Thirty years is a long time between fandangos.
Adam Lambert worships at the Church of May (photo: mlk.com)
The last time I saw Queen was 1985 in Sydney on the Australian leg of The Works tour.
I had followed their journey since my first purchase of a single — Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975, which still occupies the rockstar position in my record collection.
1985 seems like a lifetime ago, I was a fresh-faced twenty-year-old, but I remember the concert as though it was yesterday. “Spectacular” is merely one adjective.
Queen + Adam Lambert in Munich last Monday night was always going to be a different experience — Freddie Mercury’s absence, and John Deacon’s retirement from the band.
I was no stranger to Adam Lambert, having followed his 2009 American Idol journey, singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the audition, culminating in a performance with Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Lambert is no Freddie Mercury impersonator. A talented performer in his own right, possessing a rather insane vocal range and wonderful showmanship, he brought another dimension to the night.
It wasn’t Queen Karaoke — Lambert’s unique phrasing added another layer to the songs ingrained in music history. He brought a sense of playfulness — performing Killer Queen reclining on a chaise lounge, his powerful, arena-filling voice nailed Save Me and Who Wants to Live Forever, and he gave Queen’s time-honoured classics their due respect.
This wasn’t the Adam Lambert Show, he was the “plus” — it was all about Queen — Brian May and Roger Taylor were at the top of their game, enjoying performing to Queen fans and the new mix of “Glamberts” — deliciously indulgent solos demonstrating their extraordinary talent. The cliché “rock royalty” more than applies.
May mentioned recording in Munich — indeed, One Vision (and the music video), Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Another One Bites The Dust and Save Me among others were all recorded at Munich’s famed Musicland Studios.
Concert standouts? Hard to isolate one, but Freddie Mercury’s “duet” with Lambert on Bohemian Rhapsody had me back in 1985. Somewhat bizarrely, another of my favourite moments (or twenty two and a half minutes) was the background music playing before the band took the stage.
I always love that time — the audience is in place, the anticipation is building — everything is set. The piece of music was Queen’s atmospheric instrumental Track 13 off the Made in Heaven album.
It will be interesting to see how the fusion of Queen + Adam Lambert plays out.
Watch this space…
©Steve Williams 2015