02. Hammer to Fall
07. Two Fux
09. Bicycle Race
10. I’m in Love with My Car
11. Get Down, Make Love
16. Drum Battle
19. It’s Late
20. Take My Breath Away / WWTLF
21. Guitar Solo
Review: Queen + Adam Lambert bring a grand, theatrical rock show to Omaha
That was epic.
Queen + Adam Lambert didn’t pull out all the stops. They ran over them with a chugging steamroller as they plowed through more than two dozen songs.
The familiar boom-boom-clap of “We Will Rock You” rang out through CenturyLink Center as Lambert took the stage alongside guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.
Joined by three backing musicians, Queen didn’t back down for two hours, smashing out hit after hit after hit.
Like a precision machine, Queen and Lambert, who has fronted the band on various tours since performing with them on “American Idol” in 2009, rammed through “Killer Queen,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Under Pressure,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” several other classics you know by heart and a few other tunes such as “Radio Ga Ga” that are more fan favorites than rock ‘n’ roll classics.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band was incredible, especially May, whose versatile, melodic and emotive playing was as constantly front and center as Lambert’s vocals were.
As for Lambert, he isn’t Freddie Mercury.
But you won’t find a better substitute.
Mercury died in 1991, and the band’s legendary frontman is simply inimitable in his combination of style, vocal ability and stage presence. But on Saturday, Lambert filled Mercury’s role admirably.
Lambert’s vocal style is closer to a Broadway performer’s than to Mercury’s full-range, baritone, rock ’n’ roll force of nature, but Lambert’s clear voice can hit any note and hold it longer than almost anyone you’ve ever heard, making him a good fit for a band known for hopping all over the genre map.
“There’s only one Freddie Mercury, and I know some of you are like, ‘This guy’s no Freddie.’ I know. Believe me, I know,” Lambert said. “I just feel lucky I get to be up here with these legends. So thank you for giving me a chance tonight.”
I can’t think of anyone better. No one else would dye their hair red and wear nearly a dozen costumes of leather and sequins. No one else would crush those vocal runs. And no one else would be that fabulously theatrical in their performance.
The more theatrical Lambert became in his vocal delivery and movement, the more entertaining he was. He warmed up after the first few songs, and by “Fat Bottomed Girls,” Lambert was throwing himself into every vocal run and letting his crisp tone fill the arena.
May and Taylor kept up Queen’s reputation for three-part harmonies by lending their still-hefty vocal talents, and the duo backed up Lambert on “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Somebody to Love” and numerous other songs.
Taylor also took lead vocals on “I’m In Love With My Car” and, singing David Bowie’s parts, dueted with Lambert on “Under Pressure,” showing that he has a rock star’s voice all his own.
May took lead on a portion of “I Want It All” and sat down with an acoustic guitar to sing “Love Of My Life,” which he called “a little Freddie song.” For the final verse, Mercury appeared on a screen next to May and wrapped the song as the audience stood on its feet and cheered wildly.
Queen and Lambert closed out the show with a string of classics, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was divided between Lambert’s impassioned delivery and a recording of Mercury’s original vocal track, and a finale one-two punch of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” that ended in a shower of golden confetti.
Lambert and May stood at the end of the stage, which was shaped like May’s signature Red Special guitar, with their fists in the air, looking rightfully triumphant.