Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Queen + Adam Lambert @ Merriweather Post Pavilion 7/21/2014

Andrew and I went to see most of Queen (+ Adam Lambert and some hired guns) ("Almost Queen?" "Mostly Queen?" "1/2 Queen?"- Brian May and Roger Taylor are basically half of Queen) at Merriweather Post Pavilion ($45 lawn, but ours were about $40).  Adam Lambert (no relation to Christopher or Miranda  as far as I know) gained his fame being a singer on American Idol (and the is he or isn't he speculation regarding his sexuality. Fun fact, he likes dudes if you needed to know).

A very clear Roger Taylor
The first thing I noticed as we approached Merriweather was that there was a big  "Lot Full" sign, which I hadn't seen since Zac Brown or the Virgin Mobile Freefest that we couldn't even get into.  There was a bit of traffic and people walking all over the place, and I was thinking I had grossly underanticipated the attendance.  There were even scalpers (some more pushy than others, but perhaps I should have low balled them. oh well), and that's where we ended up buying our tickets.

View from the top of the side of the hill good lord

As I entered the grounds, there were people EVERYWHERE, and I was wondering where we were going to squeeze in on the lawn (no wonder they said "no Lawn chairs"). The lawn was chock full of people- so if it wasn't sold out it was damn close. I almost couldn't deal with it. From our perch on the lawn, there were wasted moms and theirs kids in front of us and older fans on each side.  I believe we saw two people fall down.

Merch was pricy

Merch wise, there were were several shirts ($40!). I didn't see anything that really warranted any attention more than fotos tho.  Tho, apparently there was a program (like Blackmore's Night!), oh those Brits! I wasn't particularly moved.

Queen started at quarter past 8, to a pretty loud roar (but not nearly as loud as I would have expected based on the volume tho).  They started with the "Procession" instrumental into the bombastic "Now I'm Here" which really seemed a fitting introduction to Adam Lambert with Brian and Roger. Pretty great opener, which then proceeded into solid hit after hit, and the momentum still was going ... up until the simply electrifying "I Want It All" (Probably the heaviest Queen song, I loved it).  As the lights went down, we clearly saw that someone watched Tron or Def Leppard's Hysteria tour too many times when they designed the stage

Probably the Clearest pic of Mr Lambert

Things slowed down (but were not bad at all) with the acoustic trio of songs, including Roger Taylor singing a nicely slow "...Days..."  Brian sounded great on singing too, and "Love..." was very heartfelt.  I thought "'39" was a bit meh, and then things seemed to be continually being dialed back with the slow tempo and now... a bass solo from  I don't even know who it was.  At least the bass solo had a snippet of "Dragon Attack!"  There may have been more snippets, but I only recognized this one. And then we are "treated" to a drum solo... I know I was getting really restless, wondering when Adam Lambert was going to come out (phrasing) again and sing something else.

Things picked up a bit with "Under Pressure," where Adam and Roger had a rather well executed duet. "Love Kills," a Freddie solo track sounded pretty great (never heard it before), and then Mr Lambert sang a song from a different Lambert's relation, "...Forever," from the movie "Highlander."  Speaking of movies, I was wondering if they'd play "Flash" (from "Flash Gordon") or more from "Highlander."

Also, they were certainly dynamite with all the Laser beams

Then Brian May played a pretty bad solo that just went on too long. Adam Lambert needed another break? come on now! I think Brian May was on the stage nearly the whole time, and at like 67, he seemed not to be waning until maybe "Bohemian Rhapsody." After Adam came back after that dreadful solo, we got more hits, including one of my least favourite Queen songs- "Crazy...Love," which I thought actually sounded way better (and way more Elvisy) live. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a bit odd, as half of the song was sung live,  and the other half was from an old Freddie concert.  This odd transition was intended to be an 'homage' or something similar, but really seemed jarring more than anything else.  Then there was the predictable pair of "...Rock" and "...Champions" to close the show.

Brian May's hair these days is white

The solos all were pretty disappointing- IMO the members of Queen(+) really are better as a group instead of individually. The Washington Post review pretty much hit the nail on the head for Brian May's "stagnant" solo. I left during the drum solo to use the restroom, so I didn't catch it (I'm sure you all are familiar with my lack of interest in 99% of the drum solos). But basically the energy waned during the extended solo portions. Things amped up when Mr. Lambert took the stage.

I WANT IT ALL (phrasing, Adam!)

Soundwise, things were pretty great but actually maybe not loud enough.  Roger and Brian sang well (tho no "I'm In Love With My Car"), better than expected.  Brian's non lengthy solo guitar work was pretty great, and I had not many complaints about the backing band (bass, keys, and another drummer (Rufus, Roger's song apparently).  There were 2 drum kits set up, Rufus on the side,  in the dark, and Roger in the middle. There was also a stripped down one closer to the audience/pit, I believe, where Adam and Roger did their duet, under a little pressure. I was trying to figure out if Rufus was playing when Roger was (to fill in ...missing notes?) or just supplementing at certain points- I couldn't really determine.  Also Brian May looks even more like a poodle with his white hair that is the same as it was back in 1979.

Brian May soloing on the TRON stage

Overall, I really enjoyed it, despite the slow parts. I did appreciate a chance to see 1/2 of Queen live, along with a pretty fitting stand in for Freddie Mercury, who didn't mime Freddie. Adam Lambert added his own twist to the songs, adding a bit more of his personal flair.  He is a rather good choice to fill out the rest of Queen, regardless of the whole American Idol origin: he's got the chops.  The crowd was kind of tame, tho flying high, as there were lines and beer everywhere.  I def would recommend to any Queen fan.

next show: KISS and DEF LEPPARD

Costume changes:
  • Studded (P)Leather outfit
  • Fringed sleeves
  • Killer Queen (and heels)
  • Red Animal print tank, black pants
  • Zebra shirt
  • Lace up converse boots (tho I think they just looked like converse)
  • Leopard shirt and suit, with crown

Queen + Adam Lambert (8:15- 10:30)

  • Procession 
  • Now I'm Here 
  • Stone Cold Crazy 
  • Another One Bites the Dust 
  • Fat Bottomed Girls 
  • In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited 
  • Seven Seas of Rhye  (partial)
  • Killer Queen 
  • Somebody to Love 
  • I Want It All 
  • Love of My Life ((acoustic)(Brian May lead vocals))
  • '39 ((acoustic)(Brian May lead vocals))
  • These Are the Days of Our Lives (Roger Taylor lead vocals)
  • Bass Solo (w Dragon Attack snippet)
  • Drum Battle aka Piss break
  • Under Pressure (Adam Lambert & Roger Taylor duet)
  • Love Kills  (Freddie Mercury cover)
  • Who Wants to Live Forever 
  • Last Horizon (Brian May cover)
  • Guitar Solo 
  • Tie Your Mother Down 
  • Radio Ga Ga 
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love 
  • Bohemian Rhapsody 

  • We Will Rock You 
  • We Are the Champions 
  • God Save the Queen 

Baltimore Sun has some photos.
Another Opinion from the Washington Post