Review: Queen + Adam Lambert @ Adelaide Oval

Queen+Adam Lambert played Adelaide Oval 26 February, 2020.

Some bands are born in the family garage; others achieve great things on stages around the world.

Then there are the very few bands who have greatness thrust upon them and will forever be labelled ‘legendary’ (to loosely paraphrase Shakespeare, although I’m sure he must have been talking about Queen anyway).

The much-anticipated Queen+Adam Lambert 'The Rhapsody Tour' landed at Adelaide Oval last night (26 February), greeted by a 50,000-strong crowd.

Since the release of 2018's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' film, a whole, new generation of Queen fans have gone ‘Radio Gaga’ for songs that have become synonymous with the word genius.

Image © Lisa Vincent

Fans old and young alike, each waited with bated breath to hear that first chord from Brian May, that first drum roll from Roger Taylor, and that first, flawless note from the mouth of Adam Lambert.

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Opening with ‘Innuendo’, which ran into the very fitting ‘Now I’m Here’, the crowd wasted no time getting to their feet and singing along. In fact, bottoms were rarely found in seats for the remainder of the night.

‘Somebody To Love’ lit the stage in a glowing, purple hue as planes coming in to land flew over the Oval; I’m sure those onboard would have been able to see the show from above.

Then in typical Freddie/ Adam flamboyant style, ‘Killer Queen’ saw Adam lay down on the piano and pull out a large, red fan spreading his legs and teasing the crowd.

Image © Lisa Vincent

Though perhaps something Freddie might have also done, Adam did well throughout the entire show to bring his own personality, and of course vocal gymnastics, to the stage and not to mimic or ride heavily on the coat-tails of the man who once would have stood where he stood.

It was at this point Adam addressed the crowd humbly: “I would like to thank the two men without whom this night would not be possible: Brian May and Roger Taylor.

“I’ve been working with these guys for eight years now. . . and I’m very lucky and very humbled to be singing the songs of Queen and the irreplaceable, one and only Freddie Mercury.”

‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and ‘I Want It All’ ran one after the another effortlessly, almost as if they had performed this show more than 180 times. But it was the theatrics of ‘Bicycle Race’ that had everyone cheering.

Adam rose from the front of the stage straddling a motorbike, thrusting his pelvis and seductively leaning over the handlebars while singing: “I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride it where I like.”

Brian came forward with his acoustic guitar to introduce the next song, as “a simple song he and an old friend named Freddie used to sing many many years ago”. The older crowd members sang along in the night sky, as those younger audience members pulled out their phones to light up the darkness in a show of respect for Brian, Freddie and the song ‘Love Of My Life’.

Image © Lisa Vincent

“I love seeing the all your lights shining. It’s the only thing iPhones are good for I think. . . sorry Apple,” offered a cheeky Brian.

Only a few songs later, Brian’s electric guitar solo soared through the night as he stood metres off the stage, hovering over us. The respect from the crowd as we watched the man of 72 years age play faultlessly only grew more intense.

Radio favourites that I have grown up with, such as ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ were not left out. But it was songs that I perhaps didn’t know as well that I found most compelling.

‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ was eerie and almost supernatural under coloured strobe lighting and smoke machines. My mouth gaped open as I witnessed it and thought how far a cry it was from one of my favourite songs as a 15 year old, ‘Whatya Want From Me’ which rocketed Adam to the top of international charts in 2009.

Image © Lisa Vincent

But hands down the standout for the night was the epic and dramatic ‘The Show Must Go On’, which has already hit the top of my favourite playlist. The vocal prowess, the sensational music, and the production behind the performers had goosebumps covering my entire body.

In this moment, we almost forgot there was another version of the song because it was all Adam. Controversially, I think he might have even topped Freddie on this one.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ hit the stage and just about every jaw had hit the ground by the end of the song. No one dared to dream they might hear that song live again after Freddie passed away way back in 1991. And to bring it to little ol’ Adelaide, we will all be eternally grateful.

Freddie introduced the encore with ‘Ay-oh’ on the big screen as everyone repeated the chant back to him, laughing when his immortal figure told us to “f... off”. The boys pulled out ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’ to perfectly and very accurately round out the night.

Image © Lisa Vincent

Truly one of the more spectacular shows I have ever seen. Epic production, legendary songs, and 50,000 of my closest friends coming together to witness and pay tribute to the myth and the magic that is Queen.

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