Review: Queen and Adam Lambert at Barclaycard Arena Birmingham


Brian on screen - band on stage

24 January 2015

Scott Campbell gives his verdict on Queen with Adam Lambert performing at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena

Queen may have lost their King, but the exhilarating vocals of Adam Lambert were a perfect substitute for the former showman, Freddie Mercury. Replacing the most ostentatious lead vocalist of all time seemed an impossible task for Queen, but in Lambert they have found a very special talent. The only other remaining original members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, were also on fine form. And while Lambert deserves a lot of credit for his performance, this was far more than a one-man show.

The decision to open with One Vision may have also been a cryptic indication of the solidarity and direction of Queen’s rejuvenated line up. Throughout a formidable two-hour set there were powerful ballads, captivating costume changes and venomous vocals. However, there were also heart-warming moments, where Brian May paid personal tribute to Freddie in a virtual duet of ‘Love of my Life’. …

While there was a Mercury-esque style to Lambert, he was far from an imitation act. A star in his own right, the 2009 American Idol runner-up delivered his own adrenaline-charged performance that Freddie himself would have been proud of.

After hearing all of their classic hits including Somebody to Love, Don’t Stop Me Now and I Want to Break Free, there was to be one final highlight before the encore. A spectacular duet of Bohemian Rhapsody heard the voice of Freddie Mercury echo once again, and it was at this surreal point in the show you realised how special the occasion truly was. Undoubtedly, Queen pride themselves on showmanship, and, thankfully, Lambert’s youth, style and flamboyant stage presence appears to have revived a unified energy that the band had been lacking for so very long.

It’s been 24 years since the death of Freddie, but the show must go on – and it’s fairly safe to say that in Adam Lambert, Queen have found a new King.