7.21.19 Rave reviews from LA! Jul 20, 2019 23:20:14 GMT -5
Post by Q3 on Jul 20, 2019 23:20:14 GMT -5
Audiences young and old flock to The Forum in Inglewood for Queen’s The Rhapsody Tour
Queen has long had cross-generational appeal because of the timelessness of its hits, but it was still surprising to see just how many high school and college age teens were at The Forum in Inglewood on Friday evening, July 19, for the first of the band’s two shows.
Those younger audience members rushed to get selfies against the backdrop of lyrics from “Bohemian Rhapsody” that were written on the columns around the venue, and they cheered just as hard as their adult counterparts — people who had grown up with the music — when the band arrived on stage and started playing “Now I’m Here.”
There’s no doubt that the recent “Bohemian Rhapsody” biopic, which follows Freddie Mercury from his beginnings with the band through his performance at the 1985 Live Aid Concert, has only served to bolster interest in the band, and Mercury in particular, even more. Friday night’s concert, part of The Rhapsody Tour that kicked off earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia, felt like one big tribute to the late musician.
The band’s current frontman, Adam Lambert, has an extravagance and energy that evokes Mercury. He arrived on stage Friday wearing an ornate gold striped suit and ruffled shirt, one of many costumes he wore throughout the evening. Lambert has the vocal range to expertly perform songs such as “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love” and “The Show Must Go On” as guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor rocked alongside him.
But it seems as though no one is more keenly aware of the big shoes Lambert has to fill than Lambert himself. Following a performance of “Killer Queen,” Lambert addressed what he called “the pink elephant in the room” — that he’s not Mercury and that there is no replacing singer, who died in 1991. He told the audience he misses Mercury and asked if they miss him, too.
“I just want you to make me one little, itty bitty promise tonight,” Lambert said, the audience erupting in cheers around him. “Can we do that together? Can you just promise me that you and I will celebrate Freddie together? I’m going to hold this torch for him for the next almost two hours.”
Lambert kept the excitement going throughout the evening. He arrived on stage atop a motorcycle wearing a kind of biker outfit with spikes on his shoulders to sing “Bicycle Race” and never lost a beat as he performed “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “I Want It All” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
Lambert’s tremendous stage presence was well-balanced by longtime band members May and Taylor who played their respective instruments in a way that showed they hadn’t lost any of their skill after 50 years of performing.
May, who turned 72 on Friday, seemed to be pretty happy about playing on his birthday. He told the audience, “there’s no place I’d rather be than right here with you guys tonight” before singing “Love of My Life.” Thousands of people in the crowd lit up their cellphones as May sang and played his guitar.
As May wrapped up “Love of My Life,” it became a kind of duet, as he played his guitar alongside a video of Mercury singing the last few lyrics of the song.
Taylor also sang, with a rendition of “Doing All Right.”
Queen played some of its most popular songs toward the end of the concert. “Another One Bites The Dust,” was followed by “Radio Ga Ga” and then “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Segments of the Bohemian Rhapsody music video played on the screen behind the band as an impressive laser light show radiated across the space.
As the audience awaited the encore, a video of Freddie Mercury doing vocal improvisations during a 1986 concert at Wembley Stadium appeared on the screen behind the stage.
When the video was over, Lambert, sporting a very regal-looking robe and crown, came back on stage with May and Taylor and performed “We Will Rock You” as people in the audience clapped and stomped their feet to the music.
The band proceeded into “We Are The Champions” and, with an explosion of confetti, the show had come to an end, but that audience of both new and longtime Queen fans was cheering as loudly as they were in the beginning.
Queen celebrate Brian May’s birthday at the Forum
Queen + Adam Lambert celebrated Brian May's birthday by bringing their brand-new stage show to the Forum in Los Angeles, and we have exclusive photos. ultimateclassicrock.com/queen-brian-may-birthday-photos/ …
Queen + Adam Lambert had a couple of reasons to celebrate during their concert at the Forum in Los Angeles last night (July 19). For starters, it was guitarist Brian May's 72nd birthday, and they also paid tribute to May's other passion, astrophysics, by recognizing the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
After "I Want It All," the midway point of the main set, May went out to the end of the catwalk and addressed the crowd. "It's strange enough it's my birthday today," he said. "To tell you truly theres no place I'd rather be than right here. Thank you for being with us here tonight."
May then performed "Love of My Life" solo with a 12-string acoustic guitar while late frontman Freddie Mercury appeared on the screen. That led into "'39," which featured footage of the moon landing. Upon its conclusion, drummer Roger Taylor led the crowd in a round of "Happy Birthday."
Typically for Queen, they pulled out all the stops in the production, with the musicians occasionally making grand entrances via hydraulics, including Lambert rising up from the stage on a motorcycle for "Bicycle Race" and May following suit for his first guitar solo on "Bohemian Rhapsody." Lasers were used during "Who Wants to Live Forever" and the next number, May's recent solo song "New Horizons."
The stage was watched over by a crown-like ring that featured the band's logo, guitars and a drum kit with Frank, the News of the World robot, on the bass drum head. Silver columns framed the stage, with a red curtain leading to the backstage. You can see our exclusive photos below.
Queen + Adam Lambert will play the Forum again tonight, with the Rhapsody tour running through Aug. 23, when it concludes at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. You can get more info here.
Link to article and more photos: ultimateclassicrock.com/queen-brian-may-birthday-photos/
Queen And Adam Lambert Deliver A Masterful Show On All Levels At L.A. Forum
Steve Baltin @sbaltin
How have @queenwillrock and @adamlambert become one of the best touring shows in rock right now? They showed at @theforum in a masterful performance. For @forbeslife www.forbes.com/sites/stevebaltin/2019/07/20/queen-and-adam-lambert-deliver-a-masterful-show-on-all-levels-at-l-a-forum/#5d74d7b573cc
As Adam Lambert pointed out early in night one of two sold-out shows at L.A's Forum, he has been working with Queen for eight years now. So seeing the pairing together isn't new.
However, this is the first tour post the worldwide box office success of the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, which reminded a generation that grew up on Queen and showed those younger fans who might never have known it, Freddie Mercury is on the very shortlist of greatest rock frontman of all time.
With that in mind, it makes what Lambert and Queen have pulled off over the last few years even more stunning and impressive. In the annals of rock, I can only think of AC/DC, who recovered from the death of Bon Scott with Brian Johnson and their biggest album ever with Back In Black, and in more recent years, Alice In Chains, who carried on years after the death of Layne Staley with new singer William DuVall, and New Order, as bands that have been able to have a successful second act following the death of a frontman (yes, I may be forgetting others, I know).
But with all due respect to all of the great singers of those bands, as great as they were, and I am a fan of all of them, they weren't Mercury. It would have been Like Led Zeppelin going on without Robert Plant, Aerosmith without Steven Tyler, the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger. That is the rare company Mercury rests in in the pantheon of great rock lead singers.
So how did Queen and Adam Lambert pull off their stunning second act? For starters, Lambert, who is a remarkably gifted rock frontman in his own right, the guy is a superstar rock vocalist as he showed time and again, nailed it early on at the Forum.
"I'm gonna address the pink elephant in the room," he said, drawing laughs. "I'm not Freddie. There's no replacing Freddie Mercury because there's only one, one guy named Freddie Mercury."
Very simply, Lambert can never be Mercury, and he is smart enough and humble enough to put aside all ego and be comfortable being Adam Lambert, which, as I already said, is damn good. One thing Bohemian Rhapsody reminded everyone of is the incredible range of songs Queen produced in their career.
From fierce rockers like "Tie Your Mother Down" to the ballad of "We Are The Champions" to the playful operatic style of "Bicycle Race" to the slight disco feel of "Radio Gaga," Queen were masters of countless genres of rock, in part because of Mercury's incredible range. So for any singer to be able to step in and do all of those is a stunning feat. It should take three or four singers to be able to do all Mercury did and Lambert does it all with graceful ease as he did on this night, handling all of these songs brilliantly.
Yet, as great as he was, Lambert was only the co-star on this night. And so much of the reason this reboot of Queen works is because Lambert is a music fan, as he showed in our recent Who I Am talk (https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebaltin/2019/06/07/who-i-am-adam-lambert-on-bowie-burning-man-gaga-queen-the-who-and-more/#139f5448732f).
So he is excited and grateful to share the spotlight with the brilliant guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, as well as the rest of the band on tour right now. It's interesting to look at the positions of May and Taylor. Right or wrong, lead singers usually get the lion's share of attention in bands and when you are talking about someone as charismatic and dynamic as Mercury that is especially the case.
Yet, talk to other musicians they will rightfully point out May and Taylor are also among the all-time greats at guitar and drums respectfully. Part of the reason Queen is able to carry on was because it was a unit. And the band would not have been nearly as successful without May's riffs on songs like "Tie Your Mother Down" and the abbreviated "Keep Yourself Alive" they did on this night. And on this night, which happened to be his seventy-second birthday, he was on absolute fire.
Just as Mercury had incredible range, May showed off his versatility with an acoustic "Love Of My Life" in tribute to Mercury. It featured a magical moment where May says, "I have a present for you," and a large-screen clip of Mercury singing his part comes up.
That might be the biggest reason for the success of Queen and Lambert. Unlike so many other bands they are not trying to run from their past, nor are they over romanticizing it. May and Taylor lost a friend, a partner and band mate they clearly loved. And they treat it as such. The most impressive thing on a night that was spectacularly impressive on all levels was how gracefully they handled the tributes and celebration of Mercury.
This was a celebration of Mercury, but it was just as much a celebration of the spirit of Queen, of the incredible talents of Lambert, May and Taylor and it felt vibrant and vital. It was a tribute to the past, but just as much as it is a reminder of the past, these are musicians at the absolute top of their game now and it is a sheer joy to watch.
QAL North American Tour 2019
12 Jul Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
14 Jul San Jose, CA SAP Center
16 Jul Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena
19 Jul Los Angeles, CA The Forum
20 Jul Los Angeles, CA The Forum
23 Jul Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
24 Jul Houston, TX Toyota Center
27 Jul Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
28 Jul Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
30 Jul Washington, DC Capital One Arena
31 Jul Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
03 Aug Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
04 Aug Boston, MA Xfinity Center
06 Aug New York, NY Madison Square Garden
07 Aug New York, NY Madison Square Garden
09 Aug Chicago, IL United Center
10 Aug St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
13 Aug Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
15 Aug Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
17 Aug Ft. Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
18 Aug Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
20 Aug New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
22 Aug Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
23 Aug Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center