Queen + Adam Lambert

Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor) + Adam Lambert Announce North American Tour
Queen + Adam Lambert Pic: Kevin Mazur

Perth Arena

Friday, August 22, 2014

I can’t recall whose house it was, but I remember walking in with the family, being ignored by about 10 people who were mesmerised by what was on the black & white TV – the video to Bohemian Rhapsody. It was nothing like anyone had seen or heard before and it was incredible. Little did I know, this band would become my cult.

I bought my Mum A Night At The Opera for her birthday. Best present I ever bought. She hardly saw it after unwrapping it and it changed my life. The obsession began.

Living in London, the day after the great man Freddie Mercury died, this obsession found me in a crowded Logan Place, spending the whole day outside his house in mourning. Amongst all my thoughts, was one that I conceded I would never experience Queen live.

Things have changed since then.

In a sold out Perth Arena, clearly I wasn’t the only cult member. Despite the bleeding obvious, we were still seeing (Dr) Brian May and Roger Taylor. It’s all we could ask for and it’s enough. It’s the first time Queen has been to Perth since 1976 and the moment has finally arrived.

The curtain dropped to a smoke-filled stage and the silhouette of an easily recognisable Brian May was poking through the smoke. By the time the roar of the audience subsided, the two-hour set rushed headlong into Queen’s heavier side of Now I’m Here and Stone Cold Crazy, before funking it up with Another One Bites The Dust. To follow was a set to please both those who love their Greatest Hits and those who have an extensive ‘Q’ section in their record collection. Lesser known songs such as Lap Of The Gods and Dragon Attack were unexpected delights for cult members.

The sentimental segment was wonderful. Brian, by himself with acoustic guitar and after taking a selfie for Twitter, and telling how us how wonderful we all are, dropped a pretty big hint that it was time for a crowd sing-along. Maybe I was sitting in the wrong part of the arena, but this was my only disappointment. Why was I the only one singing along to Love Of My Life? Its what you do! Come on Perth, please learn the lyrics. We can’t have that happen again!

Disappointment turned to near tears when Freddie himself appeared live from heaven via satellite, finishing the song. He hasn’t aged a bit. Roger then joined Brian to sing Days Of Our Lives accompanied by rare video montage of the band. It was clear that this was an emotional moment for them, as it was for the rest of us. The moment was made even more special with Rufus Tiger Taylor (Roger’s son and Queens new other drummer) taking on percussion – yet another reason this show was special. The addition of newer members Rufus and Neil Fairclough (bass – his solo gave a stunning tribute to John Deacon), along with long-time live member, Spike Edney, was a nice blend of old and new, which gave a rejuvenated enthusiasm to the band.

Then there’s the man with the biggest shoes in music to fill. He wore them well. There can be only one and it would be wrong to compare Adam Lambert to His Holiness, however those fans that declined to go based on the great man’s absence, missed out on a very worthy and entertaining replacement. Lambert had the campness, charisma, the audience interaction and the vocals to fill those shoes better than anyone. He made it clear how honoured he was to be on that stage, filling in for his greatest idol. He took advantage of his moments in the spotlight, but for the best part, Lambert just let Queen’s music take care of itself.

This wasn’t just a nostalgia trip. It’s a rejuvenated formation carrying the legacy of one of the greatest bands ever. It was magnificent and despite the bleeding obvious, well worth the wait.