Stepping in, out in front


10 July 2014 by Jon Caramanica

Brian May and Adam Lambert on tour 2014
Brian May, left, of Queen and Adam Lambert will rock you. Credit Barry Brecheisen/Invision, via Associated PressBrian May and Adam Lambert on tour 2014

It used to be called the Sammy Hagar Conundrum and lately has been rebranded as the Arnel Pineda Provocation: What to do when your favorite band takes to the road, and the recording studio, with a new person out front singing? This is an especially perplexing circumstance for fans of Queen, whose frontman, Freddie Mercury, died in 1991, and left a long shadow — in voice and attitude — that few would even try to fill.

But the rest of the band members are mindful of the group’s legacy, and are always on the lookout for opportunities, though they may not have expected to find one on the “American Idol” stage. It was there in 2009 that they collaborated with Adam Lambert, the most theatrical contestant in the show’s history, and one of its most gifted vocalists, too. (They also played with the eventual winner, Kris Allen, a mouse next to Lambert’s cheetah.)

Five years later, Mr. Lambert is fronting Queen on tour — no Freddie Mercury, but an unexpected, worthy place holder.

(Thursday, Madison Square Garden;