While the long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic hits another snag in production, the wait to see Queen on Screen Goblin is over thanks to band’s current world tour. The legendary rockers return with a show of truly epic proportions, featuring new front man Adam Lambert.
Onstage for well in excess of two hours, the band power through their enviable back catalogue, ticking off most of the favourites and a few of lesser-known numbers including Tie Your Mother Down and Stone Cold Crazy. The eye popping set design is based on the cover to 1977’s News of the World, incorporating the giant robot, with Lambert at one point appearing atop a metallic skull. You movie fans will be pleased to hear it even features Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, thanks to exerpts from the Radio Ga Ga music video.
A genuine fan, Lambert appears to be having the time of his life, and is respectful of Mercury’s legacy while doing justice to his songs. Brian May and Roger Taylor’s status as the last original members allows them space for extended solos, both of whom remain at the top of their game. May, everyone’s favourite astrophysicist, animal rights campaigner and collector of Victorian 3D photography (look it up), is as special as his guitar would have you believe, and Taylor demonstrates more than just his percussive ability as he takes to the mic for A Kind of Magic.
Earlier in the year we saw the Wailers performing Bob Marley’s Legend, and in place of Marley they had what can only be described as a Bob Marley tribute act. Don’t get me wrong, he was an excellent Bob Marley tribute act. But he was never acknowledged as such, adding a somewhat odd dynamic to the occasion, particularly when he paused to talk about peace and love: is this him saying this, or part of his Bob Marley tribute?
The Wailers should have looked to Queen as an example. Adam Lambert does not try to be Freddie Mercury. He sings in his own style and has his own unique stage presence. He plays with the crowd well and brings a different kind of exuberance and humour. As a result the essence of a Queen live performance is maintained: the outrageous front man playing off the straight-faced instrumentalists. But it’s given a new energy. This isn’t reheated leftovers, this is a band experiencing a second coming.
The combination of Queen’s legendary back catalogue, world-class staging and the electric atmosphere guarantee a great night. But even with that in mind, May, Taylor and Lambert knocked it out of the park. Queen was always more than just Mercury, and while it’s undoubtedly poorer for his absence, with Adam Lambert they are still better than most of the bands out there.