Queen + Adam Lambert, Arena Birmingham - review with pictures
They promised to rock us and they did - last night Queen + Adam Lambert brought an absolutely unforgettable show to Arena Birmingham.
An under-whelming banner simply with the acts name emblazoned across donned the stage, to confused looks from the crowd.
Any ides that this show would not be a theatrical wonder evaporated instantly as this faux-metal banner was broken by a projection of Queen's lovable stone mascot Frank - who lifted the sign to reveal the rock icons in all of their glory.
The crowd erupted at the mere sight of original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who left jaws hanging on the floor with their effortless-looking instrumental solos.
It is a large task to step into the shoes of rock icon Freddie Mercury - and this is something American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert addressed almost instantly.
"Now I know what you may be thinking" Adam shouted from a platform that jutted into the crowd, boldly dressed in a bright pink suit and glittering platform heels. "You may be thinking, 'he's no Freddie Mercury', and you're right! There has only been one god on this Earth that goes by the name of Freddie Mercury!"
He may not be Freddie Mercury, but Lambert dazzled the crowd in his own right and did Mercury's legend justice by channelling his raw talent during every moment he spent onstage.
From the first notes of Hammer to Fall and Stone Cold Crazy, Lambert displayed the energy of a blazing sun - strutting and sashaying across the stage like a king.
This blatant confidence was matched only by his vocals. Every note that came out of his mouth was simply mesmerising and breathed oodles of life into the already iconic tracks.
Adam Lambert is born to be on stage and entertaining the masses - when he was not singing pitch-perfect, he was sitting on the head of an animatronic Frank during Killer Queen or jumping on a tricycle to ride around the stage during Bicycle Race - to erupting laughter from the crowd.
He may not be Freddie Mercury, but Adam Lambert channelled the same passion the star had for Queen. It was evident he was honoured to play with the band every second that he was on stage, and this was moving to watch.
Lambert wasn't the only person paying a fitting tribute to Freddie Mercury - guitarist Brain May left no dry eyes in the house through an acoustic rendition of Love of My Life, in which Mercury himself joined May through the onstage screen as lighters and phones lit up the arena in a vigil.
"We've lost count of the amount of times we've been in Birmingham. You give us the best welcomes! Who'd have thought I'd still be here doing this at 89?" May shouted, to screams from the dazzled crowd.
The crowd was enamoured with the entire spectacle of Queen + Adam Lambert from start to finish - through rocking renditions of Fat Bottomed Girls and Another One Bites the Dust to erupting sing-alongs Don't Stop Me Now and Somebody to Love - even the most simple of dance moves or musical interludes had the crowd's complete attention.
It was easy to see why - not only did the band sound absolutely note perfect, the level of craftsmanship that had gone into the show itself was remarkable.
Notable moments included Brian May being elevated above the stage as he performed a mind-bending guitar solo in space; and a Metropolis-esque backdrop packed full of flashing lights and exploding smoke cannons for smash hit Radio Ga Ga.
The band ended their set on a truly awe-inspiring cover of one of Queen's most notable hits Bohemian Rhapsody - in which they firmly disproved any rumours that Queen simply aren't the same without Freddie Mercury.
Lambert's vocals were effortlessly powerful and displayed an incredible range, Brain May's guitar solos were soaring high as ever, Spike Edney's piano interludes induced goosebumps across the room, and the bass stylings of Neil Fairclough provided the heart beat for the whole ensemble. All of this was knitted together by the heart-pounding drum rolls of Roger Taylor, whose light-speed arm actions were truly unbelievable.
This was simply not enough for the crowd, who begged for even more hits - and they were granted their wish as the band graced the stage once more for an encore comprising of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.
Confetti cannons and strobe lights rained down over the stunned crowd inside Arena Birmingham, marking the end of what can only be described as a totally flawless show.
There is no question in my mind that Queen are still the champions of the world.
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