Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” comes to mind when Adam Lambert joins Queen on stage. Covered in studded black leather, he lifts his black shades looking out to 18,000+ people at Madison Square Garden on Thursday evening. Am I really here? The stage is fairly simple with an arched walkway leading to a large round screen in the center background. At the start of the show, when lit up yellow, it reminds me of the yellow brick road leading to the great and powerful OZ. Grant me just one wish. Queen + Adam Lambert … Now I’m Here, think I’ll stay around around around.
Adam Lambert played his version of a campy (rock lord no) queen (yes) moderately well. Lambert is vocally strong but he is new to this game and obviously grateful for the opportunity as he bows down to the rock gods themselves several times. He tries his best to engage with the mature audience as best he knows (he appears younger than his 32 years). “Hi Mom!” with a bottle of champagne in his hand “during times of loneliness I douse myself in rhinestones like any sensible gay would do,” blah, blah, blah drinking too much (have no idea if he really does), blah, blah, blah wanting to find love and then “I’m getting very Oprah” and “I think we’re just looking for Somebody to Love”. Thank goodness he got to the punch line.
Adam Lambert put his best foot forward Thursday night after stepping in shit as the runner-up of Season 8 of American Idol. AI has produced some successful results: Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson but I have never purchased any of their music (although Clarkson has a couple songs on my workout list via Spotify) and would never purchase tickets to see them in concert … or so I thought.
Lambert is no Freddie Mercury and he makes it clear it is not his intention. The evening is was more about resuscitating one of the great rock bands of the 80s. Interestingly enough, Another One Bites the Dust “was used in a study to train medical professionals to provide the correct number of chest compressions to 110 beats per minute … as recommended by the Resuscitation Council.” It’s on Wikipedia. It must be true. At best the evening (and Mercury substitute) put Queen on life support. Adam Lambert fulfills a dream and the musicians can continue making love to their instruments and bring the larger than life deceased Freddie Mercury back from the dead. “After all these years who would have thought we would have the chance to be rock gods again?” Cannot help but like Brian May. He appears authentically happy to do what he loves. Love of My Life was a very tender and raw performance and I enjoyed listening to the audience sing-along.
My history with Queen is minimal, listened during my high school years with friends but never owned an album. Wrote a piece titled Anatomy of a Song: Bohemian Rhapsody and familiarized myself with Freddie Mercury and the song, not the band. There is a verse in the song referencing Galileo and I remember discounting someone’s opinion regarding Freddie adding it because of Brian May’s interest in astronomy. I wanted it to be more. Apparently, Brian May is an astrophysicist studying to earn his PhD in Astrology. The light show, a highlight for me, was certainly astronomical during May’s somewhat trippy (and long) guitar solo.
I enjoyed the show. Live music, an evening with friends in wonderful New York City was time well spent.