Queen & Adam Lambert review: New frontman has the Freddie factor
How do you replace the greatest rock singer of all time? That was the issue facing Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor when Freddie Mercury died in 1991.
Having experimented with Paul Rodgers, they have hit on a winning formula with the American Adam Lambert. It’s an unlikely union: two old rockers joining forces with the runner-up of the 2009 American Idol. Yet it works brilliantly. As well as sharing a multi-octave range with Freddie, the 35-year-old Lambert understands the theatricality and ludicrousness at the heart of Queen.
Never knowingly understated, he performed Killer Queen sitting on top of a skull dressed in a pink tuxedo and high heels, while Bicycle Race was bellowed out while pedalling a bicycle around the guitar-shaped stage.
As Lambert was at pains to point out, he’s no Freddie — but he has the Freddie factor. His jet-pack voice was a thing of WTF? wonder throughout. The operatic Who Wants To Live Forever had so many high notes, it’s a wonder he didn’t come down with altitude sickness.
Queen, of course, were always more than just an astonishing frontman, and May and Taylor were given their time to shine. Alongside umpteen fret-burning solos, May led an acoustic sing-along to Love Of My Life, with Mercury’s hologram appearing on the giant screen behind. Taylor sang It’s A Kind Of Magic — he wrote it, after all — and provided the obligatory drum solo.
Fat Bottomed Girls remains one of the naffest songs ever written, followed closely by Radio Gaga. But Somebody To Love was triumphant and Bohemian Rhapsody was towering not only for the fact it was performed on top of a 40ft platform.
You can’t replace the irreplaceable. But — mamma mia, mamma mia — in Lambert Queen have found a mighty plan B.