Yes, Queen will never be the same without one of the greatest front men to have ever graced this planet (that’s Freddie Mercury for those of you who don’t know anything about music), but as the band are famously quoted saying; “the show must go on”. When Adam Lambert performed with Brian May and Roger Taylor at the MTV EMAs a few months back, there was something special about their performance…something a little Freddie about the vibe that was going on and it was echoed around the world that Adam should perform with Queen properly; and now here we are in the band’s hometown with the American Idol runner up in tow to do Freddie proud. Say what you will about Adam Lambert, but credit where credit’s due, he did a phenomenal job on the first of three sold out nights at the Hammersmith Apollo.
They may have been late on stage but what would you expect from a British rock band? Anyway, it was easy to forgive and forget because well Queen were going to be melting our faces for two hours, the lights went down and the crowd erupted as the introduction to ‘Flash’ immediately got hands in the air and people screaming. Yes there was a huge majority of the crowd that were here for Adam Lambert; those mega fans who were wearing his merchandise and screaming his name at the top of their lungs, but it was obvious to say that we were all there for Queen and we were about to watch something very special. People had come from across the globe to witness this very exciting night and they were not about to be disappointed.
As the curtain dropped and they kicked straight into ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’, the band were finally revealed and there we had the legendary Brian May and Roger Taylor with honorary brit Adam Lambert commanding crowd and stage and just having a damn good time! It was clear to see that having Adam fronting Queen for these shows was a spectacularly brilliant choice of vocalist; with his own little twist on songs including a sped up version of ‘We Will Rock You’ and providing us with a British accent before belting out ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, he did not want to mimic Freddie (as let’s face it, no one can) but he merely wanted to do him, the fans and the band proud and he went down a glamorous treat.
Throughout the 135 minute set, fans were treated to all the classics from their career; everything from ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ to ‘Dragon Attack’, and from ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ to ‘Radio Ga Ga’, it literally had it all. Yes it may have had all the upbeat brilliance that we all love from Queen, those songs that you can just sing along to at a great party and jump about to, but we were also treated to something much more special, a little more melancholy to show off the love and admiration they have for Freddie…and yes we may have shed a few tears. ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ was breathtaking to say the least; Adam did a fantastic job at nailing those vocals to make this one of the highlights of the evening. Brian took to the runway with his acoustic guitar in the middle of the set to chat to the audience and acoustically play us some of ‘Show Must Go On’ and ‘Love Of My Life’, a song he dedicated to Freddie with the crowd practically singing to the heavens: it was a goose bumps feeling let’s put it that way, especially when Freddie was projected onto the screens at the back of the room to take over vocals; it was literally one of the most moving things we have witnessed to date at any concert.
The evening was just full of treats and surprises for fans young and old; Adam and Brian had already taken on vocal duties so they couldn’t forget the brilliant sticks man that is Roger Taylor. Dueting with Adam on ‘Under Pressure’ and treating us to ‘A Kind Of Magic’ and ‘These Are Days Of Our Lives’, he got out from behind the drum kit and let his son take over drumming responsibilities in order to come out and share the evening in front of the 8,000 strong crowd.
With smoke, pyro, videos, light shows, explosions and even some costume changes, Queen don’t do things lightly, I mean who could blame them, they’re legends after all. A particularly nice touch to the evening involved a special thank you directed to Adam Lambert from Brian and Roger for “making this night happen”; it was a night full of admiration for each other and that was a touching thing to see. Of course a Queen gig couldn’t have ended without the obvious classics; Freddie’s spirit and voice joined us once again during ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ where the atmosphere was truly electrifying. With that ending the first set leading us to an encore of ‘Tie Your Mother Down’, the original ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’, it was proven tonight that Queen truly are the champions and for anyone who got to see these remarkable shows with their own eyes are sure to remember them as something special for a really long time. Long live rock royalty!