29 June 2014 by Rebecca Blissett
At Rogers Arena on Saturday, June 28 – MORE PHOTOS
Freddie Mercury is a hard act to follow, there’s no doubt about that. The Queen frontman possessed one of the greatest voices in rock, and anyone who’s seen him live at his peak in the seventies can testify that he was a truly riveting performer. Mercury’s death from AIDS in 1991, at the age of 45, didn’t stop Queen from touring, but it took them a while to get back on track. It wasn’t until 2005 that the band ventured out again as Queen + Paul Rodgers, with the former singer from Free, Bad Company, and the Firm joining Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor on stage (Queen bassist John Deacon opted out of the gig).
Now May and Taylor have recruited a frontman exactly half Rodgers’ age–32-year-old American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert–to carry on the Queen flame, and judging by his showing at Rogers Arena last night, it wasn’t a bad call.
The concert opened with the multitracked guitar instrumental “Procession” from 1974’s Queen II before a huge curtain bearing the majestic Queen logo was pulled away to coincide with May’s delivery of the monster guitar riff from “Now I’m Here”, a heavy rocker from the 1974 Sheer Heart Attack album. The raucous vibe continued with another Sheer Heart Attack number, the frenzied “Stone Cold Crazy”, before the familiar bass line from the band’s best-selling single, the Deacon-penned “Another One Bites the Dust”, made its presence known. May took the opportunity to inject some wild fuzz sounds into the tune via his “Red Special”, the reddish-brown guitar custom-built by him and his dad.
“Whaddya think of the new boy?” asked May after a performance of the 1981 Queen/David Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure”, and the resounding applause made it clear that Lambert had impressed the vast majority of the crowd.
The mighty May…. The sheer joy that the 66-year-old rocker emanates–whether in straightforward boogie mode (“Tie Your Mother Down”), while dabbling in sci-fi skiffle (’39), or during pseudo-operatic excursions (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)–is a wonder to behold. God bless Brian May.