Concert Reviews

Adam Lambert Knows He's No Freddie Mercury, But He Does Just Fine with Queen

Queen's set Friday was backed up by an elaborate light show, videos and archival footage from the band's era with iconic frontman Freddie Mercury.
Queen's set Friday was backed up by an elaborate light show, videos and archival footage from the band's era with iconic frontman Freddie Mercury. Pablo Peña
Queen + Adam Lambert
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Friday, Aug. 4, 2017

It’s been six years since TV pop idol Adam Lambert partnered with Queen as the band’s vocalist in the place of the legendary Freddie Mercury. But Friday night, longtime members Brian May and Roger Taylor performed as if the beloved late frontman was still onstage.

Rock 'n' roll fans of all generations filled nearly every seat at American Airlines Center. When the room darkened, the giant robot from the cover of 1977's News of the World smashed through a digital concrete wall. The animated robot then lifted the wall to reveal the band as the timeless, thumping drumbeat of “We Will Rock You” kicked off the set, followed by the more energetic and speedy “Stone Cold Crazy.” Lambert's vocals were brilliant and gave the songs a 21st-century twist.

After finishing off “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Killer Queen," Lambert paid tribute to Mercury. “I know some of you out there are probably thinking, 'Pffft, it’s no Freddie Mercury, though!’ No shit,” he stoicly jested. “There will only be, for all of time, one rock god: Freddie Mercury.”

Lambert went on to remind the fans that before he competed on American Idol in 2009, he was just like everyone in the audience. Now he's onstage and gets to wear what he described as “the gayest suit you’ve ever seen," a dazzling violet blazer adorned with roses and matching pants.

"I know some of you out there are probably thinking, 'Pffft, it's no Freddie Mercury, though!" Adam Lambert said. "No shit."

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Lambert hailed Mercury as one of the best vocalists, composers, dressers and all-around rock stars of all time.

“He would get onstage or do an interview and go about his daily life, and he didn’t care what anybody thought. And in today’s world, we are kind of screwed, you know? We got those comment sections,” he said. “But Freddie, he wouldn’t have been shaken. Because if anybody would give Freddie any shit whatsoever, he didn’t give two fucks.”

When Lambert finished his address, the group performed its new frontman's summer single “Two Fux” before diving back into Queen classics “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Bicycle Race.” For the latter, Lambert rode a decorated cruiser bike on stage. An elaborate light show matched the band’s high-caliber performance.

Perhaps the most touching moment of the night came when May performed a solo acoustic rendition of “Love of My Life." Mercury appeared on the jumbo screen to the delight of the audience.

After finishing the song, May spoke about the first time the band came to Dallas 40 years ago. “I was thinking, 'Folks this is Dallas and this is a very special night. I don’t know when we’ll be back here,'” he said with a somber tone.

Then, Taylor and percussionist Tyler Warren had an intense drum battle, leading into “Under Pressure” and other Queen hits. They finished off the set with “Bohemian Rhapsody," set to a backdrop of archival footage from the famous music video, and “We Are the Champions." The audience was as loud as Lambert.

When it was over, the band took a bow in front of its iconic gold crest as gold confetti rained through the arena. Forty-seven years into its career, Queen proved it can still hold an audience in the palm of its hand.
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