Entertainment Music

Review

Queen and Adam Lambert rock Toronto crowd

By Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

Entertainment Review

Queen and Adam Lambert

5 stars

  • Location: Air Canada Centre
TORONTO - 

Well, they promised to rock us and Queen + Adam Lambert delivered.

And then some.

Their Air Canada Centre show on Tuesday night in front of a packed crowd began with a teaser of the Queen classic We Will Rock You, which would be revisited in its entirety almost two hours later during their encore punctuated by an explosion of yellow confetti, all of the key band members wearing crowns and a recording of God Save The Queen.

In between, the veteran British rockers - guitarist Brian May, who turned 70 on Wednesday so the crowd sang Happy Birthday to him a night early, and drummer Roger Taylor, 67 - and their much younger singer Adam Lambert, 35, of American Idol fame, had a lot of fun during a fast-paced and slick show that had steam blasts and laser lights but was also big on emotion.

The main source of joy, other than hearing one Queen classic after the other stacked with May’s signature solos and Taylor’s muscular drumming, was the soaring-voiced, loose-limbed Lambert, who had more costume changes than Cher, and never met a piece of leather or sequin he didn't like.

“Is this the gayest suit you’ve ever seen?” he asked when he had changed out of initial black leather duds into a jewel encrusted three-piece pink suit and sequined heels for Killer Queen, which saw him rise out of the stage on top of a giant head.

Lambert, who has been touring with Queen since 2012, also wisely addressed what he called “the pink elephant in the room” - the fact that it was him singing and not the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury, the latter who appeared throughout the show in video performances prompting a big reaction.

“I know, I know, you think, ‘He’s no Freddie Mercury.' Well, there’s only one Freddie Mercury. I get to play on stage with my heroes.”

The first big highlight of the night was Fat Bottomed Girls, which encouraged a major crowd sing-along as the band played on a stage dominated by a circular video screen above and a long catwalk in the shape of an electric guitar onto which May and Lambert ventured out early and often.

Lambert’s own new song, Two Fux, was poppier than Queen’s harder-rock sound but its fun spirit dovetailed nicely with the euphoric mood.

And for Bicycle Race, Lambert climbed on a bright pink bicycle and raced along the catwalk before Taylor took over on vocals for I’m In Love With My Car behind his drum kit.

May strapped on an acoustic guitar and made his way to the front of the catwalk to perform Love of My Life while everyone’s cellphone lit up, which was when Mercury made his first video performance right at the end of the song producing the concert's big goosebumps moment.

“This is an amazing reception,” said May. “It’s just great to be back in your beautiful city.”

Other memorable songs included I Want It All, Somebody To Love, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, I Want To Be Free, Radio Ga Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody, and the encore one-two punch of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.

Taylor also engaged in an impressive drum battle at the front of the catwalk with percussionist Tyler Warren at the back of the stage on the drum riser. (The other two touring members are keyboardist Spike Edney and bassist Neil Fairclough.)

And when Taylor dedicated Under Pressure to David Bowie, followed by Lambert’s near-operatic vocals on the solemn Who Wants To Live Forever, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

It was emotional but heartfelt and never too heavy - just the right mix of light and love for those dearly missed.

SET LIST

  • We Will Rock You (teaser)
  • Hammer to Fall
  • Stone Cold Crazy
  • Another One Bites the Dust
  • Fat Bottomed Girls
  • Killer Queen
  • Two Fux
  • Don’t Stop Me Now
  • Bicycle Race
  • I’m in Love With My Car
  • Get Down, Make Love
  • I Want It All
  • Love of My Life
  • Somebody to Love
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Drum Battle
  • Under Pressure
  • I Want to Break Free
  • Who Wants to Live Forever
  • Guitar Solo
  • Radio Ga Ga
  • Bohemian Rhapsody

ENCORE

  • We Will Rock You
  • We Are the Champions
  • God Save the Queen extro