July 15st, 2022. SportPaleis. Antwerp. We had a meeting with history. Queen is coming to town. Well, half of Queen: Brian May and Roger Taylor. But we knew it before as the band is officially named “Queen + Adam Lambert”. So not a cover band but not the real band either. That being said, we still had a good time.
After Freddie Mercury passed away in November 1991 and John Deacon stopped his musical career in 1997, only Brian May and Roger Taylor stayed as former members of Queen. Since then, we got 2 tours of Queen with Paul Rodgers as singer (2005 – 2008) and so with Adam Lambert since 2012. Let be honest really quick here: nobody will ever be able able to replace Freddie Mercury. We got the confirmation with the touring name. But at least, both singers have done a good job so far.
No support act tonight. Just Queen during more than 2h. A 15 minutes delay? Well. It’s worth it. We know what’s coming. Well, in the average because the sound for the first 2 songs was really bad. Almost enough to get us the feeling it gonna be a difficult night: sound not good and a band too old to play. Fortunately, with Somebody To Love, all our fears have been allayed! This is gonna be a huge opera-rock-tribute night!
The stage itself with the big screens and some people in the balcony right behind the stage gives this look of opera. And with the eccentric Adam Lambert as stage director, it looks perfect! Brian May completes it perfectly with his aura of legendary guitarist. Only Roger Taylor looks a bit behind… not a surprise as he’s stuck behind his drum-kit and doesn’t have the same energy as before (there’s an additional percussionist/drummer on stage). Adam Lambert is above all a fan like us and claimed a few times that the band Queen + Adam Lambert is more a cover/tribute band than the band itself. Nobody can replace Freddie. He knows it. And it would be a huge mistake to replace him. We just need a guy who fits well to sing the songs, not trying to be a copycat.
A few times, we got a feeling the show took to much place, more than the music itself: Adam singing on his Harley Davidson, the many effects around Brian May for this guitar solo (which was way too long), etc. Even the best bands don’t always get the bar as high as possible. At the opposite, we also got some legendary moments. Brian May singing alone in the middle of the crowd Love Of My Life completely acoustically with an appearance of Freddie Mercury on the screen gave us goosebumbs. In a different style, see Roger Taylor singing These Are the Days of Our Lives on stage was something else. And what about the duo coming right after: Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Under Pressure. It was only the beginning of a huge ending!
One sad note: Tie Your Mother Down is cut after only one chorus. Too powerful to play in full for the old men? Same happened for a few songs like the next one: Radio Ga Ga but it doesn’t bother the crowd as they sing as loud as people. The perfect warm-up for what’s coming: Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions. Some of the biggest rock songs of all time!
Queen is and will forever be the Freddie Mercury band. His vocals were unique. But the rest of the band and Adam Lambert are doing a really great job to pay him the tribute he deserves and this is what this show was all about! Adam is a real entertainer and is perfect to take this job. Next to him, Brian May is still a wonderful guitarist. Roger Taylor won’t be able to play as long as his teammate, that’s for sure but thanks to the additional percussionist, it’s ok. Still, this evening was historical: always a pleasure to listen to all these legendary songs and it’s so nice to see different generations of people coming to the same place to sing along together. You Are The Champions.