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QUEEN and Adam Lambert Rock Chicago’s United Center

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

Terri
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
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30 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for your beautyfully written review. I never considered attending a Queen concert after Freddie but after seeing and hearing Adam on YouTube I changed my mind and after missing out for 37 years I have tickets for the Houston show. In anticipation of the event I checked out the reviews and I find yours most inspiring and emotional. Thank you for your positivity amidst all the Adam vs. Freddie controversy. I just want to enjoy the music. I missed the “real thing” and I find Adam is great as his own performer, not a substitute or replacement. Your wonderful rendering of this event is a true inspiration! Thank you so much!

  2. Yes, yes, yes… I agree whole heartedly with every word. I was there in Chicago from Australia. Yes, I’m a Glambert, but I grew up on Queen & KISS music. So it was only natural to want to try & make one of these shows incase it may be the last tour for Queen. (And now they’ve added Australia to their itinerary, yay me).
    Having already said I’m a huge ADAM fan, all I’ll say is, he had us all eating out of his hand up there. He did a brilliant job of bringing the music & memories back to life, while also adding his own flavor & charm.
    But I must have been to young to fully appreciate Queens music all those years ago. Or maybe it’s I’d never seen them live. I’d never sat back and really “heard” each members input. The skills as musicians each had. I just knew I loved their songs… But let me tell you. Brian had me awestruck at the way he can play those guitars. Such skill and he makes it look so effortless. Those solos…. I really was mesmerized at times. (Hubby had to nudge me because he thought I’d not seen ADAM walk down the catwalk right next to me, haha) .. And Roger didn’t miss a beat. I’ve been a huge drum fan from my early days, and he was amazing.
    Like seriously, how old are these guys? 25? .. They all looked like they were having the time of their lives up there. I’m loving that they have this desire to breathe life back into some of our old memories and give us wonderful new ones along the way

  3. Thanks Terri for this great, thoughtful review. I Have long been a Queen fan & Brian May’s guitar work is phenomenal, along with Roger Taylor still at the top of his game. Adam Lambert has earned his place as Queen’s well deserved” offspring.” That man was meant to be backed by musicians of Queen’s caliber and Queen’s music to be sung and interpreted by an artist that has the power, passion and stage presence to bring their music to the heights it deserves. I was in the 3rd row center right next to the catwalk and the sound was great with the exception of my not hearing Adam speaking at the end of the catwalk because of the way he was facing. Brian May looked like a proud papa, his facial expressions toward Adam & arm touching gestures conveying his affection and approval of Adam’s performance. It’ a joy to see such greatness on one stage. This was without a doubt the best concert I have ever seen! 🙂

  4. That’s right..it took 5 years in America for the Industry to stop calling Adam ” The openly gay runner up from Idol”! SOOOOO DISRESPECTFUL. From the second Adam took to the American Idol stage, there wasn’t any singer that could go Toe to Toe with Adam and sing or perform Better…or had more style, charisma, sexxx appeal or more HANDSOME. Adam Lambert put every other “artist” to shame. He always sang LIVE flawlessly without autotune. The most beautiful part of Adam is his Humble sweet spirit and aura.
    Queen has always felt America has now found a ” Gift from God” and they always gave Adam that praise. I love Bri and Roger for having Adams back and always exalting his Phenomenal talent. They are both such sweet guys and joining MAGICAL Force with Adam is Extraordinary. I knew when Adam and Queen toured America the floodgates would rush open…and now what the Music Industry was TRYING to hold down, America will Finally see what we have known. And with Queen Adam has free reign to dress how he wants, play on stage how he wants..be as free and uninhibited as he wants. .it’s a perfect fit. He wanted GOLD..They gave him gold. Trust me most of the Theatrics are Adams pure genius mind at work. Anyone seeing Queen and Adam will be Spellbound and Captivated for life by Adam. There’s NO turning back once he’s in your heart.
    I hope they tour a lot more.

    • I don’t know how I missed this article but I love your comments. I agree with every word. There is no one like Adam Lambert and I mean no one. He does things with his voice others can only dream about. His heart and soul are what draws me to him even more than his incredible voice and looks.

  5. I felt like I was “in the moment” with your critique of the Show. I have followed Queen since back in the day and Adam Lambert since he appeared on American Idol…….what an excellent pairing. I only wish I could see their Concert What talented performers to grace any stage. This surely a life time experience, because who knows how long Queen will be performing. Thanks so much to bringing your experience alive for us!!

  6. Very nice review. We Glamberts are familiar with the complete sensory experience Adam Lambert gives us. His voice is better live than recorded and I can FEEL his voice. He is very addicting. I’m lucky enough to be going to three shows and I know each will be a different “experience”. ROCK ON!

  7. BEST WRITE UP EVER!! I AGREE with every word. I have also seen Every legendary band that came to Milwaukee in the 70s and 80s AND I have seen Queen Live with Freddie in Milwaukee. Too many GREAT ROCK bands to count. CHICAGO Queen Adam concert was THEEEEE BEST CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE..it puts all others in SECOND PLACE!! Roger and Brian are STILL Kick you Ass all night long musicians lime no other. It is Extraordinary! I was so blown away by them.
    Adam has ALWAYS been the most Phenomenal Vocal/ Performance Talent on the Planet since he first magically appeared out of no where 5 years ago. I’ve seen him Live 4 times when he sells out his own tours around the world. Adam Live is a Spiritual experience because he pulls every last drop of soul and spirit from deep within himself and wraps it around you..saturating your heart and taking you on an Emotional Vocal Journey with him…Both you and him connected.
    Queen and Adam together is a DREAM TEAM. Live pure powerful Vocals and musicians combined to create a MAGICAL EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NEVER FOR GET.

  8. People seem to forget Freddie caught a lot of flak from the press as did the rest of Queen in their heyday. Truth is their songs are timeless and now they get a heaven-sent vocalist, who fits with them on all levels like a hand in a glove. This is what Queen does and no one has the right to criticize or pick apart their newfound happiness or the vehicle Adam they ride to get their message and music across. More power to them, amazing chemistry and respect for Freddie’s songs and talent. Adam’s talent is undeniable and up to the occasion. So many fans who bought tickets and those who were unable to can’t be wrong. In fact Brian May even tweeted where to find the live stream. A totally class act.

  9. I love your article. I have been writing about Adam for years. When you put the best live entertainer of this day with the magic of Queen , the mix is spectacular! There is one little thing that I think all writers should stop, and that is referring to Adam as the “Season 8 American Idol runner up” Technically that is true, but Adam lost to Allen’s cheating home town crowd of 3,000 in Conway, Arkansas assisted by rogue AT&T executive Matt Jordan. Together they produced the winning 30 million votes. Adam should not be forever branded by cheating. The Season 8 AI star would be better.

  10. Nice article. I am amazed at how many people are slamming this without ever seeing it. This tour is pure joy and magic! The chemistry, artistry, and thrill is brought back to life. These guys and Adam have such a connection and it is stunning to watch!!

  11. Thank you for this review. I had the pleasure of seeing Queen twice in the 70’s and thankfully I have lived long enough to get to see them live with Adam on July 1st in San Jose. Dream come true to get to see this wonderful band again. This tour is exposing the kids out there to actual live music with no lipsyn and not recorded click loops…..this is actual live music at it’s best and a new generation of Queen fans.

  12. As a huge Queen fan from South Africa, I would have loved to attend a show!! Thanks for a great review. Do you think a video or podcast of the show will be available some time?

  13. Something about this tour seems destined. The arcs of Queen’s and Adam’s careers are intersecting at crucial junctures for both, each having surrendered and overcome the hand fate had dealt them. Still vital musicians and not yet ready to throw in their performing towels, Queen gets a second wind from a brilliant front man in Adam, whose dream gig of this union comes in the form of a godfatherly wind beneath his “colorful” and embattled wings. If Queen’s logo commanded by a phoenix is an auspicious portent for these artists, we are witnessing their rise from respective circumstances, and the universe is “unfolding as it should” with our reveling now in the fortunate happenstance.

  14. It’s a pleasure to read some positive and respectful comments here – obviously from people who have attended shows and are fans of Adam and Queen. There was a mud-slinging blog on Rolling Stone magazine. I did comment there but it became extremely disgusting . It was like a vicious circle…sometime it’s better not to read that trash.

  15. Enjoyed reading ur review. Hope u get to another Queen show. My time will be 2 shows in Vegas & cannot wait. I’ve seen Adam/Queen in London 2012. Show was incredible but this tour from what I’ve seen will be even more spectacular. Agree Brian underrated but so is Adam. He is considered by many in music business to be male vocalist today but radio won’t play his music. Sad.

    • I will be seeing Queen + Adam on June 26th in Calgary – my first opportunity to hear that magnificent voice live. IMO he has no rival in the music business.

  16. Thanks for the great review. So far, I have only read of one person who attended the show but didn’t like Adam. Far outweighed by the dozens of positive tweets and comments by skeptical Queen fans who were won over.

  17. Appreciate such a thorough and thoughtful review – have only seen vids but planning on live shows – and, from what you said – it’s go if you possibly can. Thanks, Mr. Bey.

  18. Excellent review. Roger and Brian have found a very talented singer to bring new life to some of the best music ever written. Finally, we have found a stage big enough for Adam. It’s about time! This will surely put him on the international map – where he belongs. I love his remarkable voice and theatrics. Brian, Roger and Adam are a class act and they paid respect to Freddie. On with the show.

    • Lily. Thanks for reading and commenting. I definitely feel that thid was a first class production from top to bottom. Adam was able to share his immense talent, but at the same time, was very reverent, and respectful towards the great Mercury and John Deacon.

      • I have a question for you since you were there: did Adam get drowned out by the band on any of the songs? Could you hear him alright? Because in some of the videos I had trouble hearing him, except for the power ballads- I definitely could hear him loud and clear. I have tickets for the Montreal show and for Mohegan Sun show in CT, so I’d really like to know that I’ll be able to hear him above the band. I’m a bigger Adam fan than a Queen fan, but I must say, I’ve become a much bigger fan of Queen’s music since Adam has played frontman for the group. Adam simply owns WWTLF and now Love Kills. Loved those 2 numbers, in particular.

        • I heard that the Chicago sound mix was sometimes a bit off but they were experimenting coz it was the very first show and since then it’s been just fine. Vids are deceptive as someone else said so you can’t go by them. YOu would have seen the concert by now. Would love to know what you thought.

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