On Thursday, June 19, 2014, the legendary rock band QUEEN, featuring the extremely talented 2008 American Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert on vocals, just put on a brilliant show on their opening night of their US and Australia tour. The show took place at the famed United Center in Chicago, where the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks play. As most fans know, QUEEN now consists of original members, guitar hero Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Bassist John Deacon retired in 2007, and their brilliant lead vocalist/front man (in my opinion, the best EVER) Freddie Mercury died tragically on November 24, 1991 of AIDS.
[adinserter block=”1″]I can’t praise this show enough. I have been many concerts. I have seen Aerosmith several times. I have seen KISS a ton of times. I have seen the David Lee Roth band, and G3 (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd). I have seen RATT, Dokken, and Cinderella. I have also seen Bon Jovi three times, AC/DC, and even Tina Turner. However, I think this concert really ranks as one of the best rock concerts I have ever attended, if not the best.
For those who are skeptical about singer Adam Lambert singing classic songs that were sung by, and were written( many of them) by the late, great Freddie Mercury, well, Lambert did a spectacular job. Lambert is NOT Freddie Mercury. No one is. However, Lambert sang those songs with power, and with such grace. “Who Wants To Live Forever” was outstanding. It gave me goosebumps. Lambert’s duet with Roger Taylor on “Under Pressure” was incredible. Lambert was an awesome showman. I loved how charming he was. His stage mannerisms were terrific. I loved his singing on a purple couch, and pretended to drink champagne. I also admired Lambert’s professionalism when his microphone cut out completely during the rousing opener, “No I’m Here.” He didn’t lose control, he just kept on going, until he got a working microphone. He certainly acted like he’s been there before.
In my opinion, Brian May is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history. The man, who is not only very intelligent, and has a Doctorates in Astrophysics, and is a friend of the animals (very involved in anti-animal cruelty activities), is overlooked by fans and press as far as discussion of guitar greats are concerned. In these discussions, it’s always the same great players. I am talking about Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen (who worked with May in 1984 on the Star Fleet Project), Steve Vai, etc. Not to take anything away from those guys, but I think Brian May should be mentioned along with them also.
Brian May certainly proved he belonged at the United Center. From the first song, “Now I’m Here, ” to the final encore, “We Are The Champions,” Brian May was just kicking butt, and taking names. I have seen several guitar legends in concert, such as Ace Frehley (KISS), Steve Vai (Zappa, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, solo), Joe Satriani (solo), and George Lynch (Dokken), etc. However, the one guitar legend I have wanted to see live was Brian May. I am so grateful that I got to be in his presence. May just played those hard rock classics like “Stone Cold Crazy,” and “Tie Your Mother Down,” with such fury, that I was in awe. He performed his classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” solo just so brilliantly, I think I QAhurt my back doing all the “We’re not worthy.” bows. I was doing those bows all night. May’s guitar solo was out of this world. His solo also had some awesome lighting effects. People who love great guitar playing need to watch a real guitar great.
Roger Taylor, who is an amazing drummer in his own right, was outstanding as well. He was amazing all night long. His son, Rufus, who performed on percussion, and sang background vocals did a drum duet during Roger’s awesome, drum solo. The duet was awesome. Rufus did play drums on “Tie Your Mother Down,” and Roger played percussion, and did background vocals. However, Roger played drums on all the rest of the 22 song set list, and played them brilliantly.
I loved everything about the show. The costume changes for both Lambert and May were awesome. I loved the staging. There was the main stage, and on stage left, the catwalk extended out to the middle of the arena, where there was a smaller stage. Several songs were sung there, including “Love Kills” from the movie, “Metropolis,” written by Freddie Mercury. Brian May sang “Love of My Life,” and on the screens, they showed Freddie Mercury singing the song, as if he were there with us. This paying homage to Mercury was very emotional and very touching. They also paid homage to Freddie and the retired John Deacon by showing the band members on screen during “These Are the Days of our Lives,” which Roger Taylor sang poignantly. There was a great moment in the show where the “Q” gets put into place, and the audience sees the gold outline.
[adinserter block=”2″]The set list was awesome. I don’t want to give away much more than I already have, but it is an excellent representation of QUEEN’s catalog. After all, this band not only produced great albums (“News of the World,” “A Night at the Opera”), but was a hit machine (“We Will Rock You,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”), so they really had to strike a balance between the hits and songs they never performed live with Freddie Mercury. Overall, they did a great job. Anyway, after the two encores, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” the audience was left with the visual of the “Q” and the famous QUEEN Crest on the screen in the middle.
I was left with audiovisual memories of the greatest concerts that I have ever been to in my life. I am running out of superlatives to describe the show. I highly recommend going to see QUEEN + Adam Lambert on this tour. Trust me, I wish I could see another show. I highly recommend this tour.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan