Frances Winston reviews the amazing band that is Queen, and the immense talent that is Adam Lambert, who gave it their all at the 3Arena, in Dublin, on 25th, much to the delight of the fans
Queen & Adam Lambert, 3Arena, Dublin, 25th November 2017
Freddie Mercury was such an iconic singer – indeed he has been named the greatest frontman of all time in several music polls – that he is a tough act for anyone to follow.
This must surely have crossed the minds of his remaining bandmates when he passed away 26 years ago. However, where many bands would have called it a day, guitarist, Brian May, and drummer, Roger Taylor, decided to keep the Queen legacy alive (bassist, John Deacon, retired following Freddie’s passing).
They managed to do this firstly through the award-winning stage show, We Will Rock You, which debuted in 2002. A few years later, they took to the road again, with former Free and Bad Company lead singer, Paul Rogers, on vocal duties. For the past six years though, it has been the glamtastic Adam Lambert who has been responsible for belting out their anthemic tunes.
It’s a collaboration that has proved very successful, and has seen them sell out stadiums and arenas around the world. Of course, he is no Freddie, but he has a sense of the flamboyant that the late singer would approve of. He also has a fantastic voice that more than does justice to the band’s back-catalogue.
The last time Queen played here (when it was still The Point Depot) they were still working with Rogers, but one glance at the stage for this gig showed that this would be a very different affair. While their staging with Rogers was pretty simple, this stage is a spectacle of lights.
When the show begins with a 3D-effect image of the iconic robot, Frank (from the cover of Queen’s 1977 album, News of the World) coming up behind a screen, and lifting it up to reveal the band, I realised that this was going to be quite a glitzy affair. As Brian May played a riff from We Will Rock you that morphed into Hammer To Fall, Lambert took to the stage, and from the opening lines, it was obvious that he was more than up to the task at hand.
He may have been the runner-up on American Idol, but he was a Champion here, as he belted out hit after hit. Queen’s back-catalogue is extensive, and they worked through a huge amount of it, including Tie Your Mother Down, Killer Queen, Fat-Bottomed Girls, Don’t Stop Me Now, I Want It All, and Somebody to Love. Many of these songs cover quite a vocal range, but Adam wasn’t fazed, and did an astonishing job bringing them to life.
Roger Taylor took over vocal duties for I’m In Love With My Car and A Kind of Magic, while Brian May lent his voice to Love of My Life, which saw him duet with a projection of Freddie in a hugely emotional moment. I saw one or two people wiping away tears when the late, great, showman appeared.
Freddie featured again during the opera section of Bohemian Rhapsody, which had every single person in the stadium singing along. And before the encore, we were treated to the famous footage of him leading the crowd in Day-Oh, which again had everyone singing in unison.
With such polish in their performances, they didn’t really need a spectacle, but Queen were never one to do things by halves. Throughout the show, there were dazzling light-displays and effects. Everything from tricycles to a giant Frank head came onto the stage via trapdoors, as did a drum-kit for Roger Taylor.
Lambert changed outfits several times – each one more flamboyant than the last – and the crowd went wild for his costumes. You couldn’t help thinking that Freddie would approve of all the razzle-dazzle. Lambert seems more than comfortable stepping into his shoes, almost as if he was born out of time, and should have been around at the height of the glam-rock era, rather than in the early 21st century.
Ultimately though, this show was about the music and the band’s legacy. There were very few people who weren’t emotional by the end of it, and on many occasions the band themselves were visibly moved. It sounds like a cliché, but there was a lot of love in the room, and for those lucky enough to attend, it was an unforgettable evening.
1. We Will Rock You (teaser) 2. Hammer to Fall 3. Stone Cold Crazy 4. Tie Your Mother Down 5. Another One Bites the Dust 6. Fat Bottomed Girls 7. Killer Queen 8. (Don’t Stop Me Now 9. Bicycle Race 10. I’m in Love With My Car 11. Get Down, Make Love 12. I Want It All 13. Love of My Life 14. Somebody to Love 15. Crazy Little Thing Called Love 16. Drum Battle 17. Under Pressure 18. A Kind of Magic 19. I Want to Break Free 20. Whataya Want From Me
21. You Take My Breath Away 22. Who Wants to Live Forever 23. Last Horizon 24. Guitar Solo 25. Radio Ga Ga 26. Bohemian Rhapsody
27. Day-Oh 28. We Will Rock You 29. We Are the Champions