Queen & Adam Lambert (Melbourne, 2014)
You know which people are the worst? The people who hear the first few bars of Queen’s Under Pressure, and then get disappointed when it’s not Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby. Those people are a disgrace to society. Thankfully, there were none of those fools at Rod Laver Arena on Friday night. Although there were plenty of bogans in trackies as is the norm at that venue it seems. It’s freakin’ QUEEN – HAVE SOME GODDAMN RESPECT! But there was one thing we were all united in, and that was our love for the greatest band of all time.
I don’t see many concerts. In fact I’ve never seen a rock concert, just a few pop ones, and the great Peter Combe when I was four years old. Ask me who my favourite bands are and there won’t be any from this century. I doubted I’d ever get to see my favourite band, Queen, but this year I got my chance! Sans Freddie Mercury of course, but with the addition of the guy I’ve always said is this century’s Freddie – Adam Lambert. Of course he’s no replacement, but he is a worthy stand-in.
Even though they’re my favourite band, I’m not a hard-core Queen fan, and there were a few songs I wasn’t too familiar with (6 of 22). But when they did the classics, they BRUNK it! All the classics we know and love: Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Under Pressure, my favourite Somebody to Love, and of course the majors Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions. I FINALLY COULD SING ALONG AT A CONCERT! Instead of just bopping along like a tryhard to the inferior pop music of today. The only big number they didn’t do was Don’t Stop Me Now but I guess you can’t have it all when their catalogue is that chock-a-block full of brilliance. Can you even think of a band that could ever compare? I think not. Their music is out of this world, and so many of today’s artists cite them as influences, whilst of course never quite measuring up. Queen are freakin’ Gods.
Every time they spoke about Freddie or showed him up on the screens I felt more emotional than I’d anticipated. He was before my time and so I didn’t mourn along with the rest of the world when he passed away (or even know who he was). But GOD HE WAS GOOD! What a presence. Some reviewers seem hell bent on complaining that the show wasn’t good enough without him, but do they really think the other option of just no show at all is preferable? Screw that. Give Adam Lambert a chance – his voice is PHENOM. And he knew he wasn’t there to replace anyone – he was extremely humble and I respect him big time. Brian May obviously does too, and are you going to question his taste? I think not.
For a guy pushing seventy, Brian May still has it. His folksy number in the middle of the show wasn’t a knockout – although he deserved more credit than what he was offered by the bogans who went to get Shiraz in plastic cups from the foyer during it. Have some respect, bogans. The guy is practically royalty. When he did the amazing guitar solos he is known for, he killed it. Roger Taylor was similarly impressive as an oldie on the drum kit, and the drum-off he had with son Rufus was pretty cool. (Imagine if your Dad was in QUEEN!) It was a little odd that they made no mention of fourth band member, John Deacon, who retired some years ago.
I have to mention the lady who sat in front of us. I personally decided at the start of the show that I would only take one photo for the night, because watching a show through a camera is a waste of an experience. I actually took three – my bad. But that was nothing on this woman. She spent no less than 2.5 songs looking down at her phone, creating an Instacollage of photos from the night, and uploading it to Facebook with the caption “Enjoying Queen”. ARE YOU, LADY? ARE YOU REALLY? You paid $160 to see the greatest band of all time and will probably never again have the experience, and you needed to update your Facebook DURING THE SHOW? COULD IT NOT WAIT UNTIL AFTERWARDS? I could not even comprehend the stupidity. She literally did not look up in that whole time. I’m annoyed I wasted my time watching her, but it’s hard to ignore when there’s a bloody phone light in your face!
This was the first concert I’ve been to that I truly felt happy at – partly because I’d put the camera/phone away, and also because I actually knew the words to most of the songs. There’s something about We Are the Champions that musters up some emotion in me – I think it’s because it was always the soundtrack to my fantasy of the Swans winning the premiership (which they then did TWICE – BOOYEAH!) but man, this music will always live on as some of the best. All hail Queen. And put your bloody phones away.