On July 20th, which was a week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to see Queen perform, with Adam Lambert stepping into the shoes once filled by the late (and much lamented) Freddie Mercury.
Allow me to say up front that Lambert is no Freddie. That's not an insult, by the way. Nobody could ever be Freddie except Freddie himself. What Adam Lambert is, is... Adam Lambert.
He's stunning, wears costumes and makeup with panache, and when he opens his mouth to sing, he amazes.
When he opens his mouth to sing Queen, he's downright improbable (in the sense of... it seems improbable that this man can hit those notes and hold them the way he does, while running around on stage, and yet he can and does).
There was no opening act, so when I say the show lasted just over two hours, without any real break, I truly mean the Queen show lasted that long. The guys took the stage right around 8:15 p.m. and finished up just before 10:30.
There were a few extended guitar solos and such -- probably to let the rest of the men rehydrate, rest their eyes slightly from the bright lights that were glaring on them, and of course for Lambert's costume changes. There were a fair number of those changes, which isn't even a little bit surprising. I had a band for a number of years (not recently, but still) and part of the fun of performing was coming out in something I hadn't been wearing when I left the stage two minutes earlier. I can't imagine it's any different for Lambert. (We dramatic types enjoy drama. Shocking, right? :P )
I'm not going to run down every minute of the show here. I honestly don't have that kind of time and I doubt anyone wants to hear excruciating detail, coming second-hand, as it were. What I will do is relate what I found to be some of the highlights.
Several of my favorite songs of all time are Queen songs, and as I said above, Adam Lambert is no Freddie Mercury. He is, however, the only current singer I feel can do justice to the words and music. Because songs aren't just meant to be sung. They're meant to be emoted. To evoke an emotional, visceral response, whether that response is happiness, sadness, or something in between. Lambert does exactly that with Queen. He was by turns bold, wistful, proud, and sad... and that was just during Bohemian Rhapsody! :P
That's actually one of the songs I'll never forget, so it was great to hear it; especially because Lambert's performance was interspersed with filmed footage of Freddie himself performing the same song. (This happened on a few songs, and it was brilliant and wonderful and a tiny bit depressing because it just served to remind me that Freddie died much too young.)
Killer Queen was incredibly fun and highly amusing, as Lambert camped it up. There was a rather ornate gold and what appeared to be velvet couch of sorts, upon which he lounged and stretched like a big cat while singing. He had the absolute right degree of over-the-top drama going on and I loved it!
One of my favorite movies of all time is Highlander (the original, not the two that came after). I won't go into the plot and whatnot. If you haven't seen it, you should, and if you have seen it, you'll know what I mean when I say Queen's song Who Wants to Live Forever worked with the film to break my heart a little. Lambert did this song perfectly. I mean perfectly!
I was prepared to be disappointed, because no matter how well the man sings, this song is special to me. I expected him to overdo it; to make it too... something.
Instead, while Lambert's performance was definitely dramatic, it was also gut-wrenching and sorrow filled, which is exactly as it should be. Color me truly impressed. :)
The entire show was incredible, but none of it more so than seeing Brian May and Roger Taylor out there, easily keeping up with Lambert. Roger Taylor's son also did some drumming, keeping with the family legacy, one assumes. Brian May's extended guitar solo (I swear it must have been ten minutes, with just him and his guitar on stage) was brilliant, and he has a lovely voice, though he insisted otherwise. *grins*
The show closed out with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, both of which Lambert put his own stamp on, of course. :D
It was an incredible night and I'm truly happy to have been there. If you weren't able to catch any of the tour and have the opportunity in future, I strongly urge you to go! Or go again, if you did make it this time! *grins*
Below, you'll find a few links to videos from the tour (though not all are from the specific show I saw). These are on YouTube, provided by TALC, and the quality is very good for a live show. Thanks in advance to TALC and I hope you don't mind me linking. :)
In no particular order (and by no means the full complement of songs performed), I give you... Queen + Adam Lambert!
Crazy Little Thing Called Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBzQ3sq8Tz8
Bohemian Rhapsody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD9TgtlguM0
Killer Queen & Somebody To Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVL2473RNds
Who Wants to Live Forever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7juzKiqvZtc
We Will Rock You & We Are the Champions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79mBtKx7hGE
There are more there, of course, so if you feel the urge, please do browse. :)
And on that note, I'm off. Wishing you good times, full glasses, and smiles.