ADAM LAMBERT BRINGS YOUTHFUL ENERGY TO LEGENDARY ROCK BAND QUEEN AS FRONTMAN FOR SYDNEY CONCERT
26 August by CATHERINE ZUILL INNER WEST COURIER INNER CITY
QUEEN guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and newcomer Adam Lambert blew the roof off Allphones Arena last night in an energetic rock extravaganza which pulled no punches.
May’s extraordinary musical talent showed no signs of waning as he put his home-built electric guitar through its paces for two and a half solid hours. Drummer Roger Taylor was also a powerhouse, clearly enjoying sharing the stage with his equally talented son Rufus who shone in a thumping “drum-off” battle with his father and proved he was worthy of sharing the stage. But Lambert’s vocal range, youthful energy and stage presence brought vitality to the Queen & Adam Lambert 2014 tour. While not a reincarnation of former frontman Freddie Mercury, Lambert strutted and sang his way around the stage in a way that would have made Mercury proud.
The last time Queen toured Australia was in 1985 when Mercury was in front of the microphone. But after Mercury’s death from an AIDS-related illness in 1991, the idea that someone with the lead singer’s incredible vocal range and stage persona could possibly take his place seemed impossible.
Enter Lambert, American Idol 2009 runner-up, now 32, who impressed the band with his renditions of some of Queen’s most popular songs. They shared the stage several times before embarking on this world tour.
Mercury’s memory was alive and well throughout the concert. May sang a particularly moving acoustic guitar version of Love of My Life alone on stage as video of Mercury sang on the big screen behind him. Mercury also featured with Lambert towards the end of the concert for one of Queen’s most famous songs, Bohemian Rhaphsody, which was composed by Mercury. Sung as a duet, again with Mercury on the big screen, it was impossible to distinguish between the voices of these two musical powerhouses. Another highlight was Crazy Little Thing Called Love which Lambert owned and looked completely comfortable behind the mike.
The Queen & Adam Lambert concert tour has certainly proved that pairing seasoned musicians together with young up-and-coming stars can be revitalising and refreshing.
QUEEN BRING SOME MAGIC TO SYDNEY
27 August 2014 by DANIELLE MCGRANE, AAP MUSIC WRITER
Queen brought a kind of magic to the Sydney stage and decided, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In a concert that closely modelled the opening of their Australian tour in Perth last Friday, the band took to the stage in Sydney’s Allphone Arena on Tuesday night, with just one magical song exception. The band had played almost the exact same setlist in Perth, opening with Now I’m Here and closing with seminal hit Bohemian Rhapsody, but in Sydney they performed their hit A Kind of Magic – which had not been listed for their Perth gig. The two original band members, guitarist Brian May, 67, and drummer Roger Taylor, 65, were joined on stage with vocals by American Idol alum Adam Lambert, 32, but it was Taylor who took on the vocals for A Kind Of Magic.
Both Taylor and May took some time during the concert to sing solo. Both men took time to shine: May played an acoustic centre-stage set including Love Of My Life during which he asked the audience to sing with him “for Freddie”. Taylor got his moment in the spotlight and chose to share it with his son, Rufus: the pair had an on stage drum battle and Rufus actually played drums throughout the whole concert.
Lambert was flamboyant enough to have about four costume changes, and was easily able to hit Freddie Mercury’s high notes but was still somehow in the shade of the legends of both May and Taylor.
The band and Lambert played all the hits including Another One Bites the Dust, Radio GaGa, Killer Queen, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions for the encore. Lambert also thanked the crowd for “suspending your disbelief” and letting him sing the songs, saying he wouldn’t know what to do on them if it hadn’t been for Freddie Mercury.
The show had all the staples of recent Queen concerts including Brian May’s selfie stick – it might not hark back to the Queen of the 1990s, but it’s May’s signature gadget while on stage. True to form, the astrophysicist took it out and informed the crowd he would be videoing them. “We can immortalise this moment,” he said, before spinning the camera around on stage to get a view of the crowd. “I’ll just have to find someone to Tweet that,” he said when he had finished filming.
The band allowed Freddie Mercury to come through on a recorded video playing a few songs, including the final song before the encore, Bohemian Rhapsody, where they left him with the final line: “Any Way The Wind Blows”. The wind might be unpredictable, but the sun was shining directly on to May and Taylor – Queen’s heart, soul and, at times, even its frontmen.