Q+AL SET LIST: SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME,
26 June 2014
1. NOW I’M HERE
2. STONE COLD CRAZY
3. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
4. FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS
5. LAP OF THE GODS
6. SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE
7. KILLER QUEEN
8. SOMEBODY TO LOVE
9. I WANT IT ALL
10. LOVE OF MY LIFE
11. ’39 – BRIAN
12. DAYS OF OUR LIVES ROGER
13. UNDER PRESSURE
14. LOVE KILLS
15. WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER
16. GUITAR SOLO
17. TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN
18. RADIO GAGA
19. DON’T STOP ME NOW
20. CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE
21. THE SHOW MUST GO ON
22. BO RHAP
23. WE WILL ROCK YOU
24. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
REVIEWS: CALGARY HERALD
Queen plus Adam Lambert adds up to solid rock show
27 June 2014 by Mike Bell
Contrary to what the “experts” and “teachers” and “astrophysicists” might tell you, math is not an exact science. Just like rock ’n’ roll.
There is some wiggle room when it comes to greater than and less than, and that whole addition by subtraction thing, especially when you add an unknown to a prime number while also subtracting two-quarters of that whole. Or, if we can put it in more practical terms, the terms that concern us, Queen — Freddie Mercury — John Deacon + Adam Lambert = y.
As in: y bother? Or as in: y the hell not.
The equation was chalked out on the Saddledome stage Thursday night as the new sum rolled through town on their current North American tour for a two-and-a-half-hour, no-opener, no-intermission show. And the answer? Well, in keeping with the inexactitude of rock ’n’ roll, it was, close. Ish. But perhaps missing that x factor.
Now, to dispense entirely with those wishing to claim there’s a bias toward the new math, please keep in mind that it’s truly not the case. New and old can coexist entirely as long as they meet in the middle and add up to the same thing. Again, the old in this case, the two remaining members of Queen — guitar God Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor — plus that incredible, incomparable canon, including songs on this evening such as Stone Cold Crazy, Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, Love of My Life and Under Pressure, remain as indivisible from contemporary rock as ever.
They still have the same answer to what life requires as they did 30, 40 years ago.
May, especially, was remarkable Thursday night. He, actually, equalled the Queen you knew, the Queen you loved, the Queen that textbooks still teach. His mind-boggling and jaw-dropping solos, his remarkable presence, just the sound of that guitar, it was all it should have been. (Taylor and his drumming? Solid, but not entirely definitive in its delivery, even during his solo or encore kickoff We Will Rock You.)
And even when May took centre stage to sing halfway through the set, first solo, then with some of the band backing him up acoustically, it was impossible to separate what was and what is. He performed gorgeous versions of A Night At the Opera’s ’39 and, first, the wonderful Love of My Life, at the end of which he was joined by, via big-screen projection, his late, lamented frontman Mercury who brought it home.
Sadly, he also brought home the one thing that loomed large over the evening, and that was the celebrated plus of the current Queen lineup, Lambert. A fact hammered home late in the evening, when the new singer stepped aside to allow a recorded version of the old singer to have his incomparable way with the classic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Again, it’s important here to note that this isn’t mistrust or dismissal of the new, as the former American Idol finalist is very much a talented vocalist. He has great range and delivery — as he showed to incredible effect on the Highlander anthem Who Wants to Live Forever — and, in his own way, he has singular charisma and stage appeal. And, to his credit and in direct contrast to the karaoke lump INXS hitched to their wagon to replace Michael Hutchence, not once did it feel like he was attempting to vocally or theatrically impersonate Mercury. (Visually? Leather. Nah. He, too, wears it well.)
The only time it seemed like he was aping Freddie was during the call-and-response during an otherwise astounding version of Tie Your Mother Down. But you felt it the second Lambert took the stage for Now I’m Here, you could feel that it didn’t entirely add up. The power of the band was amazing, the song was as it should have been, the staging spectacular — throughout the night, as bright and arena- or planetarium-worthy as was required — but he never completely fit into the totality. And it wasn’t a matter of the ears and eyes needing to adjust to the new Queen, as songs that followed — Fat Bottomed Girls, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, etc. — just didn’t completely compute.
Perhaps there’s a little too much deference and respect for the band and the music — May was also given the bulk of the banter — for him to entirely be that missing integer. Maybe he needs a little more seasoning. Maybe he actually needs to record new material with the remaining members for him to be able to become that plus that Queen needs to not put it, ever so slightly, into the negative.
Whatever the case, the current Queen with their newest addition ultimately put on a solid B+ of a concert, showing their work when necessary and making even those at the back of the class, those who’ve been held back a number of years, follow along until the final bell.
Here endeth the lesson.
ALL HAIL ROCK ROALTY – QUEEN’S LEGACY KEPT ALIVE AND WELL
26 June 2014 by Gerry Krochak
Queen Rocks Dome
British rock band Queen + Adam Lambert rocked a near sold out audience at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014.
It’s Queen … but it’s not Queen.
Look, whether you buy into anyone other than the incomparable Freddie Mercury fronting Queen or not, the opportunity to hear and see an even reasonable facsimile of one of the greatest rock bands in music history is one worth taking.
Neither Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers in the 2000s, or certainly Adam Lambert now could ever ascend to the loftiest of heights, and to each’s credit … neither have tried. This current North American tour isn’t so much a tribute to Mercury but rather an attempt at keeping the music and the legacy of Queen alive in a live setting. Being handsome, flamboyant, gay and possessing a big voice is simply not enough to be on the same level of Mercury’s star power, but Lambert is certainly good enough that he has to be taken seriously in his current role. He has the charisma, attitude and semi-operatic vocal chops to not only stand onstage and play with Brian May and Roger Taylor … but to front the band.
During what must be a thrilling, but thankless task, where Lambert has to be twice as good to get half the credit, on this night he was up to the challenge — and then some. On a majestic stage production with giant oval video screen and just the right amount of lights and smoke, the 32-year-old former American Idol runner-up strutted, preened and posed through blazing openers Now I’m Here and Stone Cold Crazy, May’s characteristic blistering fretwork as amazing as you recall.
Admittedly, there was a healthy contingent of boisterous American Idol fans in attendance, but the old rockers that dominated the old barn were warm and welcoming.
Lambert, for his part, continued to make his presence and own version of star power felt on the terrific one-two punch of Another One Bites The Dust and a delicious interpretation of Fat Bottomed Girls.
Following In The Lap Of The Gods and Seven Seas Of Rhye, Lambert appeared on top of a purple chaise lounge in platform boots that would have made Paul Stanley proud, while delivering a Marc Bolin-esque, glammed-out vocal of Killer Queen — if he had old fans left to win over this one did it!
For all of the evening’s brightest and most surprising moments, Lambert’s drop-dead stunning performance of Somebody To Love (his favourite Mercury vocal) and I Want It All, followed by Taylor paying tribute with a lead vocal and a touching video montage of early Queen days on These Are The Days Of Our Lives gave the show its undeniable peak (or so we would have thought) about halfway through.
Just prior, May donned his white cowboy hat and let out a “Yee haw!” before recalling the last time Queen played Calgary in 1977, at The Jube. “You Calgarians are so beautiful … we’ll have to do a Calgarian Rhapsody later!” he laughed. “I think it’s been about 37 years … and you’re only getting better!”
If the crowd seemed even a little bit tentative at first, they were now fully engaged as Lambert and Taylor teamed up on Under Pressure, before a ridiculous May solo spot lead to the heaviest of the heavy artillery with Tie Your Mother Down, Radio Gaga, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, The Show Must Go On and new undeniable peak … Bohemian Rhapsody.
An encore of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions was the icing on an unforgettable set list and a memorable evening. All hail the Queen, even now.
Mercury has been gone for 23 years and his legacy will live on forever — it seems fair to say last night was something that would have made him smile.
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Queen and Adam Lambert at the Saddledome
4 stars (out of 5)