As the massive crown rises from the vast stage to the gods at the AO Arena, it couldn’t be a more royal opening for the queen of rock to return to an epic performance in Manchester. With Adam Lambert providing flawless vocals surrounded by timeless rock giants Queen Brian May and Roger Taylor, we got an advanced score in a two-and-a-half hour rock performance on Monday night.
While Adam may be the young blood in this setting, guitar icon Brian and drummer Roger are stepping back the years in a show so energetic that rockers of their half-life will struggle to compete with him. This is rock performance at its highest and most glamorous, and the sold-out crowd in Manchester can’t get enough of it.
Not that the Queen offers half-measures here. They arrive on stage just after eight in the evening, after which the anthem is played after the massive rock anthem for two and a half hours.
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Here, finally, on the Rhapsody tour two and a half years after it was first scheduled, the night looks very special for both the band and their fans. The forced closure gap brought new vitality and determination to make this as memorable as possible.
Brian says the same when he steps out onto the center stage with his acoustic guitar during a special segment of the show. “Beautiful people in Manchester,” he says, “I’m kind of putting pressure on myself because we’re already here.”
“I know 98.5 percent of you bought your tickets two and a half years ago, and yet absolutely through everything you kept in your tickets I tip my hat to you,” he said to huge cheers from the crowd that ran out. “It’s a very emotional moment for us,” he adds.
Obviously, the feeling is completely mutual. “We love you, Brian,” they yell to a succession of men of the North whom the occasion has clearly overtaken.
In Adam, the band’s lead singer for the past 10 years, you guessed it, we also have the perfect showman. From the moment he began to strut, resplendent with his sparkling black top hat and tails, arching his gorgeous twinkling brows, the audience was in the palm of his leather-gloved hand.
No, he’s not Freddie Mercury nor is he trying to be. American Idol states right from the start that he’s “a fan, just like all of you out there – I’m so lucky to have been sharing the stage with these guys for ten years now.”
He adds, “I know it’s a tough job, but I come here and pay tribute to the one and only incomparable rock god Freddie Mercury. So promise me we can sing together and celebrate Freddy and celebrate the Queen.”
It hits the perfect tune—just as Adam does with flawless, merciless perfection throughout this show. His vocal range is truly amazing as he easily handles the musical melodrama of the Queen’s Anthems – highlights include the spine-tingling Who Wants to Live Forever and of course the epic conclusion to Bohemian Rhapsody.
He’s coquettish as he strokes a red fan to calm himself on top of his grand piano to perform the sizzling queen of the killer, and licks the microphone to give an after-scratch vibe: “Insatiable appetite.”
For bike racing, he appears on what else? But the Harley is studded with bling, with a leather biker suit complete with silver rivets to match. I mean it couldn’t be much more than that.
He treats the vocal gymnastics required in Queens’ back catalog as as easy as singing a nursery rhyme. It’s truly amazing – and he showed off full dramatic effect as he sang a red-lit Noel filling every crack in the ring, while Axman Bryan voices his response before blasting off at I Want It All.
This show has everything you could possibly want out of a rock saga – screeching guitar solos, huge bursts of steam, fireworks shooting off Mai’s guitar head…it really is awesome.
When Brian returns for one of his legendary guitar solos, he’s on top of a giant asteroid no less. It hammers the strings as planets and stars revolve around it through the wonders of technology – I mean what optical OTT handles.
She also has that rocky, beating heart for a band formed in 1970. When Roger took to singing for the epic “I’m in Love with My Car,” we got that thorny, rocky edge of a life we live in the fast track — and it sounds amazing. They are accompanied by extraordinary visuals on the epic stage as we go faster and faster down a very strange highway.
Then come 15,000 camera phones that light up the Love of My Life that Brian sings with his acoustic guitar. As if camera phones weren’t magical enough, Freddy then appears on the big video screens as if right next to Brian.
His voice fills the plaza and it seems, for a moment, that he will be back with us. It is a proper teardrop warrior.
While on-screen Freddy applauds Brian and a cheeky wiggle of his butt, Brian smiles and claps in return. “You know he’s always with us,” he said as we all resisted a small tear.
Roger returns to the stage to sing a sentimental song This Is the Days of Our Lives as a series of old videos for the full band are played. When Adam returns to join them, it’s a beautifully moving moment as Roger dedicates under pressure to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, resulting in a stunning and fitting escalation.
The natural conclusion to this show is the rock opera Bohemian Rhapsody, where we enjoy Brian standing on stage in a steamy shootout with metal body armor like a robotic guitar warrior.
The big-screen appearance by arrogant Freddy appeared on the best Live Aid show of the ’80s, leading audiences with his hit movie “Ay Oh.” Then Brian retreats with the familiar strains of We Will Rock You.
Adam returns with his right gold crown and bejeweled jacket to wrap up the night with the epic song of We Are the Champions as if he were the victor of a glorious musical boxing match. He knows, like the rest of the 15,000-strong crowd, that they smashed it here.
For those returning for Round Two on Tuesday in Manchester, you are in for a wonderful, wonderful and wonderful feast.
Group List – May 30, 2022
On the Monday night show, Quinn arrived on stage just after 8.05pm, and the show concluded at 10:30pm.
I’m here now
Seven seas of barley
hammer to fall
Someone you love
do not stop me now
In the bosom of the gods…Review
I’m in love with my car
Girls with big ass
Someone else fought the sand
I want it all
love of my life
These are the days of our lives
Crazy little thing called love
kind of magic
i want to break free
You take my breath away
Who wants to live forever
Tie your mom down
show must go on
Radio Ja Ja
we will Rock You
We are the champions
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