Queen kicks off their Crown Jewels residency in Las Vegas
Sometimes it is hard to know what to expect with Las Vegas residencies. Are they going to be a straight up concert or are they going to incorporate too much of the Las Vegas glitz, glitter and showmanship. Queen strikes the right balance for their Crown Jewels residency. There is the flash that you expect from a Vegas show and a band like Queen, but it doesn’t overtake or overshadow the show.
At 8:00 PM the room goes dark and the stage is lit with Brian May beginning to play a version of “We Will Rock You.” From there the lights shift to illuminate drummer Roger Taylor and finally Adam Lambert takes the stage. May and Lambert work both sides of the stage getting the crowd on their feet from the very first notes. Obviously the music is delivered perfectly as you would expect. Lambert’s vocals are flawless and deliver goosebumps at times. He is quick to point out that no he is no Freddie because there will be only one Freddie, but he is a fan and it is his goal to perform these songs to the best of his ability and he does just that.
Over the course of the night you really get to see the showmanship of both Lambert and the band. There are video screens, multiple costume changes, and platforms that rise from the stage sending the members to heights well over that of the crowd. Of course there is the tribute to Freddie Mercury which is done in an amazing way. May takes a seat at the front of the stage to acoustically perform “Love of My Life,” a song he “used to sing with young Freddie.” Toward the end of the song the video screen which is showing May is blended with footage of Freddie performing the song while his vocal is played to the theater. This is a touching and well done tribute that does not at all come off as cheesy or contrived.
At one point during the night, the woman next to me comments that she liked that they weren’t waiting until the end of the night to play all the hits. That would be impossible for a band like Queen, who has seemingly nothing but hits. After opening with the altered version of “We Will Rock You,” they move into “Tie Your Mother Down,” and “Somebody to Love,” which is where the first chills from Lambert’s vocals are experienced. They move through the set and various costume changes for Lambert which includes “Fat Bottom Girls,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “I Want it All.”
The whole set is keeping the crowd on their feet, but after “Love of My Life” is where the momentum really builds. Taylor and Lambert perform “Under Pressure,” a song written and performed with David Bowie, as the crowd sings along. From there it is a tribute to Elvis with a cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” that is fun and unexpected. Just when you think Lambert’s vocals can’t get any better, he performs an emotionally charged “Who Wants to Live Forever.”
As the night winds down, the set reaches the part that the casual Queen listener is waiting for; “Bohemian Rhapsody,” followed by “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions.” While these are some of the songs you would expect to end the night, what is unexpected is the energy and intensity that they are delivered with after almost two hours of playing. The music is perfect and so are the vocals. There is not a note out of place in “Bohemian Rhapsody” which is impressive for the speed of this song at this point in the night. The band left the crowd in awe.
After twenty-two songs, the opening night of the residency is over. As May commented, this is the only residency they have ever done anywhere and it is definitely worth catching.
Event Date: 01-Jun-2018