What would Freddie do? Adam Lambert on fronting Queen and holding back


Adam and Queen in Australia 2014

Adam Lambert’s substantial interview, prior to his concert dates later this month…

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20 January 2016


For Lambert, it’s personal. He has been marketed as a second-generation glam rocker, even titling his 2010 tour Glam Nation. There are also just a few degrees of separation: Lambert fronted Queen on their 2014 world tour; Bowie recorded Under Pressure with friend Freddie Mercury.

“I went on that show [AI] for a chance to become an original artist,” says Lambert. He’d auditioned, audaciously, with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Then, in the show’s finale, he and another contestant were joined by Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor in a rendition of We Are The Champions. It cemented the band’s admiration of him and led to their invitation for Lambert to front a Queen world tour, stepping into the shoes of Freddie Mercury.

Certainly Queen didn’t want to hold back Lambert: they’ve postponed plans to make an album while they watch from the sidelines as he unfurls his solo career. Brian May even contributed guitar to one track on The Original High. “[It] would be so wrong, for us to just envelop him and never let him go off and do anything else,” May told Gigwise, acknowledging Lambert was a “gift from God.”

It had been a huge gamble for one of the world’s most established bands to recruit an Idol alumnus. When Queen’s 2014 tour was first announced, Lambert declared, “If there’s somebody out there that feels really strongly that this isn’t the same Queen then don’t come.” He added, “But if you don’t come you’re going to miss one hell of a show.”

The tour eventually clocked up 66 shows and Lambert’s joining them again in a few months for a European festival hit-and-run. He has relished the opportunity to unravel the meaning of Mercury’s hit songs. “I wanted to understand, what was Freddie going through and what did he intend the audience to feel?” he says. “One of the things that I am really curious about is if Freddie existed in today’s world, what would his personal life be like? What would he have identified as? In a way I’m trying to carry on the messages he put into his songs for today’s audience, in a time when we understand more about this stuff.”

Adam Lambert plays the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, January 25 and 26 and the Enmore Theatre January 30 and 31.