British icons Queen have been rocking the country from top to bottom this year, including an added date at London’s SSE Wembley Arena earlier this week. Having lost lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1992, the band have had several replacement singers, most notably Paul Rodgers, before finally settling on American Idol star Adam Lambert.
It’s fair to say that Lambert must have been dreading filling such large shoes as Freddie Mercury’s, a man who inspired a generation of people to really love music, and taught many peers and fans not to take life for granted. Adam, 33, was a 2009 runner-up on the American reality song show, and has since been on stage and starred in Glee. Initially, he seemed like an unusual choice for this Queen revival, but Lambert has proven himself to be one very special talent indeed.
Queen’s unique mix of heavy rock and pop was honoured during Tuesday night’s concert, with a 145 minute show crammed with classic hits. From Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody To Love, to Radio GaGa and Under Pressure, the set was a rocking one and had everyone on their feet from beginning to end. There were interspersed solos from the incredible Brian May, and a glorious drum-off between Roger Taylor and son Rufus, who’s been accompanying the band on tour.
One particularly touching moment saw Brian May lead the audience in an acoustic version of Love Of My Life, then fall suddenly silent, allowing a video of Freddie singing to fill the venue and reduce everyone, including the band, to tears.
Adam Lambert stole the show with his incredible vocal range, taking many of the classic songs to new and unbelievable heights. His energy was palpable, filling the arena with cheering and clapping and many standing ovations for his brilliant vocal display.
— Abby Jackson (@abbysjackson) February 27, 2015
The concert was awash with the loud, proud and extravagant pyrotechnics that you’d expect from one of the world’s greatest rock bands, and the audience were frequently covered in glitter and smoke. Huge disco balls descending from the ceiling, as well as strobe lights and animations of stars and constellations, were symbolic of the band’s quirkiness and Brian May’s well known passion for astrology.
Lambert kept the show interactive, chatting with the audience in a bright and cheerful way, encouraging sing alongs and plenty of clapping and stamping. The final encore of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions shook the arena to its foundations, and left everyone with a ringing in their ears for several days afterwards.
Masters of showmanship, songwriting and vocal prowess, Queen + Adam Lambert undoubtedly set out to wow life long fans of the band. But their message was also clear. Frequent tributes to Freddie, as well as vintage clips of him from final shows, were rife throughout the concert, reminding everyone why they were there – to remember and to celebrate a life so sadly cut short.
Queen have successfully proved for over a decade that life after death is possible, and that their music matters just as much now as it always did. One thing is for sure – Freddie will never be forgotten, but Adam Lambert is a true star.
Queen’s New Year’s Eve concert with Adam Lambert is available to watch here: