Queen and Adam Lambert review 23 August by Candice Barnes
Can you ever replace the late, great Freddie Mercury? I don’t think so, but Adam Lambert on lead vocals brought a fresh (and rocking) perspective to Queen’s extensive back catalogue at their Perth concert on Friday night. The crowd was dotted with Mercury impersonators – regular people who hammed it up before the show started to rapturous applause from those around them. The opening bass thumps of Procession (an instrumental track from Queen II) signalled the band’s arrival, confirmed by a clever choice of song in Now I’m Here.
Dressed in black leather and baring more than just a passing resemblance to George Michael, Lambert sang Stone Cold Crazy down his gold microphone. Brian May (or Doctor
Brian May, as his bandmates cheekily called him, in reference to the PhD in astrophysics May attained in 2008) made his presence felt during Fat Bottomed Girls with a brief guitar solo. Clipped onto the neck of his guitar was a small camera hooked up to the audiovisuals, giving the audience an unusual, but welcomed, look at themselves from the band’s perspective.
Lambert, an American Idol runner up who has achieved two top 10 singles in Australia, largely stuck to the script and delivered the vocals as they appear on Queen’s albums. While his powerful, impressive voice proved more than capable of doing justice to Queen’s iconic rock anthems, Lambert found his own during Killer Queen. For the first time in the show, Lambert gave the audience a sense of who he was and seemed fuelled by the welcome response he got. He licked his microphone and guzzled from a champagne bottle, before he invited the crowd to join him in taking a drink. “I would have no inspiration if it weren’t for the late, great Freddie Mercury,” Lambert said. “I’m honoured to be up here with these gentlemen singing their songs.”
After fun renditions of Somebody to Love and I Want It All, the stage emptied and a solo Brian May got up close to his fans. “Beautiful people of Perth, thank you for having us. This is an unexpected treat, you’re just the most beautiful audience,” May said. He might say that to every city he visits, but either way, in that moment, the crowd was his. “If you feel like joining in, let’s do this for Freddie.” May sang the Mercury-penned Love of My Life, before vintage video of the late singer appeared on screen to take over the vocals. The legendary guitarist is an avid social media user, and introduced the ‘selfie stick’ he brought with him on tour. After a few quick photos, he invited his fellow musicians back to the stage for ’39 and Those Were the Days of Our Lives.
Each of the band members enjoyed a moment in the spotlight, a highlight was the father-son drum battle between Roger Taylor and his eldest son Rufus Tiger Taylor.
To round out the show, the band played their best known hits. Lambert didn’t quite capture the playfulness of the vocal in Crazy Little Thing Called Love but more than made up for it during Who Wants to Live Forever. For me, the latter was better than the album version (and I am now awaiting hate mail from the die-hard Queen fans…).
Brian May stole the show during Bohemian Rhapsody in a draped outfit of gold lame, but Lambert upped the fashion factor during the encore in a leopard print suit and chunky crown.
Those who are fans of Queen, but skeptical of Lambert need not fear. Even those with a slight interest in Queen’s music can expect to have a great time.
Queen the ‘champions’ of rock in Perth | 23 August by Angie Raphael
Review: Queen and Adam Lambert at Perth Arena | 23 August by Kristy Symonds
Adam Lambert steps confidently into late Queen-frontman Freddie Mercury’s shoes | 23 August by James Wigney
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Queen and Adam Lambert review: Singalongs and a ‘selfie stick’ | 23 August 2014 by Candice Barnes