Lambert last did a full-on solo U.S. tour -- the Glam Nation Tour -- in 2010, supporting his 2009 debut album For Your Entertainment. His follow-up set, 2012's Trespassing, "unfortunately" didn't have a proper associated American tour, he tells Billboard (though he did play have a short run of shows in Asia and eastern Europe in early 2013).
"There was a couple of freestanding (American) dates," Lambert says, "but unfortunately… I mean, you know, it's common knowledge Trespassing wasn't quite the commercial success that we all had hoped it would be, which would have supported a tour. I'm really, really thankful that the fans ate it up, and that we debuted at No. 1 on the (Billboard 200) chart. That was lovely. I stand by the album."
While Trespassing did debut at No. 1, it sold far less than his first album. Trespassing moved 101,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen Music, while For Your Entertainment shifted 863,000 (it peaked at No. 3 on the chart).
Although Lambert didn't mount a full-scale tour in support of the Trespassing album, he did head out on the road with rock legends Queen for a handful of European shows in 2012, followed by a lengthy international trek in 2014 and 2015, which included 16 dates in the U.S. They just wrapped the European leg of the tour on Feb. 27, and will head back out on the road in September for a few shows in South America.
Lambert, who says he's never been to the continent, will join Queen as one of the headliners at the 30th anniversary edition of the massive Rock In Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro. They'll play the first day of the multi-day event on Sept. 18.
Lambert notes that Queen also headlined the first Rock In Rio, back on Jan. 11, 1985, "so this is a nice full-circle moment for them as well."
Fans of Lambert with Queen also have another reason to rejoice: Queen guitarist Brian May is a guest performer on The Original High.
"For the Queen fans out there that saw the tour," Lambert says, "Brian May is on one of the (new album's) tracks, playing guitar on a song called 'Lucy.' … I played him the demo and he was like 'Oh, I love this, I have some ideas.' So he came in with all this great stuff to contribute. It was really exciting."