vistadiva' date='Jun 25th 2014, 12:55 AM
Review from local Edmonton Sun:
If we decide that Queen with a False Freddie is better than no Queen at all, we’d best shut up about all the “glorified cover bands” running rampant in classic rock.
For in the vocal department, in theatrics, in everything that counts in a great frontman, there are no bigger shoes to fill in rock ‘n’ roll history than Freddie Mercury’s. They don’t build bands like Queen anymore. And while it may seem galling to have some American Idol runner-up risk turning the legend into a hollow mockery and ruining it for everyone, this is seriously the best live version of Queen that fans are going to get.
They made sure of that with an incredible show in Rexall Place Tuesday night. It’s been quite an eventful few days in Edmonton. First Buble, then the queen of pop, Cher, then Queen. Good, better, best. This concludes our expensive trip down memory lane.
Imagine the pressure on Adam Lambert, under such sharp scrutiny by more than 10,000 hardcore Queen fans hanging on every note, listening hard, judging. The cheers after the first few notes of the opener Now I’m Here revealed the initial verdict: He’ll do fine.
Lambert did not go into this thing timidly. He added his own wrinkles, at no time “pretending” to be Freddie Mercury, but being his own flambouyant, outrageous self. In Fat Bottomed Girls, he shouted at the appropriate moment, “Now all you fat-assed bitches out there, get on your bike and ride!” For Killer Queen, decked out in a lovely sparkly spiky getup (Cher must’ve left one of her costume boxes behind), he stretched out on an antique chaise lounge, then spit champagne all over himself and the audience. “Did I get you wet?” he asked a woman in the front row. “You’re welcome! I think I got myself wet.”
This of course isn’t the first time Queen went out with another singer – Paul Rodgers from Bad Company filled the spot for five years - but Lambert is a much better fit. He sang the living hell out of these songs Queen fans know so well, in a set spanning 45 years of some of the most classic of the classic rock songs. He can hit all the high notes in Somebody to Love – one of several spine-tingling moments in the show – and he has power to back it up. Later, his wailing rendition of the power ballad Who Wants To Love Forever brought the house down. In the legacy of rock ‘n’ roll understudies, this has to be one of the best hires – better than the guy in Yes, the guy in Journey, and both David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar put together.
The original Queen guys got their chance to shine. Before Roger Taylor wowed the fans with the expected drum solo, guitarist Brian May provided one of the most chilling points of the night all by himself. Sitting centre stage and armed only with an acoustic guitar, he invoked the spirit of Freddie on Love of My Life, which the two of them used to perform as a duet together, now done solo: “Love of my life, don’t leave me, you’ve taken my love, you now desert me.” This intimate, vulnerable moment had a lot more impact than his epic guitar solo later on. Nice touch showing the old film clip of Freddie singing on the big round TV screen (that seemed to have been stolen from Pink Floyd’s stadium shows). If there was a dry eye in the house, I didn’t see it.
It’s funny how Queen used to boast “no synths” on its records, never mind that some of the stuff came up with were studio creations impossible to reproduce live. Bohemian Rhapsody is a good example, the bombastic bombshell coming near the end of a successively hit laden home-stretch. They don’t build songs like this anymore, either. You’d drive yourself crazy at concerts these days trying to figure out what’s being tracked, but in this case, almost all of that middle section was. They didn't even try to hide it, either.
At one point in the night after a particularly impressive display of vocal prowess, May asked the crowd, “What do you think of the new boy?!”
There seemed to be general agreement that Lambert will be permitted to sing Queen songs as long as he wants to.