I have to start by saying that Queen is one of my favorite bands ever and Freddie Mercury is irreplaceable. However, I don’t think it’s fair to keep guys that enjoy playing so much like Brian May and Roger Taylor from doing what they love. And that’s why I think the plus sign on the name (whether is for Adam Lambert or Paul Rodgers) it’s enough to make it valid for them to explore such a rich catalog of music. Besides, how about us poor bastards that didn’t have the opportunity to witness those songs live but love the band? I was 12 when Freddie died, so I deserve this chance.
That being said, I was lucky enough to catch them for two nights in a row with Paul Rodgers in 2008 and enjoyed very much. However, those Paul Rodgers concerts were marked also by the playing of some great Bad Company and Free songs, which made them a mix affair.
This time, the night promised only Queen songs (although that didn’t happen, but we get to that later) with even some they hadn’t played in a while.
A huge banner with the indefectible Queen logo covered the front of the stage heralding that some great things were ahead of us. After the long intro, the band started firing on all cylinders with One Vision, transporting everybody to that magic night in Wembley ’86, so greatly documented on the live video and record.
And from the get-go one thing was clear: Adam’s a fantastic singer and his androgyny fitted the band perfectly. Anyone who is a true fan and knows the band well from watching videos and stuff knows that this is an essential ingredient: flamboyance and androgyny must be at the Queen’s frontman DNA and as much as Paul Rodgers is a brilliant singer and a guy I hugely admire (he is in my Hall Of Idols), he doesn’t have that.
They followed spectacularly with Stone Cold Crazy (how long since Queen played it live for the last time?), Another One Bites the Dust and Fat Bottomed Girls.
The medley of ancient classics In the Lap of the Gods… Revisted, Seven Seas Rhye (one of my personal favorites) and Killer Queen (in which Adam lied on a posh couch put in front of the stage and fanned himself with a fan while singing, imitating the lavish prostitute depicted in the song. Hilarious!)
Adam then showed all his vocal prowess in the sequence Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want to Break Free and Somebody to Love.
It was time for him to take a break and then Brain took front stage to allow us to sing Love of my Life. But we were joined by Freddie singing in the big “Q” shaped screen behind in the end. Yes, it was hard not to feel the heart squeeze and the tears in the eyes.
Brian sang the wonderful ’39 and then Roger took center stage to sing These Are the Days of Our Lives, with the very well-known video showing scenes from Queen’s career in the background.
And then came the time for the only part that deserves negative criticism: bass and drums solos are boring (Neil Peart excepted). The late-sixties, seventies and eighties days of self-indulgence are long gone and there’s no space for it anymore.
Anyway Adam returned for Under Pressure, Save Me (in my humble opinion, the highlight of the whole concert, from the singer’s performance point of view) and one of his songs, Ghost Town. It was not bad. It was actually heavy, but, really? It’s probably a record company thing so let’s not let that rain on our parade, okay?
Who Wants to Live Forever was followed by Brian’s solo (and here the same criticism above fits), Tie Your Mother Down, I Want it All, Radio Gaga (with everybody clapping hands and all), Crazy Little Thing Called Love, The Show Must Go On and obviously, Bohemian Rhapsody closed the first part of the set. On this last one, we were again treated to a Freddie apparition in the end, not letting a dry eye in the house.
The traditional finish with We Will Rock You and We are the Champions with Adam wearing a crown (just like Freddie) was apotheotic as usual and God Save the Queen was fitting finale, given the God must be really looking for them.
It was great, beautiful and emotional. What else do you want from a Rock show?
The Eagles – Greatest Hits I and II
Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
Breaking Bad – Seasons III and IV
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