Legendary rock band Queen and American Idol alum Adam Lambert returned to Los Angeles for two nights July 19 and 20 on The Rhapsody Tour, their first since the release of the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Despite Lambert’s sometimes overwhelming stage presence, there’s no denying his immense talent and star power. Alongside original members Brian May and Roger Taylor, he delivered the 30-song set Saturday night (July 20) with a dramatic flair all his own while still taking time to celebrate Mercury’s legacy.
Below, find seven highlights from the show.
“I am not Freddie Mercury. I f—ing know.”
After a hearty intro including “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Killer Queen,” Lambert took a moment to address the “pink elephant in the room,” as he put it. “I am not Freddie Mercury. I f—ing know, because there will only be one Freddie Mercury. There’s no replacing him,” Lambert said. “All I’m here to do tonight is celebrate Freddie and carry the torch for Freddie. And I hope I’m making him proud.” The crowd cheered their approval, and Lambert launched into “Don’t Stop Me Now” with immense energy.
“Somebody to Love”
“Somebody to Love” showcased Lambert’s effortless vocals and incredible range, making for an intense build to the famous drum breakdown. With everyone chanting “Find me somebody to love,” the massiveness of the arena became apparent. Lambert left the last “Love” to the crowd as well, and they responded with bravado, waving arms and holding their loved ones.
“Bicycle” into “Fat Bottomed Girls”
The set took a particularly bad-ass turn when Lambert changed into a decked-out leather jacket and sat atop a rotating motorcycle for “Bicycle Race.” His playfulness complimented the song perfectly, and the immediate transition into “Fat Bottomed Girls” sent the audience into a frenzy. An extended ending to the song gave May a chance to shine, as he took center stage and shredded an impressive solo.
Brian May singing “Love of My Life”
May, who celebrated his 72nd birthday on July 19, got the stage all to himself as he delivered a sweet rendition of “Love of My Life” with just an acoustic guitar and stool. The crowd almost overpowered May’s singing voice with their passion and soon the Forum was filled with cell phone flashlights. In what was an incredibly surreal moment, video footage of Mercury appeared on the screen, thanking the crowd and taking a bow. When May reached out his hand, it looked as if they were touching, and he wiped his eyes before saying, “I kind of think he’s always around.”
Out of This World
May had another treat in store for the crowd. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, he sang “’39” as footage from the Apollo 11 Real Time Mission Experience played in the background. Continuing with the space theme, May later delivered an intense guitar solo elevated in the air as light-up model planets hung in the air around him. It was strangely peaceful, providing a break from the non-stop energy of the live set.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was an obvious high point, with both Lambert and May sporting ridiculous outfits (an all-silver get up and an iridescent space-suit, respectively). As the iconic music video played in the background, the entire audience rocked out with the band until the song’s dramatic finish.
God Save (the) Queen
But the show was not over yet. Mercury made another appearance in video form to do his famous “Ay-oh” call-and-response chant, giving the concertgoers an opportunity to interact with the late singer. “We Will Rock You” followed, and Lambert emerged decked-out in a gold jacket and boots, complete with a sparkling crown. Marking the end of the show, “We Are the Champions” gave the audience a chance to revel in the glory of the night’s events as confetti fell to the floor. Lambert, May, Taylor and touring members took a final bow to “God Save the Queen,” a fitting homage to the band’s beginnings back in England.
Queen and Adam Lambert’s The Forum set list:
“Now I’m Here”
“Seven Seas of Rhye”
“Keep Yourself Alive”
“Hammer to Fall”
“Don’t Stop Me Now”
“In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited”
“Somebody to Love”
“The Show Must Go On”
“I’m in Love With My Car”
“Fat Bottomed Girls”
“Machines (Or ‘Back to Humans’)”
“I Want It All”
“Love of My Life” (Brian May)
“Doing All Right”
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
“I Want to Break Free”
“You Take My Breath Away”
“Who Wants to Live Forever”
“Last Horizon” (Brian May)
Guitar solo (Brian May)
“Tie Your Mother Down”
“Another One Bites the Dust”
“Radio Ga Ga”
“We Will Rock You”
“We Are the Champions”