My Royal Appointment… An evening with Queen

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There are a few people in life who are so skilled at what they do that you very quickly realise they deserve your respect. Adam Lambert is one of those people.

Before last night, I knew little of the 30-something American singer, save for the odd YouTube clip and the fact that he’d finished runner-up on American Idol. He is, however, a very special talent indeed.

I can’t profess to being the world’s biggest Queen fan. But, like many men of my age, I was bought up listening to their biggest hits on the way to the football in my dad’s car and I’m well aware of their deserved position at the very top table of British rock, so when the opportunity came up to see them in the flesh for the first time, I couldn’t really pass it up.

So, I entered the venue with an open mind but some uncertain expectations. By the end of the show, I was far from disappointed. Blown away is a more accurate term.

Arena music is a far cry from where it was 20 years ago. These days, bands simply can’t just turn up and go through the motions – the crowd demands a show in exchange for their coin and this is where Queen came into their own.

It can’t be doubted that their founding fathers Brian May and Roger Taylor have assembled a band as exceptionally talented as they are to do their back catalogue justice. It’s more that with Queen, it’s not just about the music, it’s the showmanship that goes with it… and they didn’t disappoint.

While nobody can replace their legendary late frontman Freddie Mercury, in Adam Lambert, they have unearthed a showman more than capable ensuring their legacy lives on.

No stranger to guyliner and with a fashion sense at the flamboyant extreme of the spectrum, Lambert slinked and slithered across every inch of the stage during the two hour show.

A natural performer with the voice to match, his masculine edge ensured that his brash and playful campness stayed just on the right of pastiche.

He was also extremely respectful to both the band’s material and it’s elder statesmen, Taylor and May, who were clearly having a blast working with a performer so adept at shouldering the responsibility of fronting one of the biggest names in music.

As for Taylor and May, there were a few moments – such as the instrumental in the raucous Tie Your Mother Down – when they really let go and you could see the chemistry between them which lifts Queen from being just another rock band into the chart-topping, stadium-filling juggernaut which was the mainstay of their career.

Mercury’s legacy was also reflected, with May duetting with a video of his pal in full pomp during Love of My Life, in the presence of Freddie’s mum, a long-time Nottingham resident who had front row seats last night.

As for the best moments, there were a few. The opener, One Vision, set the tone perfectly and the set’s early appearance of Fat Bottomed Girls was a masterstroke in audience manipulation, with Lambert getting everyone on their feet and singing. But the real hairs-on-the-back-of-your neck stuff came towards the end of the show.

Radio Ga Ga, Who Wants to Live Forever and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody – complete with another virtual  appearance from Freddie during the anthem’s final restrain, bought the show to a fitting climax, setting up a rousing finale of We Will Rock You and the sing-along We Are The Champions, before the performers took their bows, applause and exited stage left, to the strains of God Save the Queen.

It was a fitting finale for a bona fide member of rock’s Royal Family.

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7 thoughts on “My Royal Appointment… An evening with Queen

  1. Thanks for your write up! You have articulated why the naysayers don’t get… It’s about the magic of the live music experience and when created plus performed by great musicians and vocalists it often lightens the human spirit.
    Oh and just wondering why do you think the media often raises the small few of doubters to the level of lead authority story line as the all knowing Town-Crier while articles such as yours authentically exemplify many of the thoughts of the concert attending masses. Another reason to appreciate social media which allows reasoned up or down opinions. Thanks again for putting in writing what this one of the attending masses feels and may I conclude with one more compliment;
    your a brilliant thinker and writer.

    • Hey there. First of all, many thanks for your kind words, I truly appreciate them. I’ve worked in the media, first as a journalist and latterly as a PR man for too many years to remember and the one thing I would say is that everyone who puts information and opinion into the mainstream media has an agenda or an angle to pursue – no matter how big or small.

      I currently do PR for an organisation which helps to support businesses, economic growth and job creation and while I passionately believe it’s a noble cause, there are times when I’m conflicted between what I write in my capacity as their PR guy and and what I truly believe in. I guess the same goes for anyone who works within the media bubble – rightly or wrongly, we’ve all got a party line to toe.

      The thing I love most about blogging is the honesty it affords, you can just write what you feel, without having to answer to anyone. At the end of the day, you need to go with what’s in your heart.

      I agree with you totally about the magic of live music – when they get it right, you can’t beat it, and it sometimes makes being alive all the more worthwhile. Specific to Adam and Queen, he’s not Freddie Mercury, but that’s not the point – it just works, it was a great show.

      All the best

      Jon

      • Thanks for the insight into the ‘why’ some articles may nudge the reader towards and along a specific story path. You reminded me that one should think while reading and hence think before speaking… And you do a fine job of both!

  2. Pingback: LIVE: Queen + Adam Lambert (Nottingham, UK) 1/24/15 | adamlambertlive

  3. Just wanted to thank you for your kind words about Adam Lambert but also once more thank the U.K. and the Queen Fans for their reception,we here in the States are so very grateful.

  4. Thank you Jon for your great, insightful review of Adam, Queen & this magnificent concert that reminds us of what music should be in this world of so much auto tune and gimmicks. None of what occurs in this world tour which stirs the sense to soaring heights. I was privileged to see this concert two times in the US. It was electric, heart warming and Queen and Adam fans were on their feet, singing along, in tears with the tributes to Freddie and stunned with Adam & Brian May’s Who Wants to Live Forever, among other favorites.. This was a first class production all the way, easily the best concert I’ve seen & two I will never forget. Adam definitely is his own man, more than doing justice to this legendary band . What’s most important is his genuine honesty & sincere respect & reverence for the music and men behind it. I’ve met many wonderful Queen fans that were blown away by Adam, as you were. You had to be there to experience the love, joy and electricity. You felt it too & I appreciate your heart felt words. and great taste in music!

  5. Pingback: Review de um Fã do Show de Queen + Adam Lambert em Nottingham (Inglaterra) – 24/01 « Adam Lambert Brasil | A sua maior e melhor fonte brasileira sobre o cantor!

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