Queen + Adam Lambert’s Rhapsody Tour kicked off on Wednesday night to a smoke-filled Rococo inspired stage at Rogers Arena. It was an absolute onslaught of monumental hits from the drop-dead bass line of Another One Bites The Dust to Rodger Taylor’s absurd motor-driven I’m In Love With My Car.
This is the first of a 41-stop world tour running until February 2020. The tour was announced after the box office success of the Academy Award winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The film, which focused on the band’s legendary frontman Freddie Mercury and his rise to stardom, proved there is a voracious appetite for the timeless anthemic classics; even if sequins and rhinestones replace Queen’s crown jewel.
“I’d like to address the elephant in the room,” said Lambert after an abridged rendition of Killer Queen early in the show. “I’m not Freddie Mercury” Lambert professed before laying out the evening’s premise, “can you make me a promise? Can you and I celebrate Freddie Mercury together?” The crowd roared with the challenge and Lambert launched into a solid imitation of Mr. Fahrenheit in Don’t Stop Me Now.
Lambert isn’t new to the Queen scene. The American Idol runner-up has been belting out ballads on tour with the band since 2014. With original members Brian May and Roger Taylor, Lambert is evidently a winning addition, helping sell out the first leg of North American shows with the promise of a nostalgic punch laced with new-age glam.
Fans ate up Lambert’s cocky confidence. He spent most of the performance strutting the stage in various regal outfits; from a silver tassel top to a gold studded red jacket complete with a cheeky crown atop his head to cap off the concert’s confetti laden final combo We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions.
From throwing a wink and a kiss to the crowd to scissor kicking sequin heels over the back of a Harley-Davidson during Bicycle, Lambert is a natural showman. There’s an undeniable energy he brings to the stage and it’s matched with a vocal range that gives life to a catalogue of songs that are mostly older than Lambert himself.
Brian May and his Red Special guitar rang out a string of iconic solos and nailed heavy riffs to showstoppers like Fat Bottomed Girls, Tie Your Mother Down, and Hammer To Fall. The good doctor of astrophysics even treated the audience to a trip around the stars, playing an ethereal drone solo while raised above stage, seemingly hovering amongst projections of planets and galaxies.
Despite the slightly muddied arena sound and occasional unwelcomed feedback, there wasn’t a dull moment. Lambert delivers a solid performance while May and Taylor ensures Queen’s legacy reigns for generations to come. With the pomp and pageantry associated with the band’s royal history, one couldn’t help but relish in the irony that the tour’s launch coincides only days after Mercury’s retrograde. Be it a celestial jest or turning a cosmic blind eye, Freddie, of all people, knows The Show Must Go On.