Review: Queen + Adam Lambert, Melbourne


30 August 2014 by Paul Cashmiere

Adam Lambert is the perfect fill-in for Freddie Mercury. Like Freddie, he is flamboyant pop to Queen’s aggressive rock. The popstar frontman softens Queen’s venom. They are essentially a hard rock band lead by axeman Dr Brian May and driven by drummer Roger Taylor.

Following the death of Freddie Mercury, May and Taylor have done an incredible job of keeping the brand alive, firstly with + George Michael, an album with + Paul Rodgers, I think for a moment or two there may have been a + Robbie Williams and now they are doing it + Adam Lambert. Taylor and May kept Queen’s legacy up front with the musical ‘We Will Rock You’. It put the music of Queen live on stage every night for more than 10 years. That show brought Queen a new audience and was the stopgap that has kept the band relevant to this day. T

he one disappointment was the – John Deacon, Queen’s original bass player who retired in 1997. While Freddie Mercury is showcased on two occasions (Love Of My Life and Bohemian Rhapsody), Deacon is not acknowledged at all, despite writing some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, ‘You’re My Best Friend’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’.

What we are served in the Queen + Adam Lambert performance is an incredible rock show with Brian May truly the centre of attention. May’s guitar created the Queen sound. His signature playing is an identifiable as Freddie’s singing.

Brian May Melbourne 29 August 2014
Brian May, Queen

Brian May Queen Melbourne 2014,  photo Ros O’Gorman

Likewise Roger Taylor wrote two of Queen’s greatest hits, ‘A Kind Of Magic’ and ‘Radio Ga Ga’. In its day, Queen was very much the same of four parts and Taylor contributed his share that was highlighted tonight.

Adam Lambert does not try to replace Freddie, or invent the songs. He plays a humble alternative delivering these classics as they were originally intended. We don’t want Queen to sound different. They tried (and failed) with Paul Rodgers. Now they are back to giving the fans what they want, playing with relevance.

The band set up at the front of the catwalk for ‘39’ and ‘Love Of My Life’ with Freddie Mercury making a small video cameo in the latter. It was a ‘Wow’ moment.

The most important thing about Queen are the songs. When you line-up ‘We Are The Champions’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, ‘I Want To Break Free’, ‘A Kind Of Magic’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Somebody To Love’, you are hearing some of the most important moments in pop and rock music of the past 40 years. Thanks to Brian May and Roger Taylor we are hearing these songs live again. Thanks to Adam Lambert they are carrying it off with credibility and dignity.

If the question is ‘I am a Queen fan but concerned its not Freddie, should I go to this show?’ then the answer is ‘Absolutely, 100% yes’.