Back in full swing on The Rhapsody Tour, following a lengthy Covid-19 hiatus, Queen + Adam Lambert returned to the United Center in Chicago on Oct. 30 for the first show of a two-night stand. Original guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are certifiable rock legends and were accompanied by a trio of musicians who provided support on bass guitar, keyboard and percussion. Adam Lambert is one of a few singers who have the ability to properly front Queen, and he does so through his own lens. His vocals were pristine, effortlessly replicating Mercury’s pitch, range and falsetto while not attempting to mimic Mercury’s vibrant stage presence. Rather, Lambert’s own personality shines brightly, none more so than his take on “Bicycle Race” as he lounged charismatically on a rotating blinged-out chopper; and again with gestures and facial expressions conveyed across the brilliant ultra high-def displays during “Killer Queen.”
A stripped down solo-acoustic “Love of My Life” was a stark contrast to the pyro-infused visual spectacle “A Kind of Magic” from earlier in the set, but offered May an opportunity to showcase his vocals on a touching tribute to Freddie that concluded with the late iconic singer alongside May for the final verse. Taylor took lead vocals during “I’m In Love With My Car” and was front-and-center on the b-stage for a drum solo. He remains in that position, filling in for David Bowie on vocals, during the duet “Under Pressure.” The addition of May to the smaller platform contributed a touch of intimacy to the set as the trio broke into an updated version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love."
Tributes to Freddie, both subtle and blindly obvious, brought the performance full circle with state-of-the-art production. From the aforementioned “Love of My Life” to showstopper “Bohemian Rhapsody,” visual snippets and timely audio tracking remind us that Freddie was truly larger than life. The Rhapsody Tour continues the North American leg, concluding in Los Angeles on Nov. 12.
See photos from the Chicago show below, by Dan DeSlover.