By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
When I heard Queen + Adam Lambert are touring again, I knew I have to see them again. The last tour had two yokals next to me chatting it up for a good half of the show and they ruined my concert experience. Thank Freddie Mercury for the fact Vancouver, BC is a regular stop and giving me a chance to see the show proper. His legacy is never forgotten as it’s a reminder during parts of the performance, since without him there’d be none of the fabulous music we’d hear (as covers, tributes or otherwise).
Brian May misses his dear friend and he acknowledged this fact. “Love of My Life” played with a video interlude of Freddie like it was an augmented reality segment. The timing is perfect as we see him on the screens, and May is looking at the space on cue as though his spirit is there. I think he was. Although I’m not as “sensitive” enough to feeling out spiritual energies, the ambiance was right and he must have been smiling from Heaven.
I find it strange to hear from some people say that Adam Lambert is out to imitate the former lead singer. I say, “No. He makes the songs from the band’s catalogue of hits his own, and he acknowledges to audiences he’s not there to outdo.”
He adds his own nuances to the tunes, and he does a spectacular job at it.
Lambert talked about how this year marked the 40th anniversary of Queen’s album, “News of the World” and it was fantastic to see Frank the Robot make a rare stage appearance! A real model of the head and a video animating the hands interacted with performers. I particularly enjoyed how the trick of practical effects and visual made Brian May float in space when he played his extensive guitar solo leading into “Last Horizon.”
To hear the entire album performed instead of the set list would be cool and this show came close. Lambert sang to one of his favourite hits and the light show for “Spread Your Wings” was like experiencing a gospel moment. “Radio Ga Ga” always gets me giddy with delight, intermingling moments from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis on the big 4K video screens and I could hear the entire arena singing along.
An interesting part of the night had May showing to audiences a stereoscopic camera mounted on a selfie stick. He’s no doubt filming bits from all the stops this show is hitting and I’ll be very excited to see where the final product will emerge. I imagine it will become available on VRTGO, Universal Music Group’s proprietary VR platform, so it can be viewed on various platforms.
Much of the night had a mix of what I recall from the last show with a few new tracks intermingled. The opening numbers are different. The show began with “We Will Rock You” and “Hammer to Fall.” I always wanted to hear to the latter live and got my wish! I’m was not disappointed and I could hear Freddie in my head closing off the song with “Give it to me one more time!”
Yes, I’m hooked. Despite never seeing the original lineup perform live because my parents would not take me (or let me go), I’m glad to have the chance now. Queen’s music is timeless, and the enthusiasm of this new lineup shows that neither Freddie’s legacy will be forgotten nor will fans forget. It’s a chance for everyone to rock-and-roll all night, and I wish I could party it up every day!