Queen + Adam Lambert | Helsinki, Finland
03 Jun 2016 | Kaisaniemi Park
More than 25,000 people attended this sold out performance.
There are bands whose visit to Finland you seem to have to wait for an unreasonable time. Then there are bands that seem to run here all the time. Queen, who performed at Kaisaniemi park on June 3, 2016, doesn’t exactly belong to either of these categories but to the one of bands who no-one breathing on their own never even expected to see. Its last gig in Finland was, after all, only just a while ago on November 25, 1974 at Kulttuuritalo. This time there were a bit more people in the audience since the sold-out event at Kaisaniemi park was packed full with 25.000 people.
The 42 year’s space between the gigs might, of course, be a cause for minor increase in the level of expectations. Luckily, in accordance with the negative style of our nationality, which is even encouraged by our current government, there are people trying to prevent these expectations from raising sky-high saying that this wasn’t even a “real” Queen’s gig. After all, from the original line-up John Deacon has retired and, from obvious reasons, the front-man Freddie Mercury has been a pretty quiet guy since 1991. Since 2011, the mic stand at Queen’s stage has been manned by pop singer Adam Lambert, who rose to fame from American Idol, so some people have decided to call this line-up a “Queen tribute”. However, there are two original members left, though. Which is actually two more than for example in Stratovarius (a Finnish band), which no-one calls a tribute. Oh well, now that we’ve settled that score, let’s get deeper into the actual offering of the concert which was fabulous in every way.
After the enormous Queen eagle curtain fell down to the photo pit, where photographers were not allowed, the concert started with One Vision and the people at the festival, who had been waiting the whole day (and who’d been bored to almost half-dead by Suzanne Vega) could officially start partying. Sound okay – check. Stage, adequate but not excessive; behind the band was a large oval video screen, which showed both effects and collage from the happenings on stage as well as video clips. As if to emphasize the name of the opening song, Lambert sang with a cyclops looking visor.
From the first sounds it was clear that the pop singer, who’s lately become more familiar rather on disco and other surprising environments, had no problems either with his energy level or his singing voice. As huge stars as Brian May and Roger Taylor are, in less than 15 minutes it was clear that the star of Queen’s show today is the front-man Lambert. For me, the first songs went by when I was mostly wondering who’s actually driving the show, but when Don’t Stop Me Now was playing with its intense drive, it was obvious. Even Freddie Mercury himself would have been proud of the way Lambert was performing – especially when for example Radio GaGa is a song to which the current vocalist’s voice is more fitting than Freddie’s.
However, veterans May and Taylor were not left far behind the singing skills of their vocalist, and Queen, famous for its stunningly gorgeous singing harmonies, sounded just as good as only the bravest ones dared to hope. Touching and delicate Love of My Life sung by maestro Brian May, and These Are The Days Of Our Lives, beautifully interpreted by drummer Roger Taylor and seasoned by nostalgic video clips shown on the screen, proved that sometimes to many so merciless time has managed to gnaw only surprisingly little at the voices of these seniors. And you can’t complain about the playing of these old guys, either, even though May might not be quite the infallible guitar hero he used to be on his earlier days. You could see such joy of playing in all the gestures and expressions of these seniors that it is way too rarely visible in their contemporaries’ bands.
In his speech Lambert, who must have changed costumes probably five or six times during the gig, thanked for the opportunity to get to perform Queen’s music alongside with the legends, but the British veterans must have known what they were doing when they hired Adam, that’s for sure. Lambert’s singing voice, ability to entertain, and inborn charisma almost fill even Mercury’s shoes (those saying something else are either blinded by their admiration or they attended the 1974 gig and are apparently senile), and an addition to the benefits of this synergy is the rather big fan army of the guy who has sold 2.5 million albums and five million singles. His outlooks must not be a disadvantage, either; the guy looks like a 21st century version of young Elvis, but he’s way bolder, and yes – in exactly that gay way of Radio Rock’s erotic stories. Just gaudy enough to dress in feathers or wear a crown, and with enough healthy self-irony to respect the legacy of his predecessor in a perfect way. And by predecessor I don’t mean Paul Rodgers, who used to croak as the band’s front-man during 2004 – 2009.
Thus, in the beginning of Crazy Little Thing Called Love an intentional “Southern drewl” appeared in Lambert’s speech and the man channeled his internal Elvis Aaron Presley with the rockabilly hick-ups and flexible pelvis in a way which almost seemed to leave even the original Queen members behind, when measured by an entertainment meter. The audience also had pretty damn fun when Lambert was swearing and showing the sign of our Kennel club to the audience.
Towards the end of the gig, as the night was getting darker, I also had to adjust my opinion regarding the stage which I originally had thought to be pretty modest. During Brian May’s guitar solo, which he played standing on a raising platform at a couple of meter’s height practically in the center of the back projection, we first got to see on the screen a sky full of stars, then the milky way and finally a burning sun, and during the last songs such a zigzag of lasers was crossing the darkening sky of Kaisaniemi that you’d better watch out. The development of drama during the gig had been built with a professionalism honed with experience, we heard songs from the band’s whole career, and the biggest guns, with a couple of exceptions which I’ll soon mention, had been left to the end of the set.
No matter how much of the wonderfully versatile musical contributions of Queen we got to hear during the 105-minute show, many people were surely wondering why we didn’t hear The Show Must Go On. Apparently that hasn’t been played during this whole tour, but compared to the set at the previous gig, the band also left out Who Wants To Live Forever in Helsinki, which annoyed at least this listener a lot. For sure, it would’ve been nicer to hear that big song which is loved by millions of people than to listen to a drum battle between the drummer Taylor and his son, which was totally unnecessary but luckily short. Drum solos are a waste of time except when it comes to Neil Perth from Rush. In fact, I’d rather have heard Lambert sing Who Wants To Live Forever than watch a collage-like performance of Bohemian Rhapsody, which was utilizing an aged music video and Mercury’s voice with more than enough video clips. I’m not trying to say that Freddie Mercury wasn’t a star, hero and an icon, but I still wouldn’t pay 80 euros for the chance to watch his video tribute even with as good a sound system as this. On the other hand, the line-up of the night was definitely worth the money. In fact, purely from the point of view of a selfish entertainment consumer… if the consequences were more often like the one we saw at Kaisaniemi, there should actually be a law stating that all bands at the retirement age should dump their singers who’ve lost their voice because of either age or some other reason into a garbage bin and get new, fresh vocalists. Even from a talent competition.
Set list: One Vision / Hammer to Fall / Seven Seas of Rhye / Stone Cold Crazy / Another One Bites the Dust / Fat Bottomed Girls / Play the Game / Killer Queen / Don’t Stop Me Now / Somebody to Love / Love of My Life (Brian May singing) / These Are the Days of Our Lives (Roger Taylor singing) / drum battle / Under Pressure / Crazy Little Thing Called Love / I Want to Break Free / I Want It All / Last Horizon (from Brian May’s solo production) / guitar solo/ Tie Your Mother Down / Bohemian Rhapsody / Radio Ga Ga. Encore: We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions. Outro: God Save the Queen.
Imperiumi.net gives extra praise outside music area to the organizers because despite the rather large crowd and the resulting lack of space, everything went excellently, starting from the entry gates. Our photographer gives extra thanks to the security people at the mixing booth who were practical, flexible and – for once – working for the customer’s satisfaction. No matter what the security company was, I hope that they get the security jobs for all other mass events!
1. One Vision
2. Hammer to Fall
3. Seven Seas of Rhye
4. Stone Cold Crazy
5. Another One Bites the Dust
6. Fat Bottomed Girls
7. Play the Game
8. Killer Queen
9. Don’t Stop Me Now
10. Somebody to Love
11. Love of My Life
12. These Are the Days of Our Lives
13. Under Pressure
14. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
15. I Want to Break Free
16. I Want It All
17. Last Horizon
18. Tie Your Mother Down
19. Bohemian Rhapsody
20. Radio Ga Ga
21. We Will Rock You
22. We Are the Champions
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DanDe1Maan channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcpRkUlgjuU7S7TLEoN-Qvg
Finlion 75 channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNPvSF5yP6NyPtNSo-goWOQ/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=0
Ghostunderneath in audience https://twitter.com/ghostunderneath/status/738883687048187904/video/1
hannu.nivalainen 15 vids https://www.facebook.com/hannu.nivalainen?fref=nf
Inka Babyseal BoRhap https://youtu.be/CrMaFxNekic
Käyttäjän LoveALForever kanava channel https://www.youtube.com/user/LoveALForever/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=0
Kathy Katz playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOgLbeGcWCyaqcBCYzvQ41Eorp2uSkXCc
Kekkeruusi channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-iKOllMXzJPTKBeEjlO7A
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Leo Rain https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPnOgPeWl5FciUOgCCeIk2w/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=0
Maija Pulkkinen https://www.periscope.tv/mayapoppis/1eaKbwAgYReGX
ManWithNoName64 channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ManWithNoName64/videos
Miropalokallio in audience https://www.instagram.com/p/BGNNSvHuT5-/
Piia Kunnas https://www.periscope.tv/piia_kunnas/1yoJMYzyyZYJQ
Rami Syväri https://www.periscope.tv/rami_syvari/1YqKDlEPYXkKV
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