Rhythm games are a dime a dozen, and not even Guitar Hero stands out as iconic. The game doesn’t replicate the feel of truly playing that stringed instrument. Somehow, the brand persevered before its eventual decline and reinvention in the virtual reality environment. Beat Saber is king for a reason, and since then, no other release has unseated its position.
The rock band Queen is attempting to break that and their own take, Rock Tour, a mobile game featuring a catalogue of the best hits, isn’t a game changer. Nimble fingered players can tap to “We Will Rock You” and other songs. After achieving a certain level of skill in select songs, other tunes can be unlocked, and the list of albums only go up to A Kind of Magic. Also, archival material and assorted trivia about this group become available. Most of this added media are recognizable, and can be found in print or online elsewhere. So far, I have not found anything new, and I don’t recommend this game to anyone who has been a long time Queen fan.
I’d rather wait for a new publication about the history of this band than play this game to learn about.
For the latest updates, please check local listings for when Kōhaku will air in your timezone.
Queen and Sarah Brightman will perform “Endless Rain” (composed by X Japan’s Yoshiki) on NHK’s 紅白歌合戦–the biggest TV show in Japan on New Year’s Eve! Ever since the impact of COVID-19 in February, this Japanese musician in Los Angeles and will join remotely from L.A.for this year’s performance.
Kohaku Uta Gassen is an annual music program in Japan which continues to be the most popular TV program each year for the past 70 years. With an unprecedented viewership of over 40%, it has long been viewed as the true barometer of status for domestic artists with an unrivalled influence on an artist’s profile, status, and sales in Japan.
Queen + Adam Lambert Rhapsody Tour 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.
The songs from Queen make up how the biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, flows than the life of the frontman. Quite often, musicians sing about those experiences in life considered very important to them. In this work, they are wrapped around how Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek) face reality. Is he a Great Pretender, or something else? I was amused at how this non-Queen song is slyly referenced within minutes of the film’s start. The precedent is set.
In musicals, the tunes help bookend key themes. In a movie partly directed by Bryan Singer and finished by Dexter Fletcher is in how this lead singer comes to face life in his rise to stardom. Important in this work is in how the introduction sees this lad of Indian descent, now living in Britain, deals with living on his own, “Somebody to Love,” is the first track heard. When young Bulsara does not want to become part of the family business (much less his heritage), he’s ready to move out. The early 70s was a time when the music scene exploded in many ways. Many talents we consider legends today were just getting started.
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!