Adam Lambert and Queen Rock London’s O2 With Their Own Kind Of Magic

Adam Lambert and Queen Rock London's O2 With Their Own Kind Of Magic
Credit: Classic Rock

 

Sunday night, Queen and Adam Lambert took to the stage for their second performance at London’s O2 Arena as part of their world tour. What unfolded was nothing short of spectacular.

I very clearly remember Freddie Mercury passing away when I was a child. Like anyone who has parents with any semblance of musical taste, I grew up with their music and always knew a Queen song when I heard it. My husband (several years ahead of me) spent his late teens entirely devoted to their music and was desperate to see them again.

We attended the concert for different reasons; he to see the great masters Brian May and Roger Taylor and me… well, I just wanted to see Adam Lambert in a pair of leather trousers and to hear him sing.

We both left with the same thought; the combination of Queen and Adam Lambert together on a stage is outstanding and Adam Lambert is the perfect front man for this band and their awesome talent.

There is no support act, but then there doesn’t need to be when they can easily fill a two hour show and still not perform some of their biggest hits. “A Kind of Magic,” “Innuendo” and “The Show Must Go On” are all missing, though one wonders if the latter is left out because of the poignancy of the lyrics. This is not a mournful show, far from it. It is an outrageously camp, bright and cheerful celebration of all that Queen was and is now.

Freddie Mercury is not forgotten; from many a mention by the band, to a duet on “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Lambert, to a beautiful rendition of “These Are The Days of Our Lives” by Roger Taylor with a wonderfully nostalgic video montage in the background.

Sure, some of the show might be a tad self indulgent, but hey, this is Queen and they are rock gods. If anyone is entitled to pander to their own whims then it should be May and Taylor, who keep us entertained with guitar solos and drum battles (with Roger Taylor’s son, Rufus).

Before last night I would have classified Brian May as a very talented guitarist. I am not sure there are actually enough words to describe his awesomeness after having witnessed him play live. He brings new meaning to the phrase “making the guitar sing.” I am still amazed at the talent he possesses, the incredible music he can produce, and all while looking like he’s just standing in a supermarket, pondering which cheese to buy. How can he look so calm?!

Each and every member of Queen strikes me as incredibly humble. There is no mistaking that they are genuinely grateful to us, the audience, for being there. On top of that, May and Taylor are grateful to Lambert for lending his incredible vocal talent, and he in turn is grateful for the amazing opportunity.

Teamwork! @Drbrianmay @queenwillrock

A photo posted by ADAMLAMBERT (@adamlambert) on

Adam Lambert is a showman of the highest order. He possesses a pitch perfect voice, which sounds like a logical thing for a singer to have, but you’d be surprised how many don’t. His range is astounding. “Killer Queen,” performed on a chaise longue in the most camp and theatrical style possible, really brought home his singing capabilities for me as he jumped smoothly up and down the musical scale. There was not a single bum note in his performance, and I have been to many concerts in my time but I have never been able to say that before. May and Taylor also bring great harmonies, again perfectly sung as well as having strong solo voices themselves.

Adam has the true essence of Freddie Mercury while still managing to be entirely himself throughout. He is unashamedly camp, flirty and fun, and the whole audience sits in the palm of his hand. He also comes across as genuinely likeable. His rapport with the rest of Queen is fun and easy and you get the feeling that they will all really miss each other when this tour ends.

I love to dance and sing, in fact it would suit me if my entire life was a musical. Adam Lambert brings that out both in me, and, it seems, the rest of the crowd. By the time he performed “Don’t Stop Me Now,” one of my all time favourite songs, I was on my feet, dancing wildly along with the rest of the people in my block, the vast majority of whom were aged between forty and sixty. You can’t help but throw caution to the wind and dance the night away, not caring who’s watching, because your attentions are focused on these rock gods.

“Radio GaGa” felt almost like a religious experience; an entire arena clapping along in sync and singing their hearts out, led by a man who looks stupidly good in a pair of tight red tartan trousers. From there we moved to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, complete with Brian May in some kind of gold lame curtain which oddly suited him and Freddie Mercury on our screens. It was perfect. I can’t describe it as anything else. The show closed with “We Will Rock You,” which is exactly what they had spent two hours doing, and “We Are The Champions.” Adam Lambert wears a crown. Adam Lambert deserves that crown because he really is both king and queen of everything right now, and deservedly so.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing this partnership will continue in some capacity. For now, we know that Lambert has signed a solo deal and will be releasing a single in April. I am hopeful he will be able to capitalise on the success of this tour and that his solo work brings him great critical acclaim, but I would also love the opportunity to see him on stage with Queen again at some point in the future.

For me, on Sunday night, Adam Lambert and Queen captured my soul with their beautiful music. I danced, I laughed, I sang along and I cried with joy. We emerged into the freezing cold night with an uplifted crown who sang “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as we all queued for the train home. Over the years, Adam Lambert, Queen and their music have touched many people’s hearts and I am so thankful that I had the chance to experience watching them live. They really do have their own kind of magic.

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8 comments

  1. Loved your review! I could totally relate to everything that you said. I saw them last year with their North American tour and they were awesome! Loved Queen years back and was so happy to be able to witness this chapter now with Adam Lambert (who is a great choice by the way).

    1. Isn’t he? We rooted for him on American Idol and I have always been impressed with his vocal prowess but wow, singing those incredible songs just sets him on a whole other level. A fantastic frontman!

  2. Have seen Brian May appear on stage twice at the end of We Will Rock You in Bristol. His playing is, as you say, stupendous and performed without apparent effort. He is also always gracious to the performers trying not to steal their thunder and letting them take the applause. Genuinely nice guy by all accounts

    1. He always comes across as a really nice guy in interviews that I have seen/heard.
      Can’t get over him playing a two hour set without breaking a sweat!

  3. Thank you for the review. What you described is exactly the way someone should feel at a concert, those reviewers who try to come off all cool and cynical are totally missing the point and don’t impress me at all.
    I saw them at Hammersmith in 2012 and they are even better now.

    1. There is nothing cool about me 🙂 I totally immersed myself in the whole thing and loved every second! I’m really hoping they tour again in the future.

  4. Great review and really captured what it is like to experience Queen with Adam Lambert. I was able to get to 6 of their shows in the U.S. last summer, best summer of my life! I have been following the U.K. leg of the tour and was able to experience Sunday night thanks to a generous Glambert streaming the audio while others were tweeting photos. No, it is not the same as being there, not by a long shot, but it still let’s those of us across the world feel like we are part of it. I have loved the music of Queen for as long as I can remember, and became a Glambert 6 years ago today when Adam auditioned for American Idol by singing Bohemian Rhapsody. I cannot think of any better combination of band and singer (especially since the original irreplaceable Freddie has been gone for nearly 24 years). I imagine that even if Freddie had lived his voice would not be now what it was 30 years ago, so the fact that there is a “new man” up to the task of handling that massive catalog of hits, hardly one of them easy to sing, truly is the gift from God Brian calls Adam. As for The Show Must Go On, that was in most of the U.S. shows, but Don’t Stop Me Now was not – it was supposed to be but was dropped from the set list except for a few shows in Canada. We also did not get I Want to Break Free, which I love, or Save Me (we did have Love Kills in that spot). So they change up the show a bit as the tour progresses – Asia got I Was Born to Love You, which I loved hearing, but I think that’s because it was one of Queen’s biggest hits in that part of the world. I too hope there is a way for Adam to flourish in his solo career but still collaborate with Queen in some way as well. They are a match made in Heaven (with maybe a little facilitating from a guardian angel named Freddie).

  5. 6 shows?! How lucky are you!!
    It’s hard to believe Freddie has been gone for 24 years, but how wonderful that his spirit can live on in this way.
    I too watched Adam Lambert on Idol, and really wanted him to win, though he’s really too good for them!
    His solo career hasn’t really made too much if an impression over here yet so I am really hoping this tour and the New Years Eve Concert they did for the BBC has given him the exposure he needs to get it going.
    An Australian friend of mine who watched them in Sydney told me they didn’t get Don’t Stop Me Now. I like that they change it up as it keeps them fresh i think and as you say, different songs were big hits in different countries. We did have Save Me though, which was just incredible.

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