Adam In QAL Concert Review Quotes
First Arena Tour 2014-2015
But the peacocking Lambert, an avowed Mercury devotee, shares much more of a spirit with the group’s famously theatrical frontman, and he seems to have inspired May and Taylor to boost the spectacle factor for their summer arena tour. Thursday’s concert, billed as a performance by Queen + Adam Lambert, had lasers, multiple stages and a video camera attached to May’s guitar that he used to show off his virtuosic technique; there was also, inevitably, Lambert’s array of splashy costumes, including a leopard-print suit and a pair of spiked leather sleeves.
Surprisingly, though, this show succeeds because of Adam Lambert, not despite him. The 32-year-old has said he wants to celebrate the flamboyant, camp, gay Mercury rather than replace him, but he definitely has the Freddie factor. Where the band’s earlier tours with heterosexual, macho, ex-Free, bluesy shouter Paul Rodgers felt wrong, the black leathered, bequiffed, nail varnished Lambert is every bit the showman that was Mercury.
The American sips champagne while singing a camped up Killer Queen draped across a chaise longue and yells We Will Rock You wearing a silver crown. When Lambert claps hands, the audience clap with him, unprompted. His unusually wide vocal range allows him to hit high notes (notably Mercury’s famous one in Somebody To Love) which would normally require the assistance of even tighter trousers.
However, the Indianan is no mere talent show get-lucky. Like Mercury, Lambert paid his dues with opera training, theatre, singing in clubs and performing dance and rock, which has given him the dexterity to tackle a catalogue stretching from thumping grooves (Radio Gaga, Another One Bites the Dust) to blistering hard rock (Seven Seas of Rhye, Tie Your Mother Down).
Being the first openly gay man to go straight to a US No 1 (with 2012 solo album Trespassing) does matter. In more conservative times, Mercury sang about his sexuality by way of codes and hidden double entendres; Lambert turns the same songs into riotous celebrations.
There is poignancy, too, when Lambert sings Who Wants to Live Forever under lighting that makes him look like a ghost and in the touchingly warm reception given to May’s achingly sincere Love of My Life, for Mercury.
Because, in a way, this is still the late star’s gig: a homage to his music. It’s Mercury who provokes gasps when he appears on screen to “duet” with Lambert in a Bohemian Rhapsody so riotous one fears the venue may combust.
“There will only be one Freddie Mercury, ever,” Lambert declares, as people roar approval for “the new boy”. However, in Adam Lambert, the late star’s old bandmates have surely found the right person to honour his achievements.
But for all of Lambert’s preening and expert vocal acrobatics, this was still very much Mercury’s show. Queen’s remaining original members, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor (bassist John Deacon retired in 1997), have said time and time again that this show is not a reproduction and that Lambert is not meant to be a Mercury clone. So while his skinny leather pants, leopard-print tuxes, and use of studs and fringe in a single outfit would likely all be Freddie-approved, Adam Lambert was very much his glam-punk self, and Mercury still kept a couple of coveted solos for himself.
The band came out hard with songs such as “Now I’m Here,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” and spent the majority of their two-plus-hours-long set showcasing the still-obvious talent that made May a guitar hero in the first place. Lambert catwalked and peppered the crowd with sporadic stage banter (“When I feel lonely, I just drink and douse myself in rhinestones like any sensible gay,” he said before launching into “Somebody to Love”). Lambert’s crowning theatrical moment was his vaudevillian performance of “Killer Queen”—sprawled out on a purple velvet chaise lounge mid-arena, platformed, glitter-covered boots in the air, spewing champagne onto the audience. Guaranteed to blow your mind, indeed.
Can you ever replace the late, great Freddie Mercury? I don't think so, but Adam Lambert on lead vocals brought a fresh (and rocking) perspective to Queen's extensive back catalogue at their Perth concert on Friday night.
Lambert, an American Idol runner up who has achieved two top 10 singles in Australia, largely stuck to the script and delivered the vocals as they appear on Queen's albums.
While his powerful, impressive voice proved more than capable of doing justice to Queen's iconic rock anthems, Lambert found his own during Killer Queen. For the first time in the show, Lambert gave the audience a sense of who he was and seemed fuelled by the welcome response he got.
He licked his microphone and guzzled from a champagne bottle, before he invited the crowd to join him in taking a drink.
"I would have no inspiration if it weren't for the late, great Freddie Mercury," Lambert said.
"I'm honoured to be up here with these gentlemen singing their songs."
To round out the show, the band played their best known hits. Lambert didn't quite capture the playfulness of the vocal in Crazy Little Thing Called Love but more than made up for it during Who Wants to Live Forever. For me, the latter was better than the album version (and I am now awaiting hate mail from the die-hard Queen fans…).
Montreal fans received exactly what they had been promised: original members Brian May and Roger Taylor on guitar and drums, respectively, as well as the American Lambert, a fiery exhibitionist of a frontman with an impressive wail, his own flashy animal print wardrobe and the confidence required to front maybe not Mercury’s Queen, but this unique iteration of it.
The group opened with Now I’m Here and Stone Cold Crazy, two songs designed to showcase May’s guitar playing. At that point Lambert may have looked like little more than a stand-in, but he soon found his groove on Another One Bites the Dust and Fat Bottomed Girls, two hits that benefited from an over-the-top lead vocal. By the time they reached Killer Queen – the highlight of Lambert’s contributions – he was wearing platform shoes and lying on a psychiatrist’s couch, fully invested in his assumed persona. The former American Idol finalist – one of the few to have transcended the show’s assembly line – could have easily fallen into the trap of Queen on Broadway-style overacting (such a show existed, although not with him), but his playfulness was as controlled as his technically proficient vocals. That being said, he’s a better performer than he is a rock singer.
By entrusting the Mercury role to a younger man, Queen avoided a major pitfall for an ageing group – a regressing lead singer. As bands get older, they often have to drop their songs by a key just to match their vocalist’s decreased range. Having the explosive 32-year-old Lambert at the helm forced May and Taylor to be equally as sharp, and both proved more than able to keep up.