Adam In QAL Concert Review Quotes
Lambert, filling the biggest shoes in showbiz, hits all the notes with his powerful voice. Albeit not the voice we’re all so used to.
“I need to address something,” he says.
“I’m not Freddie Mercury. Freddie Mercury was a rock god.
“I’m a fan, like all of you.”
Then, he grins.
“Only a little more dry.”
OK, bud. For now at least.
Of all the things one could say about Lambert, who’d have thought that the “master of understatement” would be one of them? After all, there is nothing understated about Adam Lambert.
True, he’s not Freddie Mercury. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see such a front-man again.
To his credit, Lambert doesn’t try to be Freddie Mercury. If he did, we’d be watching the world’s most expensive Queen tribute band.
But he brings the showmanship, the charisma and, dare I say it, the flamboyancy to the role that a band like Queen demands.
Put simply, Adam Lambert is not out of place on this stage. And he seems genuinely humbled to be sharing the stage with May and Taylor.
Another One Bites The Dust brings an element of twisted disco to proceedings, Lambert seeming to grow in confidence as the set progresses, snarling the lyrics of hedonism anthem I Want It All as if it were his birth-right to be here upon this stage, tonight, playing these songs.
Tie Your Mother Down and Radio Ga Ga both sound wonderful – coming as they do from opposite ends of the Queen spectrum – and as they end on the eternal Bohemian Rhapsody, Lambert finally comes into his own, owning that most inimitable of performances and delivering a rendition good enough to send shivers down the spine, the whole stadium going full Wayne’s World as they get to the breakdown, heads banging away everywhere in wonderful unison.
This is May and drummer Roger Taylor's third visit with the highly capable Adam Lambert subbing for the "irreplaceable" (his word) Freddie Mercury.
Lambert has grown more comfortable since 2014. He can sing Freddie and then some, but he’s less inclined to over-warble. The vital flamboyance is tempered by expert stagecraft and genuine gratitude to have landed pop’s ultimate part.
As always, Queen’s music and Adam’s vocals were flawless. As flawless as they had been in soundcheck earlier that afternoon.
Performing together for eight years now, as Adam reminded the crowd, they clearly work well together. Queen has found itself possibly the only person who could have taken on Freddie Mercury’s legacy, but Adam was quick to remind the crowd that there was only one Freddie Mercury and thanked everyone for letting him have this opportunity to celebrate the legend that was Freddie Mercury.
Adam Lambert is the perfect frontman for Queen. Freddie Mercury was a pop star fronting a rock band. Pop on Rock. That’s why Roger Rodgers didn’t work. It was Rock on Rock.
Adam Lambert has the ability to be himself while staying within the Freddie formula. He has all of the flamboyance Paul Rodgers couldn’t pull-off. Roger Taylor and Brian May know they have to keep it genuine. When you have spent years building a legacy, you don’t need to reinvent.
In between, however, were some notable changes. The medley of Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love into Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel was a fun illustration of Queen’s influences, with Lambert nailing Robert Plant’s high pitched wails. The Show Must Go On has previously been relegated to exit music on a backing track, but got the full live treatment here.
Perhaps key among these, and the reason this will be remembered as Queen’s greatest tour this millennium, was the much needed reimagining of Bohemian Rhapsody. Lambert was finally given the chance to shine singing Mercury’s 1975 coming out epic, and he nailed it.
In their third last show of the 2020 Australasian Rhapsody tour original Queen members, Brian May and Roger Taylor wowed a near-packed stadium, thanks in large part to the showmanship and range of former American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert who now fronts the band.
After a 15-minute delay, the band launched into Innuendo from the 1991 album of the same name with Lambert’s impressive vocals setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Lambert appeared to borrow fashion advice from George Michael at the start of the night, donned in an extravagant purple leather coat. The costumes became more bedazzled as the night went on.
May described Lambert as the band’s ‘gift from god’ earlier in the night and it is easy to see why. While he is no replacement for Mercury (which he admitted to freely), his charisma and vocals are just as engaging and he does the songs justice as few others could.
In just the two years since Queen + Adam Lambert’s last journey Down Under, a lot has changed for the iconic UK rock outfit and their formidable new vocalist; mainly the release of 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which saw the band shift from arenas to epic stadiums for their 2020 return.
It was evident that Lambert's presence in the band wasn't to replace the irreplaceable Freddie Mercury, but rather help Queen celebrate his legacy and the band’s incredible music. The frontman pulled focus only when necessary, like in the soaring final chorus of Somebody To Love, where his flawless vocals were on display, or in songs such as Killer Queen or Bicycle Race where a more theatrical flaw was needed to carry the vocal melodies home.
May welcomed their "own gift from God, Adam Lambert", back to stage to kick things up a notch with Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which saw the pair, joined by Taylor, rocking out at the end of the runway before a drum solo led into Under Pressure.
All members got to showcase the best of their abilities in Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, Lambert reaching soaring new heights as the band created a wall of noise behind him.
Its been widely reported over the last eight years how fortunate both Queen’s remaining members Roger Taylor & Brian May feel about the inclusion of Adam Lambert as their vocalist, whilst Lambert has also made it known that it is the most fulfilling artistic role of his life. He readily admits to feeling a connection to Freddie’s spirit at every show.
Hammer To Fall recreated the 80’s and that Live Aid performance once more, and at this point the show soars to that next level, with everyone in the crowd singing along to these familiar tracks. Adam Lambert makes Killer Queen his own – vocally this man has the late Mercury covered, but his own spin is ever present.
Queen are a class act, Adam Lambert gave us a passionate performance, undeniably inspired by Freddie, but still as authentic as one could be in this unique situation. Also undeniable: this was an unmissable, phenomenal show that bought joy, laughter and tears to Perth on a warm summer night. Perfect.
The Rhapsody Tour - Australia 2020
The Rhapsody Tour - New Zealand 2020
Topping the bill we see Adam Lambert out front, as he’s been doing for years now, supported by May and Taylor and another long-term collaborator, the exceptionally talented Spike Edney on keyboards, plus Neil Fairclough on bass, with the ridiculously talented Tyler Warren on percussion. When it comes to singers, to be honest I was a little concerned that anyone could actually pull it off. This is Freddie Mercury, after all! Lambert acknowledges this early into the set. “Let’s be clear and address the huge Pink Elephant in the room. I’m not replacing Freddie. I’m here like you, to celebrate him, can we do that?”
Lambert is totally comfortable in his skin as the new ‘front man’. It’s no mean feat being a replacement to one of the most revered rock singers of all time but it soon becomes obvious that Lambert can not only shine as brightly but also own every song as if he wrote them himself. For me, watching Lambert’s performance is like being at a great Broadway Musical. Every actor and singer will give the classics their own twist but it’s how they sell it that matters. And there was no doubt tonight. Lambert took this one all the way to the bank!
Give Lambert his due, while his voice is never as strong or unique as Freddie Mercury's - in fact that vibrato of his turns is all a little High School Musical a couple of times - his stage persona is just as large and flamboyant.
The fact he owns his un-Freddie-ness from the get go, addressing "the pink elephant in the room" just a couple of songs in, makes it easy to just... let that go and enjoy the show for what it is: the rock equivalent of a hearty, heart-warming, nostalgic sing-along, on a massive, massive, gilt and spangle covered scale.
It’s always a bit of a sight as you first crest over the top of the stairs at Mt Smart Stadium. My last Queen concert experience was in 2018, and that show was admittedly incredible. Initially dubious of Adam Lambert then, I walked away singing his praises, converted.
Enter Adam Lambert, looking slick in a black tailored suit. Fluttering his eyelashes and wiggling his hips, the audience is lapping it up. A few songs in, he addresses that, no, he is not Freddie Mercury, and proceeds to profess his love for the fallen front man. No matter your thoughts, my feeling is Lambert isn’t trying to copy Freddie’s mannerisms; rather, he was born to carry on the band’s legacy and do something new. Lambert has an incredible vocal range, and over the night he changes his suit another three times, looking utterly spectacular with each new look.
He’s a lucky man, is Adam Lambert. A runner-up in a telly talent show, he’s now fronting one of the biggest stadium shows in the world. And that quite astonishing climb is, well, somewhat deserved, and last night’s Queen + Adam Lambert show at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland showed what he’s capable of.
Lambert does, to be fair, make it quite clear that he’s not Freddie Mercury. And he’s right. He really, really isn’t. He’s an amazing singer; of this there is little doubt. While Paul Rodgers, one of Lambert’s predecessors in the “Queen +” billing (of which more shortly), had the rough power, and George Michael, another tantalising but even shorter-lived collaboration, knew how to sing the songs that Rodgers was a little too muscular for, Lambert’s gift is a range—in character, not just in pitch—that matches Queen’s famously, gloriously catholic catalogue of unforgettable songs.
But here’s the thing. Lambert is a fantastic singer; May and Taylor wouldn’t have shoulder-tapped him to front Queen otherwise. What he’s not, sadly, is as charismatic a frontman as Mercury. That would be a tough ask, mind; Mercury was one of rock’s great showman (if you don’t believe me, watch Queen make Live Aid their very own, then we’ll talk), but Lambert, on the other hand, very definitely isn’t. His solo shows were weak; while he can sing, he lacks the ability to engage with an audience as effortlessly as Mercury or, indeed, May, who spoke to the crowd significantly more than Lambert. And Lambert is oddly inert on stage; there’s the occasional boogie, the odd skip, but largely it’s shapes being thrown, knowing looks, but Lambert’s voice is what drives his performance, little else.
So it’s an odd show, and this is reflected in the billing. They’re not simply “Queen;” the show is billed as “Queen + Adam Lambert.” On the one hand, Lambert’s name is front and centre, and it must surely help to attract a segment of the audience who might not otherwise want to listen to pensioner music. But it also serves to other him; there were two different acts sharing the stage at Mount Smart Stadium last night, and while for the most part they gelled well together, there are moments when Lambert is reminded that he’s filling dead man’s shoes. It’s inescapable, of course, that Bohemian Rhapsody is Mercury’s song, but Mercury is sill a presence, from sharing the intro to BoRap to, still, goading his audience, on video from the grave, with his “Ay-oh” call-and-response, in other parts of the show. But Mercury is frozen in aspic, forever the young man who was taken from us far too early. And for all it’s easy to snipe at Adam Lambert for not being Mercury, he’s onto a hiding to nothing—try to be Mercury and he’ll fail, and be pilloried in the process for even trying, or try to be his own man and be similarly slated for, well, not being Freddie enough. So what he does is bring his own energy, his own style, to Queen’s music. He’s got the range, as we’ve said, and he embraces the camp absurdity of nonsenses is like Bicycle Race with the same ease he brings to joyously classic numbers like Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
And that, right there, is what made, for all the criticisms and quibbles and caveats that are inescapable, last night’s show as compelling as it was. It’s all about the songs, and few bands in the world, few bands ever, have produced wonderful, marvellous songs of such remarkable creativity and breathtaking scope. And while John Deacon has stepped back completely from Queen activities, his basslines on classics like Another One Bites The Dust picked up by manc Neil Fairclough, May and Taylor are the custodians of more of the great songs of rock history than any two musicians should have any right to, and they’ve found, in Lambert, someone who can re-vitalise them and make them live again.
Yes, Adam Lambert is a lucky man. He’s also a very brave one. But his stepping into Mercury’s shoes means that we get to sing We Are The Champions again, stomp-stomp-clap along to We Will Rock You until Brian May rips into his signature guitar break, we get to fail miserably, but enjoy ourselves ridiculously in the process, at the impossibly complex opera bit of Bohemian Rhapsody, one more time. God save the Queen.
While it’s an easy tactic to pre-emptively avoid criticism, it also felt entirely true; Lambert has an astounding voice, but it’s not the voice of Freddie Mercury. The two songs that followed, Don’t Stop Me Now and Somebody to Love, however, showed that Lambert is more than capable of captivating a stadium with his combination of pageantry performance and raw vocal strength. This escalated to majestic proportions when, a few songs later, he appeared on-stage to sing Bicycle Race while sitting on a sparkling Harley-Davidson, before strutting the stage during Fat Bottomed Girls a few minutes later.
May's signature riffs were as thrilling as ever, Roger Taylor has lost none of his power or touch and Lambert was doing a remarkable job of respecting Mercury's legacy while also showing his own mastery of Queen's extensive back catalogue.
Mercury could never be replaced, with his unique stage presence and legendary vocal range, and Lambert made it clear early on he wasn't trying to.
"Let's address the pink elephant in the stadium," said Lambert, after a stirring rendition of Killer Queen. "I'm a fan just like you. There will only be one Freddie Mercury...the rock god."
He asked the crowd to "give him a chance", before launching into Don't Stop Me Now, one of the highlights as they expertly built to a crescendo.
Lambert showed his penchant for audience interaction during Somebody to Love, while the sequence of Bicycle Race/Fat Bottomed Girls, with the singer emerging from underneath the stage on a white Harley, was brilliant.
Of course the band on stage is actually called "Queen + Adam Lambert", because the late, great Freddie Mercury has been replaced by the virtuosic young singing-competition contestant. (The bassist, percussionist and keyboardist are ring-ins too, with only May and drummer Roger Taylor representing the original Queen line-up – though keyboardist Spike Edney has been performing with them since 1984.)
And no question, Lambert made an exceptionally good fist of filling Freddie's shoes: all the soaring highs, growling lows and winkingly energetic stage presence you could ask for.
Accompanying the legendary Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage of course, the incomparable Adam Lambert, who after almost a decade of performing alongside his own personal heroes has more than earned his stripes. Is he trying to replicate the great Freddie Mercury, no he is not, nor has he ever attempted to. Instead, each and every night he pays homage to the man himself, celebrating both his life and his gifts right alongside not only those on stage with him, but the vast sea of faces before him; the addition of his own nuances only adding a vibrancy and colour to the music that would no doubt curl the corners of Mercury’s lips in delight.