QUEEN + Adam Lambert - Live Around The World 2?
The first ever QUEEN + Adam Lambert worldwide live album "Live Around The World" was released on October 2, 2020.
It covers most of the band's greatest hits, plus a few deeper cuts like Love Kills and I Was Born To Love You.
Of course, the band had already released the Live In Japan (Summer Sonic Tokyo show) on CD and Blu-Ray in 2015, but only in Japan. As it was not available worldwide, it does not count as the first QAL live album.
This page is about what is not on the album, and what would be cool to do with that missing material...
The "Live Around The World" Song Selection
In interviews, the band told the media that they worked hard to select the best performances from over 200 shows around the world. Fans who have followed all their tours will tell you though that they selected the songs based on the recording quality of the video material that ended up on the Blu-Ray disk. This is not the same thing.
Thankfully, nearly every performance of every song from any QUEEN + Adam Lambert concert is near perfection, with very few exceptions - the only one that comes to mind was Save Me from Rock In Rio in 2015 where a cable on Brian's rig got disconnected and caused a little confusion for a few seconds. So while the album's content is brilliant, it was not selected based on what was the best performance of each song, but what was available in high-quality video recording from a handful of shows that were actually filmed professionally.
Over the course of the 6 years of touring together, QUEEN + Adam Lambert filmed only a few performances for eventual DVD release - we know this because the audience was informed about being filmed and tweeted about it, and because a representative of Eagle Rock Entertainment told the press in an interview. Several special appearances were also recorded professionally by TV stations or the organizers of the event.
In the Queen Podcast review of the live album, Simon Lupton, the man who brought us the "The Show Must Go On" documentary currently available on Netflix, revealed that all 11 cameras feeding the giant background screens on stage are being recorded on every show, but they all produce a close-up image and lack the wide shots of the audience and the stage. And of course the audio of every show is being recorded, too. The QAL team released only a few individual song performances recorded by the close up cameras on the QUEEN Official YouTube channel - Stone Cold Crazy from Winnipeg in 2014, and Fat Bottomed Girls from Dallas, TX in 2019. The latter was included on the live album. Both videos have disappeared from the official YouTube channel.
Here is a list of the concerts and special appearances we know were filmed professionally over the years:
- 2011 - MTV European Music Awards in Belfast - the first public appearance of QAL.
- 2012 - Kyiv anti-AIDS concert as part of the Soccer World Cup celebrations was broadcast on Ukrainian TV.
- 2013 - iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas - the first public appearance of QAL in the USA.
- 2014 - iHeartRadio Theater pre-tour promo concert in Los Angeles - the Love Kills performance from the Live Around The World album was taken from this show.
- 2014 - Stone Cold Crazy - the performance from Winnipeg, MB, Canada was originally published on the QUEEN Official channel. It is still available on YouTube, but in a fan account.
- 2014 - Summer Sonic Music Festival in Tokyo - it provided Now I'm Here, Another One Bites The Dust, and I Was Bordn To Love You to the live album.
- 2014 - Sydney, Australia - one of the two shows was filmed by Eagle Rock Entertainment for a potential DVD release, but remained unused because the audience was too quiet for Brian and Roger's taste.
- 2014 - X-Factor UK - a short performance of Somebody To Love before the 2015 UK tour.
- 2014 - Helene Fischer Show on German TV, including a very good performance of I Want It All.
- 2014/2015 - BBC New Years Eve concert "QUEEN + Adam Lambert Rock Big Ben Live" was broadcast live on TV, but no footage from it was ever used for other purposes. It contained mainly the hits, so it is of lesser interest when looking for deeper cuts.
- 2015 - Sheffield - a tour concert was filmed by Eagle Rock Entertainment for potential DVD release, but remained unused because the audience was too noisy for Adam's taste.
- 2015 - Rock In Rio in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil was filmed professionally and broadcast online. No content was used on the live album.
- 2016 - Rok In Rio Lisbon was filmed professionally and broadcast online. Don't Stop Me Now and I Want To Break Free on the live album came from this show.
- 2016 - Barcelona - a tour concert was captured with 3D/360 degrees camera rig for a VR experience ("VR The Champions"). This footage is unusable for Blu-Ray video production though.
- 2016 - Isle Of Wight - The festival performance was filmed and partially broadcast, with several songs ending up on the QUEEN Official YouTube channel. Later they were removed and put on the live album - Sombody To Love and Who Wants To Live Forever (arguably the best performance of the latter song from all 200+ concerts)
- 2018 - O2 Arena - One of the London concerts was filmed for potential DVD release. Tear It Up and The Show Must Go On on the live album were taken from this recording session.
- 2019 - Oscars opening - the We Will Rock You performance was used in "The Show Must Go On" documentary.
- 2019 - Global Citizen concert in NY Central Park - it provided the Under Pressure performance on the live album.
- 2020 - Firefight Australia - the complete performance of the historic 1985 Live Aid set was filmed and used on the live album.
It is possible that the documentary film team touring with the band has filmed more footage, but if the track list of the "Live Around The World" album is any indication, the best live performances were captured at the above venues.
How About A Second "Live Around The World" Album?
The band QUEEN will celebrate its 50 years anniversary in 2021. At the same time, the combo QUEEN + Adam Lambert will celebrate 10 years since their first appearance at the MTV European Music Awards.
Wouldn't it be cool to have a Part 2 of the "Live Around The World" album with some deeper cuts and rarities that were captured at the shows listed above? Especially if the planned return to the stage in 2021 is once again prevented by the COVID pandemic, it would be a nice second act of "giving people what they want"...
Below we will attempt to imagine what the track list of such an album could look like.
The "Live Around The World" album includes two opening tracks - Tear It Up from the 3rd tour, and Now I'm Here from the 1st tour, which was also back as the first song of the 4th tour.
- The Hero - this was the opening track of the 2nd tour which started at Rock In Rio in Lisbon in 2016. It was used in the first two and last three shows of the European leg of the tour. It is of course very short (here is an audience recording of the performance from Barcelona), but this is true of the original, too.
- One Vision - this became the opening track of the 2nd tour after The Hero disappeared from the setlist. We have already seen portions of the Isle Of Wight 2016 performance in the "The Show Must Go On" documentary, including the dramatic visor reveal of sunglasses underneath.
There are a few popular QUEEN songs that did not make it on the live album for one reason or another - in many cases quite possibly just because there was no room left, and the band has so many hits!
Keep Yourself Alive - It was the second track of the limited European tour in 2012. A professional recording exists from the Kyiv concert, which was the first ever live performance of the song by QAL. The song made a comeback to the setlist in the Rhapsody Tour in 2019, but from history point of view the first performance might be more noteworthy.
- Play The Game - The song appeared on the setlist at Rock In Rio in Lisbon on May 20, 2016, which means the first ever performance was captured by TV cameras. However, it improved over the course of the tour, so later versions, for example from Isle Of Wight 2016, would be better. Here is an audience view of the Barcelona 2016 show. That version of the song was shorter and ended before Brian's solo. The song returned to the setlist in its full version of the 2018 European Tour, which means a professional recording from O2 Arena in London must exist - here is an audience recording of that show.
- Killer Queen - This song as been a staple of all tours, so there must be several good versions of it, most notably from the Summer Sonic Tokyo in 2014. It has always included a funny props setup including a chaise longue and champaigne bottle spray, a throne and a chalice, Adam rising up sitting on a giant robot's head, or sitting on a grand piano. However, it has always been a short version.
- Seven Seas Of Rhye - A short version of the song was part of the first QAL tours. It disappeared in the 2017/2018 tour, but returned in 2019. For a short time during the Middle East / Asia tour of 2016 it became the opening number and was performed in full (here is an audience view from the Singapore Grand Prix show). Unfortuntely, there is no known professional recording of a concert from this leg of the tour, but maybe the QAL crew recorded and preserved the video screens footage (which is what the audence member was filming most of the time in the above link).
- Bicycle Race - The song appeared in the Third (News Of The World) Tour in 2017 and was also part of the Las Vegas Crown Jewels residency in 2018. While the visuals were funnier (Adam finding a pink tricycle and actually riding it across the stage), only the second verse was performed. In the 4th (Rhapsody) Tour of 2019, the song was performed in a longer version, but the stage prop changed to a Harley Davidson. The O2 London show from 2018 which was filmed in its entirety must contain the tricycle version - here is an audence view from that concert.
- I Want It All - The song as been performed on nearly every show since 2014. Professional recordings exist from the Summer Sonic Tokyo festival, from the Helene Fisher Show promo for the European leg of the First QAL Tour in 2014, and likely from the Sheffield 2015 concert. But the later shows between 2016 and 2020 included increasingly finer guitar and vocal improvisations by Brian and Adam, which would be even better to include.
- Tie Your Mother Down - One of Brian's favorite tracks, it was initially performed by Brian on vocals during the 6 shows in 2012. Several professional recordings with Adam on vocals exist, but Summer Sonic Tokyo in 2014 is not one of them - the song was not performed there. It was however recorded professionally in 2015 in Sheffield - here is an audience recording from that show.
- Bohemian Rhapsody - A short version of the song is already featured on the first live album, but including the complete performance would be logical, because no QUEEN album or concert would be complete without it. QAL have performed the song at every official concert, and over the years the performence changed from a version where Freddie Mercury sings the second verse and the closing verse to one where Adam sings all verses. Adam Lambert fans might prefer the second version, but the original performance which bookended the "The Show Must Go On" documentary demonstrates in the closing lines how nicely the two vocalists' voices blend together... Nothing Really Matters To Me. As an alternative, here is an audience view from the Sheffield 2015 concert.
- Stone Cold Crazy - A hard rock song famously covered by Metallica, it was the second track in the 2014/2015 tour. Several official videos exist - one was recorded in Winnipeg, MB in 2014 and while now removed from the QUEEN Official channel is still available via a fan YouTube account, another one is from the Summer Sonic Tokyo 2014 Blu-Ray and is more polished since it was recorded later. There is also the Rock In Rio 2015 performance, and likely a version from the Sheffield 2015 show - here an the audience view.
- In the Lap Of The Gods... Revisited - The song was originally part of the 2014/2015 tour. It re-appeared on the setlist in 2019. The Summer Sonic Tokyo 2014 version is quite representative of the song, but there would be more professional recordings from Sydney 2014 and Sheffield 2015 we have not seen, and from Rock In Rio 2015 which we have seen.
- Dragon Attack - QUEEN +Adam Lambert started performing the song as early as Kyiv in 2012. The London 2012 performances are now famous for the "Elmo" jacket that Adam Lambert wore, but there are only audinece videos of those concerts. In 2013, QAL performed the song at the I Heart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas - that performance would be perfect for inclusion in a live album. The song re-appeared on the setlist in 2019, so more professional video footage might exist.
- Machines (Or 'Back To Humans') - The song first showed up in Vancouver on July 10, 2019 and stayed on the setlist for only 18 shows. It is unclear if a professional video recording could be sourced, but there is a chance the QAL team or the documentary film crew have footage. Here is an audience recording from Phoenix, AZ.
- Save Me - This song was performed only 27 times between January 13, 2015 (the start of the European leg of the tour in New Castle, England) and September 17, 2015 (Rock In Rio, Rio De Janeiro), but each time it was a delight for the audience. Unfortunately, the previously mentioned technical issue during the RIR performance coincided with its disapparance from the setlist. Thus the official RIR broadcast is not usable, leaving only the Sheffield 2015 version. Looking at an audience video from that show, it is fine, but not the best performance of the song.
- Get Down Make Love - One of the hottest performances on the 2017 tour, this song was performed 62 times in North America, Europe, and in Australia in 2018. A professional version should have been captured at the O2 Arena in London in 2018. Here is an audience view from the Birmingham show, a fan favorite. And here is day one at the O2.
- It's Late - There were only 11 performances on the 2017 tour celebrating the anniversary of the "News Of The World" album before the song disappeared from the setlist. It is unclear whether any professional video recording exists. Here is an audience recording from the Seattle concert.
- Spread Your Wings - Even more rare than It's Late, this song was on the setlist for just 8 performances in 2017. It is unclear whether any professional video recording exists beyond the stage screens footage. Here is an audience view from Phoenix, AZ.
Vocals By Roger And Brian
- A Kind Of Magic - The song was performed in about 1/3rd of all QAL shows from 2014 to 2020, with Roger Taylor on vocals. It was on both the Sydney 2014 and Sheffield 2015 setlists, so professional video footage must exist.
- These Are The Days Of Our Lives - The song was performed by Roger Taylor 66 times between 2012 and 2016. It was on the Sheffield setlist.
- I'm In Love With My Car - Introduced in the North American 2017 tour and continuing though 2018, 2019 and 2020, this song must have been captured at the O2 London show that also gave us The Show Must Go On on the live album.
- '39 - A staple of the early 2012, 2014 and 2015 shows, the song disappeared from the setlist in 2016 and resurfaced in 2019. It had over 100 performances with Brian May on vocals. Video footage from Kyiv 2012, Sydney 2014, and Sheffield 2015 would be available.
- Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Cover) - The song appeared on the setlist in Las Vegas Crown Jewels residency in 2018. It is unknown if any professional video recording exists, but since the crew of the "The Show Must Go On" documentary was filming in Vegas as evidenced by the final product, there is a chance. It resurfaced in the Australian leg of the tour in 2020.
- Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin) - See the Full Circle Moment here - the song showed up on the setlist on February 10, 2020 in New Zealand. It is unclear if any professional recordings exist of these recent performances.
- Ghost Town (Adam Lambert Cover) - the Rock In Rio 2015 performance is the best of all 6 attempts. If any Adam Lambert song would make it on a QAL album, this one should be it.
- Whataya Want From Me (Adam Lambert Cover) - QAL covered the song 22 times in 2017 in Europe where it was a bigger hit than in the USA.
- Lucy (Adam Lambert Cover) - given that Brian May played guitar on the original record, it is the closest to a QAL studio album collaboration released so far. With only 14 performances in Europe in 2018, it is unclear if a professional video recording exists.
- Two Fux (Adam Lambert Cover) - the song appeared on the 2017 setlist for 26 shows. Some audience members wondered if it was a deep cut. However, it is a long shot.
Would Anyone Buy That?
If you look at the listening statistics from Spotify, the top three tracks from the "Live Around The World" album are (as of end of October 2020):
- The Show Must Go On - released as the first promo track from the album, thus collecting streams for the longest time. The song was never performed live by QUEEN with Freddie Mercury, as it was written and recorded mere days before his untimely death.
- Love Kills - a Freddie Mercury song recorded with Giorgio Moroder as a disco track for the re-release of the movie "Metropolis", later turned into a QUEEN track in a ballad form.
- I Was Born To Love You - released as the second promo track from the album, and another Freddie Mercury solo rarity only performed by QAL in Japan.
According to this information, interest for rare QUEEN recordings seems to be higher than for the Greatest Hits! The worldwide QUEEN fan community is huge, and would likely welcome deep cuts like Dragon Attack or Machines.
Of course, including popular tracks like Bohemian Rhapsody, I Want It All, Tie Your Mother Down, and One Vision would make a second live album interesting for the general public, too.