You’re not alone if you thought that British icons Queen bringing in American Idol contestant Adam Lambert, to fill the shoes of their deceased front man Freddie Mercury was a risky move. Yet the controversial move happened and we headed down to their show at Kentish Town Forum, to see whether or not we had any right to judge so quickly.
The show started simply with Seven Seas of Rye and Keep Yourself Alive and what seemed to be little investment on the stage set and backdrop graphics. This was perhaps not needed with Lambert’s black leather brocade outfit, silver shoulder spikes, him energetically prancing around in black platforms and of course the awesome power of the voice. As the show evolved, so did Lambert’s rapport with the audience and what felt like their trust in him. The atmosphere was immense as hit after hit followed and the behind the stage graphics transformed into archive video footage of the band.
The pinnacle was always going to be Bohemian Rhapsody when the whole band left the stage for a pre-recorded operatic section by their younger selves. An emotionally charged atmosphere was fuelled when the band returned to join and do a duet with a projection of their legendary frontman. Maybe not rock n roll but the audience of core fans were certainly choked.
It was obvious May orchestrated much of the show and the frequent movement into his solos were completely self-indulgent, however no-one can deny he’s still a very gifted guitarist. Roger was wheeled down from his drum stage where he sat next to son Rufus for A Kind of Magic and These are the Days of our Lives. This ramped the cheesy factor to another notch; some may even have felt a little queasy during the former and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Not this crowd, they seemed to love it and left feeling overwhelmed having experienced again the live power, operatic bombast, guitar genius and yes outstanding vocal quality of one of their favourite bands of all time.
Some people could say Lambert has had it easy, walking into one of the most high profile bands ever, with hit after hit lined up for him however he’s always going to be compared to a legend. We should accept Lambert is never going to be Freddie Mercury; he should be respected for bringing his own quality to well-loved songs and enabling a new generation to experience the power of Queen live.
Written By: Lucy Ostermeyer