Seeing Queen live was a once in a lifetime opportunity: especially since the band itself hasn't really been consistently active since Freddie Mercury died in 1991.
Mercury was one in a million - his death casting a long shadow for the surviving members: Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Deacon, the quiet bass player retired from the public limelight in 1997 and Taylor and May have played on and off under the Queen moniker ever since. Earlier this year it was announced that Queen, with its current singer Adam Lambert, would be embarking on world tour. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see them at Perth Arena on August 22nd.
The concert started off with the Queen emblem draped across a purple curtain. The opening song "Now I'm Here" started off the bombastic concert with everyone on the edge of their seats. We were treated to renditions of early Queen songs such as "Seven Seas of Rhye" and "Stone Cold Crazy" with the lineup of Lambert, May and Taylor performing the lesser-known deep cuts with great enthusiasm.
Then came several of the bigger hits in rapid-fire succession: "Another One Bites The Dust", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love" and "I Want It All", with everyone singing along to the lyrics heard around the world thousands of times a day. Infectious music that proves how skillfully the band managed to inhabit different genres of music such as gospel, heavy rock, country, vaudeville and funk; yet still somehow sound so distinctive, and unlike anything else.
Brian May greeted the audience with an acoustic guitar for two songs: "Love of My Life" and "39". The late Mercury joining him for a duet via archive footage for "Love of My Life" and Roger bringing out the drum kit for "39", before the two moved on to a moving rendition of "These are the Days of Our Lives."
Other highlights of the show included Lambert's vocal prowess throughout "Who Wants To Live Forever," the rockabilly classic "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," the stadium rock chant "Radio Ga Ga", and (for this tour) the world premiere of the infamous "I Want To Break Free." However the crowning moment of the light (no surprises here)was "Bohemian Rhapsody": one of the greatest songs ever written, with the beloved Mercury performing the "mamma, just killed a man" section. This was a strange experience,as it was almost as though Mercury's presence was being channeled. Shivers down my spine indeed!
The encore of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" will forever live in my mind, as will the genuine nature of Brian May and Roger Taylor: amazing to see two aging rock stars of their stature with over forty years in the industry performing with smiles on their faces like giddy teenagers. They truly are living legends and amazing musicians. Lambert may not be Mercury (who is hands down the greatest frontman of all time), but the new boy certainly won over the audience. This was (if you pardon the pun) a kind of magic!