robot monster from their 1977 News of the World album cover – but this very robot takes center stage a number of times in a magnificent feat of special FX. Punching through the metal paneled wall, the robot reveals itself to gasps from the audience, lifting up the massive front screen, to reveal Queen and Adam launching into We Will Rock You.
Their two-hour set included the songs any fan would expect – Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now, Fat Bottomed Girls, Crazy Little Thing Called Love etc, but there were some exciting additions for the long time Queen fans – Get Down Make Love, Stone Cold Crazy, and a little bit of You Take My Breath Away.
While both Brian and Roger are undeniably looking their age at 70 and 68, their musical prowess has not faltered. Roger’s vocal for “I’m In Love With My Car” was stronger than ever – breathtaking in fact. Brian’s vocal has never been the band’s tour-de-force, but his gentle delivery of “Love of my Life” has always been a high point of any show.
Adam commanded the stage throughout and the one new song was his – “Two Fux” is campy and amusing, and stylistically it fits right in to the Queen repertoire. Never trying to replace Freddie Mercury, the only similarity between the two appeared to be the number of costume changes during the show (at least five). Freddie, during the 1977 tour, may have done as many as eight costume changes.
Adam’s high points were largely with the latter part of Queen’s catalog. “Who Wants To Live Forever” in particular, showcased his range and power unlike any other song.
Adam and Roger shared the vocals on “Under Pressure” and dedicated it to David Bowie – Adam singing Freddie’s lines and Roger, Bowie’s, They could have name-checked George Michael, who had made “Somebody To Love” his own at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – but recognizing the loss of so many great idols would perhaps have been too maudlin for such an upbeat, joyous show.
Three years ago, many die-hard Queen fans were not overly enthused about Adam taking the lead. All that has changed however, and there were no nay-sayers at the Barclay Arena. The band is so tight and effective together that they should really consider producing an album to commemorate this partnership and seal it in history as a truly outstanding latter days incarnation of perhaps the greatest band to emerge from the early ’70’s.
We will rock you Hammer to fall Stone cold crazy Another one bites the dust Fat bottomed girls Killer queen Two fix (new Adam Lambert song) Don’t stop me now Bicycle race I’m in love with my car Get down make love I want it all Love of my life Somebody to love Crazy little thing Drum solo Under pressure I want to break free You Take my breath away Who wants to live forever?
New Horizons Guitar solo Radio Gaga Bohemian Rhapsody with Freddie and Adam duetting We will rock you We are the champions God save the queen