Queen is back on the road with Adam Lambert fronting the band delivering Queen classics with the kind of voice required to do them justice.
Queen played to a packed house on July 16, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. Fronting the band was American idol runner-up Adam Lambert, filling the spot vacated by Freddy Mercury over 20 years ago. Lambert kept die-hard fans amazed with his performance with the famous British rock band.
When I arrived at the Wells Fargo Center the crowd was restless. A lot of us didn’t know what to expect with this version of Queen. They had toured from 2004 to 2009 with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers holding the reins. But with Adam Lambert, I knew this would be a better fit because of his flat-out charisma and his dynamic vocal range.
The anticipation in the crowd reached a fevered pitch when Brian May’s majestic instrumental piece Procession played. As the famous Queen crest logo lit up, the curtain rose and so did the crowd. Adam Lambert strutted out in a full black leather studded outfit. The show kicked into high gear when Brian May played the very recognizable guitar riff to Now I’m Here.
They followed with the frenzied Stone Cold Crazy, another song from the 1974 classic album Sheer Heart Attack. Those two songs really set the tone for the night. Their two and a half hour set included their greatest radio hits and some more obscure songs but plenty of stuff to satisfy the crowd. They did a fun version of Fat Bottomed Girls but it wasn’t until In the Lap of The Gods Revisited and Seven Seas Of Rhye that Adam Lambert had really taken command of the stage.
I haven’t seen an audience respond to someone like that in a long time. Being the â€˜new guyâ€™ I thought he’d have to try to win us over, but he connected with us fairly early in the show. There were times you’d just catch May smiling at it all, almost like a proud papa or maybe thought that Freddie would have approved. One of the highlights of the show was when Lambert plopped himself down into a plush purple Victorian chaise lounge in the center of the arena to sing Killer Queen . He chugged from a bottle of Moet et Chandon which he spewed out into the crowd.
The place erupted after Love of My Life sung nicely by May at center stage with his acoustic guitar. It was absolutely beautiful. There was a gnawing sadness throughout it though, it was one of Freddie’s best. The crowd sang along and May let us finish some of it but reserved the last part for Freddie Mercury who joined us on stage via video to finish it off. It was a breathtaking moment and an emotional highlight of the show.
The entire band then joined him on stage to sing 39 and again the crowd sang along. Drummer Roger Taylor took the lead on These Are The Days as a video montage played with early images of Queen. When original bassist John Deacon appeared the crowd applauded. Taylor’s son Rufus played drums on this one and on a few other songs throughout the night. They treated us to a drummer duel later in the show. Taylor also sang duel vocals with Lambert on Under Pressure.
Who Wants to Live Forever was sung with Lambert and May center stage complete with lasers and a sparkly disco ball. But a real magical moment for the night was May’s 15-minute guitar solo, which he played all over the stage for the fans and finally ended playing in the middle of the venue.
The crowd participation was high on Radio Gaga and Lambert channeled his best Elvis in a revamped version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love. You could really see the band’s chemistry during this song. Lambert’s amazing vocal range was really apparent on The Show Must Go On . His ability to belt the notes and falsetto is incredible.
They finally played what the crowd was waiting for, Bohemian Rhapsody. Lambert traded verses with a video of Freddie Mercury, and the song ended in bombastic fashion with lots of lasers and smoke. We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions were played as the encore.
What I loved about the show was that at no point did it feel like we were watching a cover band or that Adam Lambert was trying to fill Mercuryâ€™s shoes. Lambert put his own stamp on it, and made it more of a celebration of Freddie Mercury and Queens Music. With the crowds response throughout the show, there is no question that Lambert was the right and possibly the only man for the job. Simply put, it couldn’t have been any better.