"Adam Lambert steps confidently into late Queen-frontman Freddie Mercury’s shoes"
Adam Lambert steps confidently into late Queen-frontman Freddie Mercury’s shoes
JAMES WIGNEY AT PERTH ARENA NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA AUGUST 23, 2014
Owned the crowd ... Adam Lambert strutted, gyrated, teased and belted out hit after hit. Picture: Paul Kane Source: Getty Images
LET’S get this out of the way right from the start – Adam Lambert is not Freddie Mercury.
But if you are going to choose to someone who can match the flamboyance, swagger and vocal dexterity of arguably the greatest front man in the history of rock, there are not many better than the former American Idol star.
From the moment he appeared in front of a packed Perth Arena on the first night of the revitalised Queen’s Australian tour, decked in an outfit reminiscent of George Michael circa the Faith era and sporting reflector shades, Lambert owned the crowd.
He strutted, gyrated, teased and belted out hit after hit, while the remaining members of the revered rock band, guitar guru Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, beamed on in obvious delight.
Obvious delight ... original Queen members drummer Roger Taylor (left) and guitar guru Brian May (right) perform with Adam Lambert. Picture: Jackson Flindell Source: News Corp Australia
Whether he was spitting out the lyrics to Stone Cold Crazy, shimmying to Another One Bites the Dust, camping it up and fanning himself on a lounge to Killer Queen, working the crowd into a frenzied gospel freakout on Somebody To Love or standing still in lasers for power ballads such as Who Wants To Live Forever, Lambert proved a perfect vehicle to bring to life the beloved Queen catalogue for those who never got to see Mercury in the flesh.
But appropriately given the tour is billed as Queen + Adam Lambert, the new kid on the block didn’t entirely steal the thunder of the original band members. May, rocking a still impressive snowy mane of curls, had plenty of opportunities to show why he regularly rates highly on best guitarist of all time lists, with bone-crunching riffs and those searing, unmistakable solos from tunes such as Fat Bottom Girls and I Want It All. And Taylor, with sterling support from son Rufus, puts to shame men half his age, making a thunderous racket on the drums.
New kid on the block Adam Lambert in concert at the Perth Arena. Picture: Jackson Flindell Source: News Corp Australia
Adam Lambert brought to life the beloved Queen catalogue. Picture: Jackson Flindell Source: News Corp Australia
Each got their moment to shine out front too. May was impressive and emotional armed with just an acoustic guitar, introducing Love Of My Life by inviting the audience to “do it for Freddie” and followed it up with the stomping, sing-along, sci-fi folk number 39, from the classic Night At the Opera album. Similarly Taylor took centre stage for lead vocals on another Mercury tribute, Days Of Our Lives, and impressively sang the David Bowie part in Under Pressure. Together, their harmonies behind Lambert were impeccable.
Wisely, the late, great Mercury was never far from the action either – featuring in several video tributes and with Lambert acknowledging that without the original Queen front man he would not be there. It was also gratifying to see in the archival footage the somewhat forgotten member John Deacon, who played bass until his retirement in 1997 and was the architect of hits including Another One Bites the Dust and I Want To Break Free.
Revitalised ... Adam Lambert and Brian May perform at Perth Arena during the first Queen tour of Australia since 1985. Picture: Paul Kane Source: Getty Images
With the exception of funky, sexy B-side Dragon Attack – a personal favourite and special request from Lambert – it was a cavalcade of hits, and the spread of ages in the audience was testament to the timelessness of the tunes. And still they came after two hours, with a magnificent finale of Bohemian Rhapsody (yes those tricky bits were a video) and an encore of the knockout one-two punch, We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions.