About four years ago a young singer named Adam Lambert was a contestant on American Idol. He didn’t win but should have, rather he came in second, but it didn’t matter because the rock group Queen picked him up to be their new front singer replacing the late Freddie Mercury and his popularity as a glam rocker shot to be greater than if he had won Idol.
For those of you not familiar with Queen, they are a British rock band that came to be in the mid 70’s. They had hits such as ‘We Are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You” and the classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A few years ago they lost their lead singer Freddie Mercury to aids and stopped touring for a while until they spotted Adam and as they say the rest is history.
I had a chance to see them last Wednesday night at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. and I must say to me it was one of the greatest concerts I’ve seen in all my years of seeing concerts which have been in the hundreds since the 60’s and big names too. They made use of astounding computerized special effects such as lazer beams sent throughout the arena, bright flashing lights and jettisons of smoke rising from the stage all in sync with the music. For a backdrop they had a huge circular metal frame with lights around it that served as a viewing screen to see them up close and a long runway stage from the circle they performed on. This image of the circle with the runway formed the letter ‘Q’ for Queen. Quite ingenious.
The two original members Brian May, lead guitarist 67 and Roger Taylor on drums 65 are two of the greatest musicians I’ve seen. Brian May produced sounds on his guitar that came out of everywhere. He did a 20 minute guitar solo that wasn’t boring displaying various innovations, reverberations and styles that sounded at times like ten guitars playing at once. According to Wikipedia, In 2005, a Planet Rock poll saw May voted the 7th greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time“. In 2012, May was ranked the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll. He uses a home-built guitar, the Red Special. May mainly used the “Red Special“, which he designed when he was only 16 years old. It was built with wood from an 18th century fireplace. His comments on the guitar:
“I like a big neck – thick, flat and wide. I lacquered the fingerboard with Rustin’s Plastic Coating. The tremolo is interesting in that the arm’s made from an old bicycle saddle bag carrier, the knob at the end’s off a knitting needle and the springs are valve springs from an old motorbike.” Brian used the red special at Wednesday’s concert. Brian also showed his versatility by playing a soft, solo acoustic guitar doing a melodic folk song about when they were young while showing films of them when they were young on the screen which was very poignant and nice to see. When Brian spoke to the audience I found him to be very personable and seemed modest like he was talking to you in your living room instead of an arena filled with thousands.
Roger Taylor was just amazing as their drummer doing very creative drum solos and at one point doing a tit for tat with his son Rufus Taylor on a separate drum set that was fabulous and amusing as well as entertaining. According to Wikipedia Roger Meddows Taylor (born 26 July 1949) is an English musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the drummer of the rock band Queen, but has also served as an occasional songwriter and lead vocalist. As a drummer, he is renowned for his unique sound and is considered one of the most influential rock drummers in rock history of the 1970s and 1980s. In 2005, he was voted by UK fans as the eighth greatest drummer in classic rock music history, in a poll conducted by Planet Rock Radio. According to The Sunday Times Rich List he was worth £80 million or around $127 million in 2011.
Then there is Adam Lambert, the new heartthrob of many a young girl and older senior citizens as well and I did see all ages in attendance from 8 -80. Adam came out dressed in tight black leather pants and studded jacket in his pompador hairdo cut short at the sides and short stubble of a beard as he swaggered and posed around in very sexy manner while he wailed and belted out songs to the fans delight and appreciation. Throughout the concert Adam went through about six or seven costume changes all skin tight and sexy. He got the audience singing to songs first going to one side of the arena to get that part of the audience singing and then to the other side to get that part audience and then the middle and then everyone together. He got everyone together singing the oldie Queen song “Crazy Little thing Called Love” which was fun.
The entire concert went on like this for close to two and a half hours nonstop with pulse beating energy. For their encore then band broke into Bohemian Rhapsody. Upon hearing the first few notes of the opening of the song the audience swooned in “ohhhhs” and “Ahhhs” and applause as they sang along with it. Adam now dressed in a leopard print jacket and pants with a gold bejeweled crown like a prince sung the first verse then they showed a film of Freddie Mercury singing the second verse to which the audience applauded and cheered and the band all sang the last verse. This was followed by the familiar drum thumping sound of “We Will Rock You” which is played at many sporting events and then ending with “We are the Champions.”
I’ve included a link to the entire concert from July 5th of this year in Las Vegas. if you fast forward to the 1:49:50 part you can see the entire encore starting with Bohemian Rhapsody. :)