DENVER (KKTV) - Legendary British rock band Queen is about to tour the USA. Based on my own experience as a fan and a frequent ticket holder - here’s what to expect.
The song says, “We Will Rock You.” They really will rock you.
Queen in 2017 is founding guitarist Brian May and founding drummer Roger Taylor. They have other musical collaborators filling out the sound, and Adam Lambert as a lead singer.
Some die-hard purists say it is not the same without Freddie Mercury. Of course it’s not. But this is how you see Queen live now. Mr. Mercury has been gone for more than 25 years, but the music should be allowed to soar once more, and with the current version of Queen it will.
There are a handful of guitar players from the classic rock era who should be on everyone's “must-see live” list. Brian May is one of them. He’s close to 70 years old now – his iconic rock-star hair is now a distinguished shade of rock star gray – but those fast-moving fingers seem to show no signs of aging when he takes the stage and tears it up.
Dr. May is simply a rock guitar virtuoso. He plays with power (“Tie Your Mother Down”, “Hammer to Fall”, “I Want It All”). He plays with finesse (everything), and even with a sense of humor (“Killer Queen”). When he breaks into his extended solo with his trademark echo after an echo after an echo – the sound that bounces off the arena walls will leave your ears ringing in the best possible way. See the show for Brian May.
Then there’s the thunderous foundation provided by drummer Roger Taylor. Many other drummers call him one of their favorites. At a Queen + Paul Rodgers concert in 2008 in England, I was lucky enough to have a spot right along the catwalk that extends out into the crowd. When Roger Taylor pounded out and sang “I’m in Love With My Car” I was about 10 feet away from him. I remember thinking that if this was in a studio, you wouldn’t sit that close because it might seem rude! My point is that watching him work, and I do mean work, from that close a vantage point was something I’ll never forget. The power of his playing and the wild wailing of his rock & roll voice combined in a way that only a master could muster. See the show for Roger Taylor.
Don’t forget about the songs. What a joy it is to appreciate every single one of their most popular songs. To do so means you are able to appreciate so many different styles. Two of the biggest hits, “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” couldn’t be much more different from each other. Heck, the first part and the middle part and the last part of “Bohemian Rhapsody” couldn’t be much more different from each other! Think of all the hits, so many styles. All the songs hold up well after decades.
To sing those songs they need a talented man at the mic. That’s just what they have in Adam Lambert. Whether you like his own music or not, it’s hard to deny that the man can flat out sing. The Queen catalog requires a skilled and versatile vocalist. When you listen to this version of Queen live, and you know the music – you sometimes wonder if Lambert will be able to hit that huge high note that everyone knows is coming. The answer, over and over, is yes! He has the range and he has the charisma to pull off songs written by and written for the ultimate rock vocalist. He’s not Freddie Mercury, but he is brilliant in his own way.
Plus, there is an intangible he brings to Queen. I saw the band several times with Paul Rodgers and the shows were amazing! Rodgers is an incredible singer. So is Lambert in a different way. Rodgers is a contemporary of May and Taylor. Lambert came later. I was able to sit in the front row at a concert in a smaller in Las Vegas in July 2014. You can see a lot from that close. You can see pure joy on the faces of mature and experienced rock stars, watching and listening to a young man give their songs new life. There’s an energy that Lambert brings to the music and even to the band. It is compelling to watch and it is spectacular to hear. May and Taylor smile a lot during these concerts, both at and with Lambert. They seem to be having as much fun as all of us in the audience. Isn’t that how it should be?
If you’ve never seen Queen live – go this time. Who knows when they’ll tour the US again. They’ll be in Denver on July 6th. The last time they were in Denver was in August of 1982 – with Freddie Mercury. I saw them then and I can’t wait to see them again.
Some of the naysayers may decide to stay home instead. I believe they will be missing out on a chance to see one of the great bands of all time.
Don’t miss this chance – they really will rock you.
We’ll talk again soon.
I took the photos below at that Las Vegas concert in July, 2014.