Queen and Adam Lambert reigned supreme as they brought The Rhapsody Tour to Chicago’s United Center for a night crammed with all the hits.
Queen are certainly at the forefront of public consciousness following the box office smash, Bohemian Rhapsody. These rock icons will always draw the crowds, but looking at the variety of age groups in attendance, it certainly looks like the film has had a positive effect in making the younger generations more aware and appreciative of their music.
For the last eight years, Adam Lambert has stepped into the role of vocalist, but as he is clear to point out, he isn’t there to replace Freddie Mercury. They would be some pretty big shoes to fill! As it is, he pays homage and respect to the larger than life former frontman, whilst also including a lot of his own personality in the performance. He had all the required swagger and panache with a healthy dose of camp, and a vocal range to die for.
Brian May, Roger Taylor and Lambert all had their moments in the spotlight throughout the night. Lambert appeared thoroughly at ease draped across the revolving motorcycle during “The Bicycle Race.” Taylor’s main moments included taking the vocals for “I’m In Love With My Car” and expertly harmonizing with Lambert for “Under Pressure.” Brian May performed a stripped-down “Love Of My Life” which brought a tear to everyone’s eye as Mercury appeared on the video screens as if he was interacting with May. Asking everyone to shine their cell phones instead of the usual lighters, you could be excused for thinking the house lights had come on, and really added to the sentiment of the moment. Astrophysicist May also took to the rafters to perform on a virtual asteroid – how can you top that?
Freddie Mercury may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten. It was impossible not to feel emotional at various points throughout the night. It felt at times as though Lambert was channeling him right there on the stage. At other times, you were transported back to famous past performances such as when Freddie lead the audience in call and response of “Ay-Oh”.
As the song says, the show must go on, and it surely will. Based on the evidence of this show, there is certainly no lack of love and support for Queen. Regardless of the recent movie release, you feel that the audience will continue to come as long as the band sees fit to tour. It’s incredible to think that May and Taylor are now in their seventies, and of how long ago so many of the songs they performed were released. It’s still impossible not to join in with the stomp-stomp-clap of “We Will Rock You” or the Wayne’s World reenactment of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The music transcends time and remains as relevant today as it ever was, as evidenced by the span of ages in the audience.
Throughout the night Taylor provides that thumping backbeat and May expertly knocks out those iconic Queen riffs in that unmistakable tone that regularly makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Whilst it’s impossible to see the band without thinking of Mercury, this is much more than some kind of simple “tribute” show, and a great deal of credit should go to Lambert for that. Throughout the night he expertly walks the tightrope between honoring the legacy of Freddie and putting his personal stamp on things. As a result, the band still feel vital and seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage and those good vibes pass to every member of the audience at the United Center. Queen will indeed still rock you if you let them, and we’d suggest that you do.
The US tour continues through August 23.QUEEN
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