Queen and Adam Lambert, The O2 (18/01) – Music Review: An all-guns-blazing rock machine


19 January 2015 by John Aizlewood

Cocky, camp and swaggering, Adam Lambert was both a Freddie Mercury clone and his own man who wore black nail polish and tartan trousers without losing too much dignity

Adam Lambert O2 18 January 2015
Young blood: Adam Lambert injected some youthful energy into the set / Picture: Angela Lubrano

Critic Rating star number 5
Reader Rating star number 5

Since Freddie Mercury died in 1991 and bassist John Deacon retired in 1997, Queen’s blunderbuss faction, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, have kept the flame flickering, often despite themselves. Recruiting bluesy bawler Paul Rodgers was an experiment destined for the airbrush but since 2012 Adam Lambert has vindicated May and Taylor’s decision to soldier on. Last night, at the second of their two O2 sell-outs, he showed why.

Being American, young enough to be May and Taylor’s grandson and a loser in American Idol hardly augured well but the lambent Lambert understood Queen’s power, ludicrousness and covert strangeness.

Cocky, camp and swaggering, Lambert was both a Mercury clone and his own man who wore black nail polish and tartan trousers without losing too much dignity. He crooned Killer Queen draped over a chaise lounge, fanning himself. He thundered his way through I Want It All and Seven Seas Of Rhye and he skittered across Crazy Little Thing Called Love. He almost got away with the toe-curling horror of Fat Bottomed Girls. Mercury will not be turning in his grave.

Since May has stuck with the same haircut for almost half a century, he was unlikely to spend his 68th year throwing curveballs. As a result, aside from the Mumford And Sons-style take on albums track ’39, the hit-drenched set cast Queen as an all-guns-blazing rock machine, where ballads were big and fists were pumped. It’s not the whole story but two old folks’ decision to employ one younger man made it a triumph.

London Evening Standard 19 January 2015