No one can replace the singular Freddie Mercury but Brian May and Roger Taylor have hit paydirt with American vocalist Adam Lambert, who is now an established part of the Queen heritage circus, bringing spectacular shapeshifting vocals which glide effortlessly between hard rock, pop opera and musical theatre, plus natural charisma, camp playfulness and enough of an ego to want to put his own stamp on proceedings rather than settle for being a Mercury proxy.
Queen & Adam Lambert, Glasgow Hydro ****
The joyous, lusty Queen catalogue is a gift for any entertainer. There was great fun to be had with the jubilantly un-PC Fat Bottomed Girls. For its partner track, Bicycle Race, Lambert mounted a pink tricycle with built-in mike stand and sat atop a large model of “Frank”, the robot from the cover of News of the World, for an uber-camp Killer Queen.
Queen custodians Taylor and May remain the main event for many. Both happily covered Lambert’s costume changes with gritty lead vocals (Taylor) and toilet break solos (May) but Lambert could have wooed the most resistant quarry with his soulful rock vocal on I Want It All, gospel trills on Under Pressure and tour de force renditions of Somebody to Love and Who Wants To Live Forever.
Confident they can never push it too far, May emerged resplendent in bacofoil cape for a virtuosic Bohemian Rhapsody, which dovetailed into the iconic video, before Lambert strutted in Queenly finery through the air-punching anthems We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.