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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 27
THE MUSIC LOUNGE
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Queen + Adam Lambert are the champions of a spectacular concert at Key Arena

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT
KEY ARENA
July 1


Adam Lambert is no Freddie Mercury, and he doesn't try to be. That was the beauty of last weekend's Queen + Adam Lambert performance at Key Arena, in that he reinvented the band's classic songs with his own personal magic and allowed the music to be the real star of the show.

After touring together for five years, the remaining members of Queen - Brian May and Roger Taylor - have had time to incorporate 'American Idol' alum Lambert into their act, letting him steer the ship on vocals, although collectively putting on a memorable concert that featured all of the legendary rock group's top hits.

The show kicked off with a snippet of 'We Will Rock You,' followed by 'Hammer to Fall,' as a virtual wall was broken down by an iron fist to reveal a large stage with an oval-shaped dome hanging directly over it that doubled as a lighting panel and LED screen. Dressed in cherry-colored jeans, silver puffy vest and blue tinted glasses with bright red spiky hair, Lambert worked the stage from side to side and strutted up and down a catwalk that stretched out to two thirds of the main floor.

'Another One Bites the Dust,' 'Fat Bottomed Girls,' which created a huge sing-along from the audience, and 'Killer Queen' were all played early in the concert, as were two lesser known Queen songs, 'Two Fux' and 'Don't Stop Me Now.'

'Seattle, thank you for having us back!' shouted Lambert to the audience that filled nearly every seat in the arena. 'Freddie Mercury was a god,' he continued, noting that he wasn't going to try and parallel the iconic singer, or outdo him. 'I'm like all of you. I'm a fan. I just got the really expensive ticket.'

Lambert went through several costume changes during the performance, including a plum-colored silk two-piece suit that he unveiled as he sat atop a robot head, similar to the one that appeared on the News of the World album cover, as it ascended from below the stage.

'He gives great head,' joked Lambert, and though the crowd was mostly straight - with lots of gay men in attendance, too - everybody just laughed right along.

Wearing thick, dark eyeliner and sparkly, tight outfits, besides parading flamboyantly around the stage and catwalk, sometimes in high-heeled boots, Lambert seemed comfortable and confident to be a gay man at the center of attention. But in contrast to Mercury, who was also gay and had more of a raw, sexy persona, Lambert was campy and showy, which isn't a bad thing at all, he just has an entirely different stage presence than Mercury. Vocal-wise, Mercury was grittier on the harder rock material, but Lambert held his own, especially on the ballads, where he could effortlessly hang onto those long notes.

Lambert wore a red leather pants and vest combo during 'I Want It All' as smoke bombs were lit along the perimeter of the stage, then switched out the vest for a blue blazer during 'Somebody to Love,' one of the concert's best numbers that captured the anthem-like energy of the original version. Another highlight was May performing a touching solo acoustic rendition of 'Love of My Life' at the end of the catwalk with Mercury appearing behind him on the screen.

'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' was also performed at the tip of the catwalk with Lambert prancing around and getting the audience to clap their hands together. For 'Under Pressure,' Taylor played drums while singing David Bowie's portion of the '80s pop song that became a global hit for both acts. 'Radio GaGa' included electric keyboards for a new wave, light techno sound, as the song title spelled out in giant letters slithered around the oval dome covering the stage.

The main set concluded with a rousing performance of 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' featuring lead vocals by both Lambert and Mercury. Lambert sang the verses and chorus at the finale, but Mercury wailed on the popular 'Galileo' part of the lyrics that were mixed in from the original recording. Lambert finished the song by standing behind the drum set and gently singing the last words, 'Nothing really matters / Anyone can see / Nothing really matters / Nothing really matters to me / Any way the wind blows.'

For an encore, Queen and Lambert played a beautiful updated cover of 'Spread Your Wings,' and of course the band's signature tunes, 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are the Champions.' Lambert donned a crown during the last number, as gold confetti showered over the heads of those standing on the floor.

This was the next best thing to seeing Freddie Mercury in person and an opportunity for the music of Queen to enjoy a second life. And though Lambert couldn't and won't ever fill the shoes of the group's iconic frontman, he certainly did their songs justice by singing them the way Queen fans had grown up listening to them and also by injecting them with his own personal flair, which shall we say was, rather Queen-y.

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