After playing 60 shows spread over three continents, Queen + Adam Lambert brought their mega tour to a close at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, taking to the stage to perform a 2 and a half hour setlist of some of the greatest songs in music history.
As an excited audience filed into the arena from the cold February evening, many didn’t know what to expect. Queen are, after all, an ‘oldies’ act and without their original frontman Freddie Mercury these reservations were valid ones.
The stage was concealed by a giant curtain sporting Queen’s logo, with nothing but a catwalk protruding from underneath the fabric which led out into the audience to a ‘B’ stage.
Eventually the house lights went down long, and a long, eerily atmospheric buildup got the audience hyped. This buildup went on…and on…and on…and just when you were starting to get a little twitchy and (dare I say it) bored, the silhouette of Brian May burst onto the curtain covering the stage as he thrashed out the opening chords of One Vision.
The curtain was ripped up as Roger Taylor’s drums kicked in, and out strutted Adam Lambert, flanked by Brian May and his trusty Red Special guitar. And the audience loved it. There wasn’t a single fault with Adam’s voice that night, pitching all the notes perfectly and reaching the screaming highs that only the likes of Freddie Mercury could.
He remained on form throughout the show, cheekily playing the audience while never missing a note or forgetting a word.
At one point out on the ‘B’ stage a gold and purple shezlong appeared, on which Adam Lambert camped it up for Killer Queen, even swigging from a bottle of champagne and spitting it on a male member of the audience, cheekily asking if he had made him wet!
But the night wasn’t about Adam Lambert, and he left the stage for a section of the show in which Brian May and the band went out onto the ‘B’ stage to perform some acoustic numbers. A touching highlight of the show was when a projection of Freddie appeared, serenading the audience with Love Of My Life as Brian accompanied him on guitar.
Up next in the spotlight was Roger Taylor. While he spent most of the time sat at the back behind his drums, diligently providing the beat and flawless backing vocals, he went front and centre to provide vocals on several songs including It’s a Kind Of Magic and Under Pressure.
There were extended drum, bass and guitar solos aplenty, to the point of being slightly self indulgent…but then if Queen can’t be a little self indulgent, who can be?! I can’t think of many other musicians that I’d happily just sit watching riffing and jamming!
The main set drew to a close with the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody, in which Adam Lambert duetted with a projection of Freddie Mercury. It was an appropriately epic yet moving closer before the band left the stage and left the crowd screaming for more.
After several long minuets of chanting and clapping, the arena echoed out as the thunderous drumbeat of We Will Rock You thumped out. A great audience participation moment which soon segued into We Are The Champions. Belting out a raucous vocal, Adam Lambert silenced any final doubters that he was the man to front the band, and Brian’s blistering solo
The band were amazing. Brian May was on point with his guitars, Roger Taylor never missed a beat on the drums, and Rufus Taylor, Neil Fairclough and Spike Edney were all equally competent on percussion, bass guitar and keyboards respectively.
Now despite drawing criticism from certain diehard Queen fans, I think the concert proved that Adam Lambert is an amazing frontman. And while he is fronting one of the biggest bands in the world, he doesn’t try to be Freddie. He sings the songs how he wants to sing them, and brings his own theatricalness to the table. He often reflected that he was so grateful to be performing with the band, and he was duly reverent to the late Freddie Mercury.
And as the audience left the arena harbouring no doubts that Queen could still rock with the best of them, and that with Adam Lambert at the helm they wouldn’t go far wrong.
Queen are the champions, my friends,
And they’ll keep on rocking ’til the end!
Queen + Adam Lambert setlist
Stone Cold Crazy
Another One Bites the Dust
Fat Bottomed Girls
In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited
Seven Seas of Rhye
I Want to Break Free
Don’t Stop Me Now
Somebody to Love
Love of My Life
These Are the Days of Our Lives
A Kind of Magic
Who Wants to Live Forever
Tie Your Mother Down
I Want It All
Radio Ga Ga
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions