Reviews: Queen and Adam Lambert, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle


14 January by Adam Kennedy

Queen with Adam Lambert at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, UK on 13-JAN-2015 Adam

Newcastle Metro - Adam and Brian
Queen with Adam Lambert at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, UK on 13-JAN-2015. Adam Lambert and Queen are touring in the UK, Lambert filling the shoes for Freddie Mercury, and the band is pleased considering these are big boots to fill.

Adam Lambert has been given the opportunity by Brian May and Roger Taylor to keep Freddie Mercury’s legacy alive. Last year Queen and Adam Lambert undertook an extensive tour of North America. On New Years Eve, the band wowed the UK with a televised concert on the BBC, the first of it’s kind since 1975. As a result anticipation was high for the band’s first full UK tour together.

A capacity crowd was in attendance at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, to witness the opening night of the tour. This was the first time Queen had played the region since 2008. Last time former Free lead singer Paul Rodgers fronted the band.

Brian May’s silhouette appears, as the curtain falls and the band launch into “One Vision” and the crowd went wild. The band brought a huge production, complete with visuals and a Q-tail walkway leading to a second stage, bringing the fans closer to the action and Adam certainly knows how to use it. During the classic, “Killer Queen” he makes his way out into the middle of the arena to serenade the audience from a lounger, toasting the fans with his bottle of champagne.

Brian May paid homage to the Geordie crowd with a rather fitting cover of, “Fog on the Tyne” before a sublime rendition of, “Love of My Life” complete with vocals from Freddie Mercury via the screens at the back of the stage, a special moment indeed.

The show was truly a family affair, Roger Taylor’s son Rufus features in the band, and got his moment to shine during a drum battle with his father, as well as taking the reigns behind the kit as Roger took to the front of house to sing “A Kind of Magic.”

Queen and Lambert rocked their way through fan favorites like, “Radio Ga Ga,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Stone Cold Crazy.” The band brought their two-hour set to a close with the classic, “We Are The Champions.” Lambert donning a crown, as a sea of arms in the air swayed from side to side.

One thing is for sure, Adam Lambert is not trying to replace Freddie Mercury, he is taking inspiration from the great man and making the songs his own, and doing an amazing job of keeping the music of Queen alive. Lambert is a showman, charismatic and engaging, a natural entertainer and a joy to watch, he has the audience captivated, he jells with the band, they are so tight. It’s obvious to see the band are genuinely enjoying themselves. “Ladies and gentlemen, what do you think of the new boy?” May asks the audience, to which they received a standing ovation, 11,000 people can’t be wrong can they?

Queen and Adam Lambert review – an unlikely union, but it works Arena, Newcastle
14 January 2015 by Dave Simpson

As fanciful as it sounds, in Lambert the legendary rock band have found a flamboyant showman with the Freddie factor

Queen and Adam Lambert in Michigan 2014
Adam Lambert with Brian May in concert in Michigan last year. Photograph: MediaPunch/REX

In 1985, when Freddie Mercury and Queen reigned over Live Aid, it would have seemed unthinkable that within just six years the great showman would be dead, never mind that in 2015 two of his bandmates would tour with an American Idol talent show runner-up performing the old songs. But the unlikely union works. It helps that Queen’s back catalogue is so formidable that even a two-hour show isn’t long enough to pack in their best known songs (there’s no You’re My Best Friend or – irony of ironies – The Show Must Go On).

Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor … … still pack the showmanship and musicianship of real rock legends, even if this does mean indulgences such as drum battles (with Taylor’s son, Rufus) and guitar solos that presumably require enough electricity to power a small town.

Surprisingly, though, this show succeeds because of Adam Lambert, not despite him. The 32-year-old has said he wants to celebrate the flamboyant, camp, gay Mercury rather than replace him, but he definitely has the Freddie factor. Where the band’s earlier tours with heterosexual, macho, ex-Free, bluesy shouter Paul Rodgers felt wrong, the black leathered, bequiffed, nail varnished Lambert is every bit the showman that was Mercury.

The American sips champagne while singing a camped up Killer Queen draped across a chaise longue and yells We Will Rock You wearing a silver crown. When Lambert claps hands, the audience clap with him, unprompted. His unusually wide vocal range allows him to hit high notes (notably Mercury’s famous one in Somebody To Love) which would normally require the assistance of even tighter trousers.

However, the Indianan is no mere talent show get-lucky. Like Mercury, Lambert paid his dues with opera training, theatre, singing in clubs and performing dance and rock, which has given him the dexterity to tackle a catalogue stretching from thumping grooves (Radio Gaga, Another One Bites the Dust) to blistering hard rock (Seven Seas of Rhye, Tie Your Mother Down).

Being the first openly gay man to go straight to a US No 1 (with 2012 solo album Trespassing) does matter. In more conservative times, Mercury sang about his sexuality by way of codes and hidden double entendres; Lambert turns the same songs into riotous celebrations.

There is poignancy, too, when Lambert sings Who Wants to Live Forever under lighting that makes him look like a ghost and in the touchingly warm reception given to May’s achingly sincere Love of My Life, for Mercury.

Because, in a way, this is still the late star’s gig: a homage to his music. It’s Mercury who provokes gasps when he appears on screen to “duet” with Lambert in a Bohemian Rhapsody so riotous one fears the venue may combust.

“There will only be one Freddie Mercury, ever,” Lambert declares, as people roar approval for “the new boy”. However, in Adam Lambert, the late star’s old bandmates have surely found the right person to honour his achievements.

• At London 02 (17, 18 January – tel 0844 395 4000), then touring. DETAILS

14 January 2015
Review: Queen and Adam Lambert, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
OPINION Angela Upex by Angela Laupex
Angela Upex reviews Queen and Adam Lambert at a packed Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle Queen and Adam Lambert perform live at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle

Adam Lambert and Brian May
Queen and Adam Lambert perform live at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle


A packed crowd at the Arena went berserk last night as they got a lesson in rock and roll from one of the greatest groups of all time – Queen and Adam Lambert.

Coming two years after May, Taylor and Lambert last performed a short tour together of the UK and Europe, last night’s outing was the start of a tour that will take in two dozen shows in 10 countries.

Just before 8.30am they came on to stage greeted by rapturous applause and opened with One Vision.

Adam Lambert looked amazing with his leather-studded jacket, shades, leather fingerless gloves, sparkly vest and black nail varnish.

The shades came off the Glee star for I Want It All followed by Another One Bites the Dust.

Fat Bottomed Girls got the audience up where I was in the Arena. And Brian May came to the front of the stage and wowed the crowds and the place went wild.

Soon Adam Lambert donned an amazing tassled ensemble for a rendition of Killer Queen with even a sofa on the stage.

A little banter with the Geordie faithful as he swigged on a bottle of champers, he played homage to the the city’s reputation as party capital and launched into Don’t Stop Me Now.

Adam Lambert disappeared and Brian May sat on a stool at the front of the runway and reminisced about the band’s many visits to Tyneside and said how he loved playing at Newcastle’s City Hall in the early days and got the audience to join him with a little bit of Fog on the Tyne.

He sang Letters in the Sand [sic ’39] with a backdrop of Freddie Mercury and the Queen faithful were mesemerised.

Roger Taylor then sang It’s a Kind of Magic followed by a drum stand-off with his son Rufus.

Under Pressure saw Adam Lambert and Roger Taylor sing together.

The back catalogue of Queen was delivered in quick succession, Who Wants to Love Forever followed by a fantastic guitar solo from Brian May.

Adam Lambert then donned tartan pants and knee length black boots to blast out Tie Your Mother Down and just before 10pm we heard I Want to Break Free.

Radio Ga Ga had everyone clapping above their heads and it was an amazing sight to see, the whole auditorium in perfect harmony.

Bohemian Rhapsody used clips of Freddie and the original video. It was, without doubt, the song that had everyone singing. “. Lambert traded verses with video footage of Mercury singing from the 80s and Brian May came out in his gold cape.

And it didn’t stop there. Crazy Thing Called Love, Another One Bites the Dust and eventually We Are The Champions with Adam Lambert wearing a leopard skin suit and a glittering crown. Yes, not a look for everyone but he nailed it.

He is an incredible frontman with an amazing vocal range and the crowd, all lovers of Queen, showed their appreciation of the new band member with piercing screams and cheers. And this magnificent showman deserved everyone of them.

He never tried to be Freddie but on every occasion delivered the Queen songs with his own style and more importantly great aplomb.

With a spectacular set, including a runway to the centre of the crowd, three huge screens, lighting rigs, mesmerising visuals and one hell of a voice in the form of Lambert booming in harmony with the strains of Brian May’s guitar, the crowd definitely enjoyed a fantastic show and a visual treat.

The Tyneside gig got the North East music scene off to a great start for 2015 and Queen and Adam Lambert deserved their standing ovation and I hope the appreciative cheers from the thousands in the crowds are still ringing in their ears.

Review: Queen and Adam Lambert, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
14 January 2015

QUEEN must be one of the only bands where being overblown, over-wrought and over the top are not criticisms, but the bare minimum of requirements when taking the stage. And when you have to step into the shoes of arch prancer and showman Freddie Mercury, the pressure is most certainly pushing down on you.

That particular pressure has fallen upon Adam Lambert and I’m happy to report he’s no shrinking violet or pale imitation. The American Idol winner has turned a thankless task into an impressive showcase of a voice that, if not matching Mr Mercury’s, certainly to gives it a run for its money.

There was always the fear that emulating Mercury would turn this show, the first of a nationwide tour, into a soulless X Factor karaoke night. Had Lambert flounced onto the stage in a leotard sporting a big black moustache and wielding a Union Jack cape, the game would be up.

As it was, the lead singer, while camping it up in a Freddie-esque style, had his own image … most of it gleaned from the all studs and leather cast offs from the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome costume wardrobe. Image-wise he appeared to be channelling George Michael during his Faith period.

Lambert has said he was there not to replace Mercury, but to remind people how amazing he was. A packed arena didn’t need reminding.

Nor did they need reminding of the talents of Brian May and Roger Taylor.

May ran the show from start to finish, and was as comfortable rocking out Fat Bottomed Girls and Crazy Little Thing Called Love as he was endearing himself to the crowd with an acoustic version of Fog on the Tyne or wringing out the emotion on Who Wants To Live Forever.

His guitar work was as note perfect as Lambert’s voice was pitch perfect, as they rattled through hit after hit from decade to decade: Another One Bites the Dust, I Want it All, Killer Queen, A Kind of Magic, I Want To Break Free, every one a winner.

A drum battle between Roger Taylor and his son Rufus and a soaring guitar solo from May mixed things up for the audience and there were some stand-out performances to be had.

Freddie Mercury joining in (via video footage on the big screen) during an acoustic version of Love of My Life brought huge cheers, and his reappearance for the classic Bohemian Rhapsody had the arena rocking, and for some, the tears flowing.

Lambert returned the stage in a leopard print suit with a glittering crown for encores We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions before milking the applause at the end as the national anthem played and gold glitter fluttered from the rooftops. A great night and a great show.

The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.

Brian in Newcastle by Steve Johnson
A photo we liked – Brian by Steve Johnson