Adam Lambert gives new life to Queen

Queen is never going to replace Freddie Mercury. He was one of a kind. But what about the rest of the guys in the band? What do they do when they want to keep the band going after their lead singer died? Life isn’t fair.

And so, in their desire to give these great songs the audiences they deserve (and also to maintain the lifestyle to which they’re become accustomed) the two remaining Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor wisely recruited the only singer in the world who could come close to filling Freddie’s boxing boots. Adam Lambert is a supernaturally gifted singer, and about as flambouyant as a pop star can possibly be. He made about seven costume changes at Rogers Place Tuesday night. After singing Killer Queen while wearing what he called the “gayest suit you’re ever seen” – and killing it, both song and suit – while sitting atop a giant robot head (in honour of the 40th anniversary of News of the World), he said, “I just wanted to give you guys a little head.”

Actually, it was a big head. But way to set the tone, man. Girls in the audience laughed hysterically at every gay joke he told. What’s with that?

Remember that Lambert got his start when he came in second on American Idol in 2009. He was robbed – can’t recall the name of the winner that year.

Now we are witness to a musical demographical phenomenon on the order of Journey with its new singer Arnel Pineda packing arenas full of Filipino fans. The audience at Queen + Adam Lambert concert was a peculiar mix of hardcore Queen fans from back in the day, and young American Idol enthusiasts. A number of young gay couples were spotted, and it’s clear there’s an entirely new generation being introduced to the music of Queen, thanks to Adam Lambert. He has given them new life.

The 35-year-old singer has become comfortable in his five years with the band. He killed on a number of other songs, particularly Somebody to Love – where he hit that crucial high note and made it look easy. He even went a few steps higher to rub it in. “Holy crap!” was the general reaction here. He would continue to top himself throughout the night, vocally and sartorially. He even did one of his own songs, Two Fux. Lyrics were displayed on the video screens: “If you think that what I do and how I live’s too much, I don’t really really give two fux. If you think that what I say and what I give ain’t love, I don’t really give two fux.”

Brian May, meanwhile, at one point hogged the spotlight in a meandering, interminable guitar solo that was the epitome of self-indulgence. It wasn’t rocket science – and that joke is only funny if you know he has a Ph.D in astrophysics. He’s such a likable fellow, though. Being British and well-mannered helps. He also redeemed himself on several memorable solos from the Queen canon, and in touching moments with the ghost of Freddie Mercury on the video screen.

Freddie performed in Edmonton only once – in 1977, and several of the old-timers were overheard reminiscing. For them, this was one great nostalgia concert.

The drummer Taylor got his time, too, in a drum battle, and on lead vocals on I’m In Love With My Car – which sounded so pristine and perfect that I’d call lip-sync if I didn’t trust their integrity. Queen fans may recall the penultimate classic rock song of all time: Bohemian Rhapsody, needless to say a climactic moment of the Edmonton show. And despite that “no synths” disclaimer, the band multi-tracked the shit out of that song in the studio – to the point where it would be impossible to do it live without a choir of Freddie Mercurys. So with full disclosure, they just played the record in concert – and they did it again with Lambert’s lead singing supported by massive tracked vocals on Tuesday night. The crowd of course joined right in. “Mamma mia, mama mia, let me go!” They just don’t build songs like this anymore.


15 Responses to Adam Lambert gives new life to Queen

  1. Kathleen Trahan

    July 5, 2017 at 6:58 AM

    Great article except for panning Brian’s solo which is a Master Class in guitar and no one but you does not understand that. He earned the right to use 10 mins or so to teach us what a real guitarist is. This new tour is amazing but I am kind of tired of hearing Adam having to give the I’m not Freddie speech. I saw them 5 times with Freddie and Adam holds his own and then some. He too has earned the right to front the band without any speeches.

  2. Mary Selva

    July 5, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Nice write-up. I agree with Kathleen, Brian’s guitar symphony is beautiful and I think many in the audiences love it like they love him. One thing though: Many of us already were Queen fans, then became fans of Adam when he came along and were thrilled when Queen chose him to tour with them. So not all are one, or the other. Love hearing that beautiful music live in his gorgeous voice with Brian’s unmistakeable guitar and Roger’s powerful drums. Also, Spike’s fabulous keys – he’s been with them since 1985 I believe. The tours have kept Queen relevant and alive, and new generations are buying the music recorded with Freddie and getting to know him.

  3. Sherry

    July 5, 2017 at 5:00 PM

    Adam is the front man for Queen and has been for 5 years. His talent and charisma is unmatched today.

  4. MalsDoxy

    July 6, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    Brian has often said that Freddie could not do what Adam is doing in a live format, and I agree with Kathleen and Mary and Sherry, many of already Queen fans and then Adam blew us away on Idol and NOW we HAVE THE BEST LIVE BAND EVER!!

    Adam Lambert is UNMATCHED in music today

  5. Lillu Becker

    July 7, 2017 at 8:07 AM

    Thank youuuuuuu great article!beside your mayor slip about Brian s solo..I really think he deserves 15 minutes out if 2 and a half hours and he s a legend on the guitar!

  6. sarah

    July 7, 2017 at 11:15 AM

    adam lambert is not the lead singer for the band queen

  7. Steve T

    July 7, 2017 at 1:41 PM

    You should watch the new film baby driver if you think Brian’s solo is boring…it came from the song Brighton rock..this is the lynchpin song in a movie about living your life to a soundtrack. So still great and pretty relevant.

  8. Dee

    July 7, 2017 at 9:32 PM

    Well he is the front man for Queen and Brian and Roger say he is part of the Queen Family…so though billed as Queen &Adam Lambert he is the only lead singer they have currently and as long as Brian and Roger cans still play at this level he will be the only lead singer…You will find Queen fans, QAL Fans, Glamberts, at these concerts… will be there on the 18th in Toronto!!

  9. Lisa Rollins

    July 8, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    We cannot wait to see queen in Australia in Feb 2018.
    Tickets are here flights booked a d accommodation paid for a couple of weeks ago…WE WERE NOT GOING TO MISS OUT!! I have been a massive queen fan for years with my first vinyl 45rpm being none other than Bohemian Rhapsody! This is a massive cross off our bucket list as we are all in our 50s and like little school kids at Christmas! 230 days 20 hours to go…omg!! Thank you

  10. Don B

    July 8, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    Adam Lambert is nowhere near Freddie, and we all know that.
    Nevertheless, he can give a good performance (again, not Freddie’s levels).

  11. Mariam Beiklik

    July 8, 2017 at 11:50 AM

    I love u all and thanks for keeping Freddei alive. He is with u guys in all your concert .

  12. gary bremner

    July 9, 2017 at 4:30 AM

    If you dont like Lambert, then you dont have to listen to him. I personally love seeing queen in any form, and in my opinion he’s a very good singer in his own right.

    We cant see queen with Freddie anymore, but at least we still get to see the band play the music we all love live.

    Cant wait until they come to Manchester in December.

  13. Susan

    July 9, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    No one can replace Freddie. I saw them in the 70’s and listen to their music today. Brsides Freddie’s on stage performance, are the songs Freddie, John, Roger and Bri wrote, and their harmonies. The music will temain forever.

  14. Mauricio

    July 10, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Sin dudas que si viviera Freddy quisiera alguien cantando al lado de él eligiría a Adam lambert

  15. Wilco

    August 2, 2017 at 7:45 AM

    Saw them in ’86 and at the FM Tribute with George Micheal. That was awsome. This is just half a band with a singer that is, nah….. not that good in this genre. This is out of his league.

    Sometimes it is better to stop when your on the top. This is not so good anymore.