Monday, August 18, 2014

Super Sonic 2014 Review: Queen + Adam Lambert





Though this year’s edition of the annual Super Sonic music festival was reduced in scale and size, the presence of Queen with Adam Lambert singing in place of Freddie Mercury was more than enough to draw over 20,000 local fans.

Brian May and Roger Taylor of the iconic English rock band Queen staged its first-ever concert in Korea, with popular “American Idol” season eight runner-up Adam Lambert taking the mic as the band’s honorary lead vocalist.

For over two hours, the trio delivered a boatload of hits including “Stone Cold Crazy,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Somebody to Love” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

While lacking the full energy of their prime years, the two original members of Queen nonetheless led an electrifying concert featuring not only the band’s classics but also well-executed guitar solos and heartfelt vocal solos.

And as for Adam Lambert, though he is no Freddie Mercury, the “American Idol” star proved that he had more than enough flair and spectacular vocals to send thousands of fans jumping and enthusiastically singing along throughout the entire performance.

The most memorable moment of the night was undoubtedly Queen’s grand closing performance of its greatest hit “Bohemian Rhapsody,” during which a video of the late Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991, appeared on the back screen singing the well-recognized melody.

Queen and Lambert closed their first concert in Korea with an encore performance of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” with Lambert’s driven vocals soaring through the night.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Queen, Adam Lambert rock the United Center in tour kick-off





BY JEFF ELBEL 

One thing’s certain: Thursday night’s concert at United Center by Queen and Adam Lambert was the only show in Chicago to include both a physics lesson and a singer in a diamond-studded leopard skin suit. It was the perfect pairing of brainy and challenging rock music with outrageous and glamorous attitude.

Since the death of beloved Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor have tended the eternal flame of the band’s legacy. During the 2000s, the pair partnered with Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. Rodgers’ pipes were well-matched to full-tilt rockers like May’s “Tie Your Mother Down,” but perhaps lacked a measure of the flamboyant flair to fully inhabit the grand, romantic sweep of Mercury’s “Somebody to Love.”

As he struck a decadent pose atop a purple-and-gold chaise lounge during a very glam “Killer Queen,” it was clear that Lambert possessed the charisma to pay maximum tribute to Mercury’s larger-than-life persona. It helped that he had skill to match the theatricality. Rafter-raising showstoppers including “We are the Champions” and “The Show Must Go On” displayed Lambert’s pop sensibility and dizzying range while simultaneously showcasing May’s unparalleled rock soloing technique.

“We played to some of your mothers and fathers, I’m sure,” said May after crossing the catwalk with his acoustic guitar to the center of the room. Dr. May then gave a brief description of Einsteinian relativity while introducing “’39,” a tale of tragic love and time travel.

Taylor paid tribute to Mercury while singing “These are the Days of Our Lives.” The video screen flashed nostalgic images of Queen’s younger days. Next, Taylor performed a drum duet with his son. Taylor brought the house down with bombastic precision during “I Want It All.”

The players offered little evidence of opening-night jitters on their North American tour’s debut. The technical side exhibited a few minor bugs including microphone trouble during “Now I’m Here,” occasional synchronization glitches with the video, and a missed cue on the steam jets.

Although the band was somewhat loose during “Love Kills,” Lambert’s empathic delivery and soaring vocal flight were spine-tingling. The deep cut was taken from the score for Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 restoration of the film “Metropolis.” “Metropolis” footage also rolled during “Radio Ga Ga,” while the crowd mimicked the unified hand-clap motions of the MTV-era video.

The camaraderie and mutual love between Queen and Lambert was evident. May and Lambert frequently rubbed shoulders and struck heroic poses together. Taylor and Lambert high-fived after assuming the roles of David Bowie and Mercury for “Under Pressure.”

“You know, love makes me feel a little cray-cray, too,” said Lambert as the band launched “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Lambert channeled Mercury and Elvis Presley in equal measure.

By the time the band finally reached the show’s centerpiece with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” anticipation had built to fever pitch. The crowd roared as Mercury’s image sang the second verse via projection screen. Lambert threw May briefly off balance by bowing down to him, causing May to laugh and miss his last solo entrance. Rather than derail the moment, it seemed endearing and joyful.

The performance wasn’t flawless, but the spirit was right for Queen. It was both openly human and majestic.

Queen’s next move will be to release “Queen Forever” later this year, featuring outtakes from previous Freddie Mercury studio sessions. It is unknown whether May and Taylor will record with Lambert, as they did with Rodgers for 2008’s “The Cosmos Rocks.” The show at United Center suggested that it could be a powerful collaboration.




SET LIST:

Now I’m Here
Stone Cold Crazy
Another One Bites the Dust
Fat Bottomed Girls
In the Lap of the Gods
Seven Seas of Rhye
Killer Queen
Somebody to Love
I Want it All
Love of My Life
’39
These are the Days of Our Lives
Drum duet (Roger Taylor and son)
Under Pressure
Love Kills
Who Wants to Live Forever
Guitar solo (Brian May)
Tie Your Mother Down
Radio Ga Ga
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
The Show Must Go On
Bohemian Rhapsody
Encore:
We Will Rock You
We are the Champions