On July 1st I took my son, David, to see his first concert. We saw Queen with Adam Lambert. Sadly, it can never be the Queen of yesteryear. Freddie Mercury left this world in 1991 and John Deacon retired from the band’s public life in 1997. Friends say he was never the same after Freddie’s death. So, needless to say, I did not go into this show with high expectations. I simply hoped that my son would have a good time.
What a wonderful surprise!
Hats off to all the members of Queen and a huge ‘huzzah!’ to Adam Lambert. I love Paul Rodgers, but I certainly sat and scratched my head when I heard he was fronting Queen. I mean, really? On the other hand, Lambert (who first met members of Queen when he sang Bohemian Rhapsody with them during his time on American Idol) is stylistically and vocally a much better fit. He’s hitting all those notes with power and passion, even the super high ones. Wow.
I didn’t realize when David and I went to see them that this tour was being billed as a salute to Freddie Mercury. Apparently, Lambert is a huge fan himself. And that was the most impressive part, while Lambert clearly adores the limelight, he was generous with the spotlight. Twice he left the stage so that other members of the group, including Roger Taylor’s son, Rufus, could shine. Lambert seems perfectly at ease with the place Mercury holds in the band and the fans’ hearts. He celebrated Freddie and sang back and forth with Mercury’s recorded image on Bohemian Rhapsody to the delight of everyone present. If you can get yourself out to see them- DO IT!
He’s not Freddie Mercury– no one is. Yet, once again, Queen have a flamboyant, sexually ambiguous front man whose voice soars to the upper registers as he sings his ass off on stage. Something in the universe seems right once more.
While the show held many high points for me, I think the most poignant was on Love of My Life. This song was written by Mercury after his breakup with his long time girlfriend, Mary Austin (whom Brian May had introduced to him) and appeared on Queen’s 1975 album, A Night at The Opera. As I said, I hadn’t realized that the band would be showcasing Freddie to the degree that they did, so the night held many surprises for me.
Love of My Life was performed in the past as a duet between Brian May and Mercury. May had come up with a lovely acoustic arrangement and then of course Freddie took care of the vocals. This evening, however, May sat alone and after complimenting “the new kid” asked the audience for their help filling Freddie’s shoes. He asked us to sing to Freddie, to let him know we still loved him.
So we sang along, all of us. It is always amazing to me how heartrendingly lovely thousands of voices raised in song are. Lighters (or iPhones) alight and hands raised in heart shapes, it was a bittersweet moment. And then, on the last stanza, came that rich voice, those amazing, pliant, soulful tones. Freddie’s image was on the jumbotron and his voice filled the arena, reminding everyone anew what we had lost. Everyone over the age of thirty-five bawled their eyes out.
So here it is, sing along, let Freddie know you still care.
This post was written by Erika Gardner. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog. Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.