First things first. Who the heck does this American Idol Adam Lambert think he is trying to replace Freddie Mercury?! Oh this ought to be good. Die-hard Queen fans were hesitant, excited and cautiously curious to find out whether this young’un is THAT good or have Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May lost their marbles?
Toronto’s Air Canada Center was filled with anxious fans of multiple generations and every walk of life. The anticipation was growing and the crowds were cheering while waiting for Queen to hit the stage. Alas, forty minutes later, the giant head of the robot featured on their album News of the World emerged on a giant screen, punching a hole through the brick wall to unveil the band.
There is no comparing the two, but Lambert’s desire to live up to the challenge protrudes through his wailing vocals, as well as his exuberant stage presence. The show kicked off with a preview of “We Will Rock You/Hammer to Fall”, diving right into the killer 22-hit song catalog. Sure enough, Lambert’s campy stage presence as well as the ability to hit every song note for note had the crowd singing along.
Okay, so the die-hard fans were warming up to this guy, but still not completely convinced after “Stone Cold Crazy” or “Another One Bites the Dust”, and were cheering more for Queen’s Roger Taylor’s and Brian May’s outstanding drumming and strumming. Then “Fat Bottom Girls” came on and the entire Air Canada Center was rumbling with dancing fans.
It was during “Killer Queen” when Brian May had his first guitar solo, almost as if to ease the crowd before the giant robot head emerged from ground up with Lambert finally addressing the hot topic of the night…Is Lambert REALLY trying to replace Freddy Mercury?! Lambert addressed the fans by stating,
“I am going to address the big pink elephant in the room… I know what some of you are thinking out there, “He’s no Freddie Mercury pfft.” I know I know. There will only be ONE Freddie Mercury. I’m actually a fan just like you guys, I just get to be up here in the really expensive seat…I feel so fortunate and honoured to be bringing this music to life for fans all around the world! So thank you guys for giving me a chance tonight to keep these songs alive!”
From that point on, it was like a heavy weight was lifted from everyone’s shoulder and a mutual respect was found for not only Lambert but Queen also. The fans cheered, Lambert continued to blow everyone’s expectations out of the water with daring falsetto’s and mesmerizing harmonies, Brian May killed it with his solo guitar riff’s and Roger Taylor hit those drums like never before.
The highlights of the night included Brian May singing “The Love of My Life”, which he used to perform with Freddie. The waterworks were undeniable when Mercury appeared on the jumbo screen as if to appear singing the end of the song alongside May.
Toronto fans also had a chance to sing Happy Birthday to May who was turning 70 at midnight. Taylor, 67, also has a July birthday but at the rate that these guys are going, there is no stopping them anytime soon. With their overwhelmingly impressive and lengthy drum battle and guitar solos among amazing lights shows, they continue to impress the crowds, leaving goosebumps from head to toe.
If there were fans that were still scoffing at Lambert by the end of “Who Wants to Live Forever”, after “Bohemian Rhapsody”, there wasn’t one fan that wasn’t convinced of his talent to bring Freddie’s songs to life again.
By bringing his own style and daringly hitting notes exceeding his theatrical vocal abilities, six years of touring with the band, Lambert seems to have impressed May and Taylor and who knows, maybe even Freddie would have graciously approved.
The band ended the emotional roller coaster of a concert with an encore that included “We Will Rock You”, “We Are The Champions”, followed by explosive confetti and the band emerging with crowns on their heads, finishing of the night with “God Save The Queen”.
– Alyona Kravtsova