04 August 2019 (gig)
06 August 2019
While it's not even a question that Queen has had a major resurgence in popularity since the smash biographical film,"Bohemian Rhapsody,” last year, and the renewed interest in the group is quite akin to early '80s renewal in activity for the music of The Doors. As both groups saw major spikes in the sales of their back catalogs due to films, (but it was the inclusion of The Doors" Oedipus-complex opus, "The End," in 1979's "Apocalypse Now" that revived the Los Angeles-based ensemble, as the bio picture, “The Doors,” did not come out until 1991), and each group sported two of the most iconic front men in Rock history in Freddie Mercury and Jim Morrison, respectively (and both are sadly long gone.) In addition, each of the quintets would attempt to carry on and tour with only two original members on board
After an experiment with singer Paul Rodgers in the early 2000s, Queen members Brian May (guitar/vocals) and Roger Taylor (drums/vocals) decided to move on from Rodgers' services and has been fronted by "American Idol" alum, Adam Lambert, (since 2011) and played to a sold-out show at the Xfinity Canter in Mansfield, Massachusetts on August 4, 2019.
As the current version of Queen is more of a tribute (as trying to ever replace Freddie Mercury is absurd), the band did a stellar job of celebrating the band's music and the spirit of Mercury.
Opening with early-band material, "Now I'm Here" (from 1974's "Sheer Heart Attack" album, and a staple at most Queen concerts during the Mercury years) and "Seven Seas of Rhye" (lifted from their eponymous debut disc) merged into May's classic guitar riff opening for (a shortened version) of "Keep Yourself Alive.”
1984's "Hammer to Fall" was well received, and Lambert (sporting a hand fan, as he mentioned the heat a few times during the night) propped himself atop a piano for a trimmed-down take of "Killer Queen."
Lambert addressed the audience a few times and stressed that he is a fan (as the crowd is) and was most respectful to the legacy of Queen, and not at any point did he try to imitate Mercury’s voice or his onstage mannerisms.
1978's "Don't Stop Me Now" (which has found its place all over pop culture from its use in the 1980 Summer Olympics, to the 2004 film, “Shaun of the Dead,” was also recently used by Telus mobile for a commercial), is when Lambert really found his groove and, after "In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited," he did a prodigious job on "Somebody to Love."
Taylor, who mostly manned the drums and provided strong backing vocals, got the spotlight for "I'm in Love With My Car," which humorously celebrates his fondness for automobiles. The Funk filled and iconic bass line of "Another One Bites The Dust" was amazingly recreated by current bassist Neil Fairclough (though, it is sad that original bass player John Deacon retired from performing in 1997, as he is greatly missed).
One of the show's highlights was a solo acoustic set by May. Donning an acoustic guitar, he sang a moving "Love of My Life," which got even more emotional when Mercury appeared on screen and duetted with May on the latter part of the song. He followed up with his ditty from the “A Night At the Opera” album, "'39." Lambert and Taylor also shared vocals on "Doing All Right" (after performing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”), and Taylor filled in for David Bowie's voice on "Under Pressure."
Later in the set, May churned out a ten-minute-plus solo during which he was surrounded by solar system effects - not surprising for he is well known for his studies in Astrophysics (he even earned his Ph.D from Imperial College), which then turned into an abbreviated "Tie Your Mother Down."
The audience got to recreate the band's epic set at Live Aid (mimicking the two-hand clap and outstretched arms pose) during "Radio Gaga," and the crowd also aided with many voices on the group's set closing, and one of the most iconic songs ever, "Bohemian Rhapsody."
The encore featured a video from Mercury in 1986 doing "Ay-Oh," to pump the audience for the forthcoming "We Will Rock You" and the show finale, "We Are the Champions," bringing the mix of bombast and high emotions to a close.
While carrying on after losing such a key member can be risky, as tarnishing a band's legacy is always a concern, but May, Taylor and Lambert are pulling it off ceremoniously with a reverence to Mercury that was present all night.