Members of Queen and Adam Lambert — sorry, that’s Queen + Adam Lambert — appeared in an unusual spot Tuesday afternoon: an aviation hangar owned by MGM Resorts International, site of a welcome-to-Las Vegas news conference.
As Lambert said during a somewhat awkward pause in the action, “It’s quiet in here, isn’t it?”
Not for long.
With Lambert again out front, Queen will rock the Park Theater in the hit-laden “Crown Jewels” residency. The 10-show series opens Saturday and Sunday and runs through Sept. 22.
After the session at the hangar, the band dashed off to scout the Park Theater for the first time. Some highlights before they were whisked away:
Those inspirations: Guitar great Brian May said he was persuaded that Queen could produce a Vegas show after catching Celine Dion at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. “When the subject was brought up, I saw Celine in my mind. I saw her show and it was beautifully done.” Roger Taylor, the band’s enduring drummer, said he was inspired by two rockers who also have a history at the Colosseum. “A few years ago our friend Elton (John) came here. He and Rod Stewart were two of the earlier people in our age group who came to Vegas. It appears it’s a pretty cool thing to do these days.”
That fan connection: Lambert is eager to jam the band’s stage show, which thundered through T-Mobile Arena in 2017, into the Park Theater.
“We’ve been very used to playing for 18,000-20,000 in arenas, so to take our show and shrink it into a 5,000-seat venue, I think is going to be very exciting,” he said. “We’ll feel a connection with our fans that we haven’t had before. … We’ll able to maybe take nuances with certain songs, take some liberties.
“Being in one place for more than two shows is something I haven’t done with these guys. It’s comfortable, but also a kind of slippery slope of magic.”
Offstage objectives: At one point, May said he hoped to explore the landscape of Southern Nevada. Then he turned to Lambert and said, “What are we going to do on our spare time?”
“I want to see all of the other shows, see as many as I can, the new version of ‘Zumanity,’ ” Lambert said. Taylor added, “I’ve heard about ‘Absinthe’; I want to see that,” and later added his good friend Carrot Top at Luxor to that quick list.
“None of us are gamblers,” May said. Lambert responded, “I want to save my money for shopping.”
Lambert is the man: “Continuing on with a new singer hadn’t occurred to us until we met Adam,” May said, referring to 2009 when the band joined Lambert on “American Idol” to perform “We Are the Champions.” “We’d just finished a tour with Paul Rogers, which was great, but we were not looking to continue. Without Adam, we would not be here.” Lambert has been the band’s official singer for six years.
About that film: The long-awaited “Bohemian Rhapsody,” largely centered on legendary frontman Freddie Mercury, is due out November.
“We are deliberately not saying much about the movie, Roger and I, and are keeping a little distance,” May said. “But it is amazing, I’ll tell you that much. It does Freddie justice. It’s stupendous. Of course we are portrayed in it, but it is about Freddie; it’s outrageous just like he was.” Of Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury, May said, “Rami became Freddie to an astounding degree. If you spent time with him, you’d think he was Freddie.”
Frank is back: May disclosed one detail of the stage show: Frank the Robot, who graced the cover of the 1977 album “News of the World” and a fixture of the band’s 2017 tour, is back as a video effect.
May said, “He has evolved a little, he’s a little different, because he knows where he is.” Lambert joked (we think), “Frank is going to show everybody his crown jewels.”
Just being “us”: Lambert said he would add some Vegas flair because, “I brought some more Adam Lambert in my luggage.”
May offered, “We bring reality. We don’t play to cliques, and that’s even more apparent when you are up close and can see our fingers. Everything we do is live and dangerous. We don’t do anything that isn’t real, which is fairly unusual these days. We love that.
“We think we’re good enough to lay ourselves on the line and be us, and be human.”
Brian May, Adam Lambert and Roger Taylor pose for photos during a news conference at the MGM Resorts aviation hangar at McCarran International Airport to kick off Queen + Adam Lambert’s 10-date limited engagement, ‘The Crown Jewels,’ on August 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. The group will play 10 dates at Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas beginning on September 1, 2018. CREDIT: Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau