Review: Queen + Adam Lambert at Birmingham Arena – setlist, selfies and more
Veteran Queen stars Brian May and Roger Taylor roll back the years with boy wonder frontman Adam Lambert
Let’s cut to the quick – this show was dynamite with laser beam after laser beam.
And in all the colours of the rainbow, too.
It’s 26 years this week since the once athletic, outrageous and irrepressibly flamboyant showman Freddie Mercury died at the age of just 45.
In the mid 1980s’ era of Live Aid , certainly, we all thought the human “rocket ship on his way to Mars” would live forever – until HIV / AIDS claimed his soul in 1991.
Shy off stage, but one of the all-time great rock stars on it, Mercury’s spirit will endure for all time judging by this fantastic concert which ended with current frontman Adam Lambert wearing a crown during his spellbinding rendition of We Are The Champions.
Two of Freddie’s old starship troopers – drummer Roger Taylor , 68, and guitarist Brian May , 70 – certainly did their past and present frontmen proud.
Still known as the Barclaycard Arena when the show was first announced in the spring, this Arena Birmingham gig was like watching a rocket blasting off ready for a spectacular tour of Queen’s “supersonic” rock and pop universe.
Its payload included one of the best nights of special effects you could ever wish to see.
Never once, though, did the show look set to burn up on re-entry because, while the stage hydraulics, the lighting and big screen visuals were all world class, the crystal-clear sound was always even better.
It was that kind of night when you just had to be there to appreciate the best of British being complemented by the outstanding Adam Lambert.
Once a runner-up on American idol and now 35, the Indiana-born star led the line with fine humour, a rare vocal prowess and a beautifully camp awareness of – and utter confidence in – Mercury’s place within the band’s heritage.
He tells the audience he is not Freddie – and nobody would want him to be either.
From his opening appearance wearing a virtual reality-style visor, Lambert dresses the showbiz part with multiple, lightning-fast outfit changes, but he doesn’t imitate.
The effect is to offer a fresh perspective on Queen without tarnishing the legacy.
Freddie Mercury, who featured three times on the big screen, would doubtless have been as proud of Lambert as Taylor and May clearly are.
For now, Queen + Adam Lambert are set to conclude their UK tour with an extra date at the Arena Birmingham on Saturday, December 16. If you’re a fan, you simply cannot miss it.