Freddie Mercury is a legend that will never be forgotten for many reasons, one of which being how much impact he had on the world of music – in fact, he’s still influencing artists now. It’s clear that Adam Lambert, who shot to fame while competing on American Idol, respects that – his intention is not to emulate or replace Mercury, but pay homage to him as he performs with remaining Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. The American singer has got it all when it comes to showmanship – he struts across the stage, captivating the audience with every move. That’s when you become aware that Lambert is definitely one artist that is the way he is because of Freddie Mercury.
Manchester Arena was abuzz with excitement leading up to 8PM. The stage was hidden behind a banner emblazoned with the band’s world renowned logo, adding to the surprise element that had the entire arena cheering as May’s shadow appeared behind the curtain to kick off the opening riff of ‘One Vision’. Seconds later the stage and Queen were unveiled in all their legendary glory, Lambert following soon after to lend his vocal to the two men who started it all. Towering over everyone in glittered, high heeled boots, Lambert is every bit the perfect frontman and has no problem proving why he is just right for the job of carrying on Mercury’s legacy.
‘Stone Cold Crazy’ and ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ carried on, and it wasn’t long before the majority of anyone who was in the seating arena of the arena was on their feet to sing along and cheer on one of Britain’s best musical exports. The set list was generally a crowd pleaser, featuring ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’ and ‘Killer Queen’ – the latter of which saw Lambert drape himself across a throne-like couch at the end of the catwalk attached to the stage.
Once Lambert had belted out ‘Somebody To Love’, May remained the only person on the stage to perform an acoustic rendition of ‘Love Of My Life’ – a song written by Mercury and therefore dedicated to him – as May conducted the arena to help him out. Roger Taylor then appeared to perform ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ which a montage of Mercury, May and Taylor during their hey day appeared on the big screen behind.
A bass solo from Manchester’s very own Neil Fairclough, touring bassist of Queen, and then a drum battle between Taylor and the band’s touring drummer, Rufus Tiger Taylor, it wasn’t long after that Lambert strutted back on to the stage with an apparent outfit change to take on ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’.
One flaw, sadly, was the length in which there wasn’t much going on. With a guitar solo that didn’t really seem to engage the audience, it wasn’t until the band kicked back in to their set that the crowd seemed to switch back on and pay attention to what was before them. Finishing off their main set was ‘I Want It All’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and of course, fan favourite ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ which had the arena’s 21,000 capacity rocking out in a manner straight out of Wayne’s World, it really is no surprise that this band is still going strong years later despite fate not being entirely on their side.
An encore consisted of ‘We Will Rock You’, which surely shook the building, then ‘We Are The Champions’ before the band took a bow in front of one mighty applause while ‘God Save The Queen’ played in the background. Lambert may not be Mercury, but his presence is definitely appreciated by both the band and lasting fans because instead of brushing Mercury’s existence under the carpet, his life is celebrated in each and every concert that the newly constructed band perform – needless to say, it really is “Queen Forever”.
Photos by Kelly Hamilton.