Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
July 10th, 2019
The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody did more than reignite interest in the music of Queen. Not only was it a cursory glance at the life and times of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer but also it gave a bit of insight to how a few of their best known tracks were composed. Some fans complained about it not being the story they wanted. This movie took a very long time to get developed and I’m certain many arguments between producers and actors took place over what to focus on; ultimately the story had to end on a high note than be a reminder of a life cut short.
Anyone who has followed this band knows Roger Taylor and Brian May kept busy with many other projects. They weren’t ready to say if their band is fully retired or not. They tried a comeback with Paul Rogers but I felt that team-up did not work. Their collaboration with Adam Lambert was fortuitous; he has the vocal range and the flamboyance to remind us of Freddie but yet be his own unique presence. Lambert put his own stamp to Queen’s tunes and reminds us in every tour that he’s not out to recreate. He is honoured to be part of this lineup and says it every performance, otherwise the detractors will jump on him.
Their best tour of the five has to be 2017-18 one where it also celebrated the 40 year milestone of the News of the World album. My review can be read here. To see Frank, the Robot come to life was a marvel of model-building, trick video presentation and crane work.
A new kind of magic was performed for this line-up’s Summer 2019 Rhapsody Tour which started on July 10th, in Vancouver, BC. The creative team updated the show with a digitally created vintage looking stage reminiscent of The Globe Theatre. Fans who bought the ultimate VIP package got an “opera box” to sit in as the concert started.
Of the rarely performed list of songs, my elation to hear “Innuendo” was cut short as only the intro began the show. Performed in its entirety are “Machines (Or ‘Back to Humans’)” and “Doing All Right.”
Every tour features Brian May flying to the stars with his extended solo after “I Want To Break Free.” During the last tour, this guitar virtuoso rode a robot’s hand as he ascended to the stars. This time, he’s riding an asteroid. From my vantage point, it had depth. A 3D effect was visible from my perspective and I can only imagine how future shows can look with holograms like when Madonna performed with Gorillaz to bring Freddie back from the dead whenever “Love of My Life” gets played. Instead of timing his appearances on the big screen, can you imagine him on stage? It can be done, but it’ll require advanced holography and CGI realize him. I’m sure purists do not want this but I’m open to the idea.
“Who Wants to Live Forever” is a favourite song of mine I always cry to. It’s tough to get right without Freddie’s falsetto. Lambert puts in a lot of personal touches to the song, though it’s tough to beat the original. From the later albums, I hope to one day hear “Breakthrough” and “Headlong” performed live.
I’ll continue going to these shows because Queen’s music is timeless. This latest tour is a rhapsody of epic proportions. People cheered and people cried. Freddie Mercury’s spirit will never be forgotten because footage of him will always be used in one form or another. The music created by him, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon was made in heaven and I can only imagine a harpsichord version of “Who Wants to Live Forever.” To have Lambert on board shows that they can elevate their music to a different level. For a change of pace, maybe in the next tour we’ll have a symphony involved!