If you could go back to any decade in your life, which one would you choose? Last Saturday night, the choice was made for me when we attended the Queen with Adam Lambert concert at KeyArena in Seattle.
On the surface, it would be easy to say, “Oh, yeah, another rock band from the 70s with a couple of the surviving members and some other lead singer.” While that’s a fair description of a lot of vintage bands out there, this is not just an exception, but an example for all the others.
Let’s start with Queen. If you’re old enough to remember them when they first came on the music scene, the next words you should be saying to yourself is Freddie Mercury. His four-octave range and flamboyant lifestyle took us all to places we had never been before. At a time when the world was dancing to a disco beat, he lead his group through a pop music revolution. Oh, it was rock, but a produced, sometimes classical or operatic sound. When a new Queen album came out, you never knew what you were going to encounter.
Queen started becoming incredibly relevant as my twenties arrived–that decade of metamorphosis where you begin post-college adulthood, take that first job in the field you plan to spend your entire working career and find out if that’s true. Back in those days, it was when marriage broke out and people started having kids. I turned 20 in 1975. Two months and a day later, Queen released their epic album, “A Night at the Opera.” The title appealed to me because it matched the name of a Marx Brothers movie. The music world embraced it because of songs like “You’re my Best Friend” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The decade of my twenties went from 1975-85. So much happened in my life during that stretch of time from getting married and moving from Yakima to Seattle, to having two kids and starting to climb the ladder of my radio career. As fans gathered at KeyArena last Saturday night, Queen took the stage and played the soundtrack of that decade for me, as well as offering flashbacks to my college rock concert days.
Queen with Adam Lambert to the casual music ear might seem like a stretch. A classic rock band and with the runner-up of American Idol’s 8th season? It couldn’t be a better match.
Queen guitarist Brian May hasn’t missed a beat. Plug in that guitar and you’ll soon be enjoying that classic Queen sound.
Roger Taylor drummed his way through the evening like he was still in his twenties, even offering up the classic rock concert drum solo.
Then there’s Adam Lambert. Sorry if you haven’t been following his career, but the dude is real. Songwriter, singer, performer and this just in–he’s been touring with Queen for five years now, as well as developing his solo career. My wife Victoria and I caught him a couple of years ago at the Puyallup fair and became even bigger fans. And for the Queen purists, he makes very clear up front that he’s not in any way trying to replace Freddie. In fact, Mr. Mercury even makes a couple of appearances on the big screen in two of their songs. It was good to see him again.
Lambert performs proudly and is honored to be in that position, all the while knowing that he’s filling a void, but this is still Freddy’s world. Adam even performed his new single, “Two Fux” the day after it’s release with the Queen band members.
Add in the showmanship and special effects that would make Freddie proud and this traveling entourage should definitely be on your must-see concert list. Not sure when they’ll pass through town again, but I have an idea I just might be there. And for a solid two hours plus a 15-minute encore, make another return visit to my twenties.