Gig review: Queen and Adam Lambert at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Queen and Adam Lambert at the First Direct Arena. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

Queen and Adam Lambert at the First Direct Arena. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

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Let’s get straight to the point – Adam Lambert has some very big boots to fill. The merest mention of going to see Queen in concert and the comparisons start.

No one will ever replace Freddie Mercury and I’d be pretty fair in thinking that neither Queen nor Adam Lambert are out to change that. However, the haters will hate.

My own opinion is that Freddie Mercury effectively was Queen and when he passed away Queen went with him. Should Brian May and Roger Taylor continue under the old banner? That’s an opinion that you can draw your own conclusions on.

Certainly their back catalogue is vast, though I bet that there probably isn’t a Queen track which you could consider ‘unknown’. For this reason the world can continue to listen to and enjoy the brand.

Current frontman Adam Lambert is a very talented guy. A runner-up in America’s biggest TV talent show and a gifted songwriter in his own right, he has penned some acclaimed music and is now stepping into one of the largest voids in music history.

He does his best to fill it with a stage presence that is second to none. His voice is technically brilliant and although those Mercury boots will never fit him – nor anyone else – he may have just stamped his own size 10’s for a lot of other people to try and follow.

This gig at Leeds’s First Direct Arena is massive, one of the biggest probably in the region for a long time. Part of a the tour that is continuing to roll across the globe, it’s a colossal production of mammoth staging and and a dazzling light spectacular throughout the set.

The set list contains pretty much Queen’s greatest hits – One Vision, Another One Bites the Dust, Who Wants to Live Forever, Under Pressure and Bohemain Rhapsody are all present and impressively correct – legendary guitarist Brian May has a solo spot and there are little surprises along the way from a gospel choir and sticksman Roger Taylor’s own ‘drum off’.

For Queen devotees, it’s all you could have asked for – even if it was without the great Freddie Mercury himself.

Tony Hadley

Festival review: Let’s Rock Leeds! at Temple Newsam, Leeds