Home News Review: QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21 February 2018

Review: QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21 February 2018

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The incomparable Queen, with Adam Lambert, are a showcase in music, talent and entertainment! To state that this is a true match made in musical heaven is an understatement.  It’s more like a cosmic clash of two of the biggest stars that the universe has ever produced with, no doubt, Freddie being the spiritual mastermind and puppet master from above.  Thanks Freddie!  I have no doubt that you are behind this beautiful chapter of Queen with the fabulous Mr Lambert.  From what I’ve always read, your taste was impeccable and this just proves it!

One would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by this brilliant band.  I’ll call it the ‘Queen effect’.  Like an avalanche of sounds, the first time hearing Queen is an event unto itself.  As a child, the first time I heard my sister’s vinyl ‘A Night At The Opera’, I remember being completely mesmerised.  You couldn’t pick one part out, it was layered and ground breaking.  You needed to analyse every note whilst trying to sing along to the printed lyrics.  The piano, smashing drums, the guitars and those glorious Mercury vocals, who didn’t want to emulate every band member and try to shred like Brian?  I know I tried and I can still see myself sitting on the floor in that old 80’s bedroom just absorbing this record over and over.  Pure perfection.  You knew then that this musical relationship would be one that lasts a lifetime.

Like thousands of Sydney-siders, I was champing at the bit to arrive at the venue before show time.  The excited crowd, generations of families, with the biggest smiles on their faces, basking in the pre-concert euphoria.  It was an event for anyone and everyone, and the venue was buzzing.  Finally, it was show time.  With a massive bang, a metal claw and mask emerges across the screen, with a giant cage enveloping the front of the stage.  A brief ‘We Will Rock You’ intro moves into a cranking ‘Hammer To Fall’.  The whole venue just loses it as Lambert begins his strut and May’s signature guitar echoes throughout.  ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ and ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ are just ferocious, what a rock extravaganza!  Lambert’s vocals are so potent and exactly how I remember them from the last tour.  Gorgeous and cheeky, while dressed to the nines, people were going weak at the knees.  We were going to need a cold shower to cool off!

‘Another One Bites The Dust’ is so sexy and sublime, with ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ continuing the onslaught.  We devour one classic song after another.  I loved Brian’s black flares and cape, and both Brian’s and Adam’s costume changes throughout the night.  There was plenty of colour and sparkles; bold and saucy, staying true to the Queen origins.  Then Adam arises straddling a sculptured version of the mask called ‘Frank’ as ‘Killer Queen’ brings further sass and theatrics to the stage.  This is a nonstop sing-a-long and dance gig, everything you want and more.  And speaking of theatrics, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and then ‘Bicycle Race’, as Adam rides a bike adorned with flowers across the stage, have to be two of the most theatrical rock songs ever written.  This tapestry of visual and aural pleasure, interwoven with some of the best musicianship you will ever hear, is just spectacular.  Hearing the thundering drums and those unique May guitars is just like nothing else, and always such a treat.  If there could be musical scholarships that include concert night excursions to see bands like Queen, our world would be much more richer.  This type of talent needs to be shared, far and wide.

I couldn’t wait for Roger Taylor’s time to shine on the eternally seductive ‘I’m In Love With My Car’, with that tantalising car revving kicking in at the end.  Oh the memories!  You can feel the energy and pure joy from the crowd and we couldn’t help but think back to when these songs related to moments in our lives.  What a ‘Queen effect’ this universe has been so fortunate to experience.  Now it’s time to ‘Get Down, Make Love’, made all the more sensual with Lambert’s smooth motions, as May weaves his magic.  Followed by another Queen gem, ‘I Want It All’.   There are just so many masterpieces to choose from in this set list.  Then Brian appears alone along the catwalk to sing a moving rendition of ‘Love Of My Life’.  As the whole arena lights up with mobile phones, Freddie appears on screen to finish with a real Mercury finale.  What an emotional moment, I tried hard not to cry as the tears welled up.  It was just beautiful.  I was relieved when Lambert returned with ‘Somebody To Love’ so I could compose myself.  Then it was time for some bobby socks rock’n’roll as Taylor joined the catwalk for ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.  I love it when the drummers come out from the back of the stage to have their own solos or drum battles; with two drum sets going off together, it’s mega sexy.  This led into another big favourite, ‘Under Pressure’, with Adam and Roger sharing vocals. I’m so happy this song made it onto the set list as it’s one of the best songs ever written. I’m sure Queen have many songs on ‘best ever’ lists.  It’s such an amazing legacy that will be left behind, and quite mind blowing when you really think about it all.

Now it’s time for ‘A Kind Of Magic’ and Adam’s own ‘Whataya Want From Me’, which was a great surprise until ‘I Want To Break Free’… I instantly visualise that classic video clip.  With Freddie vacuuming and Roger looking hot in his costume, I can’t help but smile.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall when that clip was being filmed (or any clip for that matter)!  The silver glitter ball appears above the stage and the arena is awash with a delicious disco atmosphere.  Anthems everywhere.  Then it was time for Lambert’s vocal crème de la crème with ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’.  Wow, just cracking and spine tingling.  So eerie, with a depth and intensity, I just want to dive right in and get lost, ignoring the peril and possible destruction.  What a gift Lambert has, exquisite, just like Queen and Freddie, of course.  You just can’t beat the various styles and themes of Queen.  Everything works in such a way that we will never see this type of band ever again.

I loved May’s ‘Last Horizon’ and guitar solo. There are planets, stars, blue lasers and the cosmic universe moving in the background and around the arena, as we revel in this brilliant man’s talent.  Again, just glorious. We’re melting, onto Planet May.  This is a great example of how one person’s talent can inspire so many.  He is the genius Doctor.  I’m satisfied just standing back and observing, thankful that another Queen tour has taken place. Then that 80’s sound of ‘Radio Ga Ga’ ripples across the throng and animates the dancing crowd.  With a plethora of styles from the different eras, we are spoilt.  The legendary ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ begins this time with Lambert vocals and then moves into the Queen video clip vocals, as we all ‘scaramouche’ along.  May’s shiny cape makes its appearance and head banging ensues.  Are we satiated yet?  Nearly… standing ovation number one, as we move into the encore.

We relish another Freddie screen appearance as we ‘Day Oh’ to that legendary Wembley concert footage that so many of us wish we’d had an opportunity to attend.  This always makes me smile.  What a talent and what a life!  Lambert then graces us in gold and silver threads, topped with a sparkling crown, as ‘We Will Rock You’ booms.  These epic tunes always bring the house down with riffs and bursting drums, and then another anthem ‘We Are The Champions’ finishes us off.  The crowd is devouring the cherry on top, with gusto. This Sydney arena knows it has witnessed one of the best bands in the history of music. You killed it Brian, Roger, Adam and band.  We salute you and the forever loved, magnificent, Freddie Mercury.  ‘God Save (The) Queen’ indeed, as a second standing ovation takes place.  What a lesson in music, electrifying!  I could go another round and I still haven’t recovered from the first one.  I just wish this tour will arc back down to us again one day.  How about it, Queen and Adam Lambert?  We’ll be waiting.

 

© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2018.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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