Queen + Adam Lambert have played a handful of shows since their tour opener in Chicago last month, but it was a special homecoming show Thursday night at the Fabulous Forum for Lambert, who was performing for the first time as the new Queen frontman in front of family and friends.
There was certainly a lot of expectation and wonder how Lambert would size up as the new frontman going into the show, but any doubts of his inclusion on the tour quickly faded the minute he stepped out on stage and ripped into the Queen classic “Now I’m Here.”
Lambert and Queen delivered a spectacular show that brought the iconic rock band’s timeless favorites into the modern era. Here are five highlights of the show that stuck out the most for us.
Adam Lambert’s playful energy
Even though he’s the new guy, Lambert was whole-heartedly embraced by both the band and the audience. The former American Idol contestant has come a long way from that competition show and proved last night that he can hold his own in the big time. His energy on stage was fun to watch as he strutted across the stage, interacted with the audience and sang back to back with Brian May. During “Killer Queen,” Lambert’s theatrics shined as he sprawled out and fanned himself on a royal purple couch and chugged champagne from a bottle, only to squirt it back out into the audience. It’s not an easy feat stepping into the shoes of Freddie Mercury, but Lambert’s vocals were pristine as he took on Queen classics including “Somebody To Love,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We Are The Champions.” Of course no one can compare to Mercury, but Lambert certainly can sing and delivered more than what many expected.
Mercury donned plenty of outlandish stage costumes in his day, and Lambert followed suit when it came to his wardrobe. Numerous costume changes happened throughout the show and each one of Lambert’s outfits were even more sparkly and studded than the last. From his leather jacket covered in spikes, his glittery gold-fringed arm sleeves and rhinestone covered platform heels, to his full-on leopard print suit and King’s crown, Lambert’s costumes did not disappoint. The rest of the band kept it simple in shirt and slacks, but May did throw on a gold cape during “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The stage theatrics
When Queen say they will rock you, they mean it. The show theatrics were nothing short of amazing proving these legends of rock still know how to wow a crowd. The stage was modeled after a giant Q with the circle towering above Roger Taylor’s drum set, which connected to a long walkway that jutted out into the crowd. An array of lights punctuated the drum beats and heavy guitars of “We Will Rock You.” We were entranced by a colorful web of lasers during May’s 10-minute+ guitar solo and to top the night off, a gold-glitter confetti-shower dazzled the audience during the rock-anthem “We Are The Champions.”
The solo spotlights on May and Taylor
The great thing about this show was that the incredible talents of both Brian May and Roger Taylor were showcased individually. Dr. May took the crowd on a cosmic trip with space-themed songs like “39” and a celestial guitar solo. He even gave a quick lesson on Einstein’s paradox theory on time – the man does have a PhD in astrophysics, mind you. Taylor shined singing lead on “These Were The Days Of Our Lives” and rallied up the crowd with a spectacular drum-off with his son, Rufus, that seamlessly kicked into “Under Pressure.” For many at the show, it was the first time seeing these rock legends live, but even now in their ’60s, they played just as extraordinarily as they did in their prime.
The nods to Freddie Mercury
Lambert may have been ushered in as the new guy on tour, but both he and the band knew where to pay credit where credit’s due. There were multiple tributes to the former frontman including video of him singing at the end of “Love Of My Life” while May sat solo and plucked away on his acoustic guitar. Archival concert footage played on the screens as Taylor took on the vocals of “These Were The Days Of Our Lives,” but most memorable was during “Bohemian Rhapsody” when Lambert shared vocals back and forth with video of Mercury. One thing was certain, Freddie will always be in our minds and hearts.
Brian May summed it up best after the show last night:
That was an amazing night. Thanks LA folks – a great audience inspires great things !!! Wonderful to be back. Bri pic.twitter.com/fWpcmvL0V5
— Dr. Brian May (@DrBrianMay) July 4, 2014
Setlist Queen + Adam Lambert:
“Now I’m Here”
“Stone Cold Crazy”
“Another One Bites The Dust”
“Fat Bottom Girls”
“In The Lap Of The Gods”
“Seven Seas Of Rhye”
“Somebody To Love”
“I Want It All”
“Love Of My Life”
“These Are The Days Of Our Lives”
“Who Wants To Live Forever”
“Tie Your Mother Down”
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
“Show Must Go On”
“We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions”