No one will ever be able to replace Freddie Mercury, which is perhaps why Queen’s experimented with its fair share of singers over the years. From a live EP with George Michael to a full-fledged album and tour with Free/Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers and its current flamboyant front man Adam Lambert, the line-up hasn’t exactly been steady, though in the case of the latter, the puzzle pieces snapped perfectly into place.
…it was hard to complain as a leopard print-clad Lambert led the charge of jock jams “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” during the electrifying encore, suggesting that while no incarnation could ever surpass the first go around, this one was unquestionably victorious on its own accord.
Besides boasting a charismatic presence that even made light of microphone troubles a mere minute into “Now I’m Here” on the opening night of its entire North American tour at Chicago’s United Center, the former “American Idol” favorite possesses a rarely rivaled vocal range that’s clearly reminiscent of Mercury. But rather than simply mimic his action-packed moves and operatic capabilities, the 32-year-old breakout star simply played himself in front of one of the most iconic rhythm sections to ever grace a stage.
Indeed guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor haven’t lost a single glimmer of greatness in their twilight years, grooving alongside Lambert through the soulful “Another One Bites The Dust,” the bawdy “Fat Bottomed Girls” and the campy “Killer Queen.” In fact, Queen circa 2014 is just as boisterous, vivacious and totally over the top as it was back when with “Somebody To Love” and “I Want It All” practically blowing the roof off the packed arena.
Nonetheless, there were a few more reserved moments, like Taylor’s bittersweet tribute to Mercury “These Are The Days Of Our Lives,” Lambert’s Elvis-like delivery of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and the first half of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which featured the late great leader singing behind a piano on the jumbo screen. Naturally, once the chorus of the latter kicked in, May cemented his guitar god status with monstrous riffs, backed by enough flashbulbs to light up the Fourth of July.
If there was any complaint to be aired about the near two hour night, it was the slightly shorter nature than previous tours have provided. Though it was great to hear the original members solo, they should’ve either trimmed their time limits or simply played a longer show to allow sizeable hits like “Hammer To Fall,” “Bicycle Race,” “A Kind of Magic” or “Flash” into the set list. However, it was hard to complain as a leopard print-clad Lambert led the charge of jock jams “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” during the electrifying encore, suggesting that while no incarnation could ever surpass the first go around, this one was unquestionably victorious on its own accord.