adam lambert

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Queen + Adam Lambert, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Published July 28, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2969Adam Lambert bows to original members Brian May and Roger Taylor

(Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Three years and two days after the first time I saw Queen with Adam Lambert (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/queen-adam-lambert-at-izod-new-jersey-july-24-2014/) I just had to see them again! My super cool husband took me to see Queen on Wednesday, July 26, 2018.

I am a die-hard Queen fan. I’d say they are probably my favorite band; and it’s nearly impossible to have a favorite band when you have over 1000 records/CDs in all genres of music. But I loved Queen so much when I first discovered them, probably around 1976, when I was only 12 years old. The first five albums were my favorites, but over the years I’ve expanded my horizons and embraced their entire body of work.

I was very lucky to have seen Freddie Mercury on tour with Queen in 1982, when I was 18. Though I envy my friends who are a bit older and saw Queen tour with Mott the Hoople.

When Freddie Mercury died, and there was a television tribute in his honor, I thought George Michael (RIP) would have been a phenomenal replacement. Then I saw Queen with Paul Rodgers and he was amazing. And so is Adam Lambert.

Always humble, Adam makes it a point, to the audience, that he is a Queen fan too. Throughout the show, he creates pure magic with original members Brian May and Roger Taylor; and Neil Fairclough who has been playing bass with Queen as long as Adam has been on board. And new kid on the block is drummer Tyler Warren who did a great duo with Roger Taylor.

This tour was a tribute to Queen’s album “News of The World.” But they only played three songs from that album “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and … one of the greatest moments of the evening “Get Down Make Love.” [Side note: I saw videos of them doing other songs from “News of the World” — and “It’s Late” blew me away! I wish they kept that song in the set, but there’s just so much in the Queen collection, perhaps they had to cut some out].

After the last tour, I said that “Get Down Make Love” would be the perfect song for Lambert to deliver. Because it’s camp and fun — and so is he. He’s just that kind of entertainer, you can look at him and smile. He’s simply great at making people happy. Lambert is a five-star performer. He loves dressing up, he loves working the crowd, he embraces being on stage, yet never takes it for granted; and is so honest to always share that with his audience.

Another key song for Adam Lambert to sing was “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I said these lyrics: “I am a sex machine ready to reload; Like an atom bomb about to Oh oh oh oh oh explode” should be “like an ADAM bomb…” This song absolutely sums it up — how electrifying Adam is. And, never taking himself too seriously, he was a total pisser riding a pink bicycle during “Bicycle Races.”

He also did one of his own tunes “Two Fux” which seemed to be his rebuttal to critics. (Or maybe his turn to answer to Queen purists who don’t approve him filling in for Freddie?) While a great song, Adam Lambert should never have to explain himself. He was chosen to be in Queen, by original Queen members. After five years, I’d say he IS a Queen member.  Sure, nobody could take Freddie’s place (just like nobody could take retired member John Deacon’s place) or if the other original members left. The thing is — Adam Lambert is damn good and belongs with Queen. He has my stamp of approval as a great fit. He always did. Years ago I poo-pooed American Idol, but when my sister shared some of her video recordings of the show with Adam Lambert, I was hooked. Then when I heard he was touring with Queen five years ago, I said, “That is perfect!” I was right.

And it’s a beautiful thing to keep this music going on for generations to come! Adam Lambert is young, fresh, and exciting. He’s a team player and brings a lot to the band. I’d love to see a live album of this tour come out!

But back to the show … Guitar wizard Brian May is always mesmerizing, and hearing a bit of “Brighton Rock” during his solo totally wowed me. When May has his moments, you can close your eyes and be right at home on your bed listening to records — he is that precise. He also plays “Love of My Life” on his guitar (on the record Freddie played harp) and sings heavenly.  And bassist Fairclough’s shining moment was naturally during “Another One Bites the Dust.” I was glad to see he’s still with the band.

Now, let’s talk about the stage show. This time around was off the hook — with lazer lights, videos of Freddie, and a gigantic robot from the cover of “News of the World.” I highly recommend You Tube — though you truly had to be there to capture the essence of what it was.

Other favorite parts of the show, for me, were “Somebody to Love,” “Under Pressure” (which brought tears to my eyes, now that both Freddie and David Bowie are gone!), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” “I’m in Love with My Car,” and “I Want to Break Free.”

And, this concert fell on Roger Taylor’s birthday, so the audience joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to him! How cool is that? If you were there, you could personalize it and say that you sang Happy Birthday to Roger Taylor! At 68-years-old, he still has that sparkle in his eyes! I can’t believe, I’ve been a fan of Queen since they were all in their late 20s!

If I had to give any critique for the evening, I’d say I could do without the teazer — as hearing just part of a recording of “You Take My Breath Away” was a bummer. (I think back to 2014 when they played “Procession” before they came on and I was thinking they’d come out doing “Father to Son.” Keep dreaming, right?) Some of the other songs were cut short too, like “Bicycle Race” and to me, that’s like censoring a masterpiece. I understand a band can only play so long — and they played almost three hours, but I’d rather hear less songs, but played in their entirety.

But, yeah, still super high from the show that was two days ago. Another night with Queen that I’ll never forget! And hey, can I suggest another ultimate Queen song for Adam Lambert to do? I’d love to hear “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” live. How about it?

SAM_2907Me in front of Queen truck — That’s the logo Freddie Mercury designed based on the zodiac signs of the original members. 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

 

 

Queen + Adam Lambert at IZOD, New Jersey (July 24, 2014)

Published July 24, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5357Getting psyched!

My 51st birthday will be on August 19 and one of my gifts from my husband was taking me to see Queen + Adam Lambert at the Izod last night!

Now, first a little background. How much do I love Queen, let me count the ways! I’ve been a fan since I was 12 or 13 in the 1970s. I got every album they made at that point and listened to each song on each album, every single day, in the order they were recorded! I memorized who wrote what song and all the liner notes of who played what featured instrument on all the songs. As well as all the lyrics. To this day, if you call out any Queen song from the first five albums, I can tell you who wrote it.

The first time I saw Queen was in 1982 with Freddie Mercury. I saw them again 10 years ago, with Paul Rodgers. And last night with Adam Lambert. All three times were special and unique.

The anticipation build up was off the hook. They had a little problem with the curtain, delaying the show by a half hour. A pre-recorded “Father to Son” from Queen II was played and I lost it. “They’re going to play this?!” But it was just a tease. However, they opened with “Now I’m Here” from “Sheer Heart Attack”  then went into “Stone Cold Crazy” from the same album.

“Fat Bottom Girls” was next, followed by yet another from “Sheer Heart Attack” — “Lap of the Gods”! I was losing it, it was just one great song after another! Then “Seven Seas of Rhye” from “Queen II.”

Then Adam Lambert camped it up during “Killer Queen.” A red velvet couch was brought out for him to ham it up on (he couldn’t even keep a straight face and he was cracking up). He drank from a bottle of Moet and then spit it into the audience, followed by a few cute double-entendre jokes. He even had panties thrown at him. “Somebody to Love” followed and this was the first time you got a true taste of Adam Lambert’s astonishing vocals. He was a stellar front man — a wonderful choice. Yet, the entire band worked together as a group and everyone had their spotlight. Adam appeared extremely grateful to be part of the act and raved about how he loved Freddie and even bowed down during May’s ever-so-sweet guitar segments.

It was cute when Brian May asked a cheering crowd, “How do you like the new guy?”

And in equal cuteness, Adam Lambert endearingly referred to Brian as “Doctor Brian May.”

One of the most special moments, which I saw Brian perform back in 2005, was when he played “Love of My Life” — a song originally played by Freddie on a harp — on his guitar. Brian sang beautifully too. During this time Adam Lambert took a break and after “Love of My Life” Brian was joined on stage with others, including Roger Taylor, his son, Rufus Tiger Taylor (who looks just like his dad!) to do a bare bones version of “’39” followed by “These Are The Days Of Our Lives” which featured a touching tribute to Freddie Mercury.

Then came a great bass solo by current touring bassist, Neil Fairclough and an exciting drum battle between the Taylors (which is probably why “I’m in Love with My Car” was forfeited).

Adam Lambert returned to sing a duet of “Under Pressure” with Roger, followed by “Love Kills,” (a Freddie solo number), then “Who Wants to Live Forever.”

And then the moment we were all waiting for — a Brian May guitar solo, which featured riffs from “Brighton Rock.” (Also during the show, I don’t remember when, but there was a tease of “White Man.”) After the solo, Adam Lambert took front stage again and sang Brian’s hit, ‘Tie Your Mother Down” (which was sung by Freddie on “Day at the Races”).

After “Radio GaGa” Adam broke into a sexy little number called “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and then the grand finale of “Bohemian Rhapsody” which was off the hook with their modern stage show. They had a monstrous “Q” lit up with the tail of the “Q” leading all the way out into the audience. Inside the “Q” there were video segments throughout the show. A second drum kit was set up in the front for some of the softer numbers. The light show was mind blowing and there were raised platforms on each side of the stage where Adam Lambert and Brian May would perform.

Throughout the night band members did several costume changes and Brian May looked like the true guitar god he is when he was wearing a gorgeous gold poncho, reminiscent of the white one he wore during ‘Night at the Opera” days back in the 1970s. And Roger Taylor still looking as cool as ever, looking like Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll in all white and dark sunglasses. And at this time I’d like to give a shout out to Spike Edney on keyboards.

Queen encored with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.”

Definitely a night to remember! My husband brought me two t-shirts — a sexy tank with the Queen crest in red foil and a tour shirt with Adam Lambert. I am ECSTATIC!

SAM_5379Adam Lambert (vocals), Roger Taylor (drums) and Brian May (guitar)

SAM_5426Adam Lambert

SAM_5435After the show, am I in heaven?

I Agree with America’s Top 3 Choices for American Idol

Published March 15, 2013 by Maryanne

american idol top three

Left-R: Angie Miller, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison

So, for the first time since I was a little girl picking out a Miss America in the 1970s, I called the television winners!

Not only did I agree with America’s choices for the top three, but also with the fourth person chosen, Lazaro Arbos!

Wednesday evening Candice Glover did the most spine chilling version of “I Who Have Nothing” (which I originally know as a Tom Jones song). She really nailed it and then some!

Kree Harrison did an amazing version of Roy Orbison’s song, “Crying.” Another song that gave me chills.

Angie performed a song I wasn’t familiar with and she has a voice of an angel. She’s also the prettiest thing on American Idol since Adam Lambert.

What I didn’t agree with was who was sent home. I would have kept Curtis Finch Jr. and got rid of Paul Jolley or Devin Velez.

America also voted for their favorite who was eliminated to compete in a sing-off for a spot in Idol’s 2013 summer tour with the Top 10 (which Curtis will be a part of). The two competing are: Charlie Askew (my all time favorite this year) and Aubrey Cleland (who, in my opinion, is good but boring). So my choice in this one is a no brainer — bring back Charlie!

I have to say I like how the voting was done this time, more in the vein of “America’s Top Model” counting from the top downward. I never liked that “this one stays or gos” method. It was too nerve-wrecking not only for the contestants but for the viewers.

American Idle

Published January 17, 2013 by Maryanne

American Idol

American Idol is another show I was late jumping on the band wagon for. I was first intrigued after seeing a clip of Adam Lambert performing. My sister was a huge fan. One day I was at her home. All the women were in the living room watching Adam Lambert videos that my sister compiled. We were all so intrigued another woman was stuck in the bathroom (the door was jammed) for 20 minutes before anyone realized. Yeah, Adam is a hottie.

Then the following year I watched the show because Steven Tyler was a judge. I’ve been an Aerosmith fan since I was 13, and I was friends with Steve Tyler’s late wife Cyrinda Foxe. I attended her funeral and met Tyler. When I offered my condolences, he thanked me for my kind words and gave me a big hug. So, hell yeah, I made sure I watched every episode that Steve Tyler was on. And he delivered. He was funny as hell, sincere and encouraging to the kids. As great on screen as he is off.

Thanks to Steve Tyler, I fell in love with American Idol. Those young performers were terrific. The judges had a great chemistry. It just worked. For two years I was a part of what I was missing since the show debuted almost a decade prior.

Last night I watched a mere five minutes, with the new judges (except for Randy Jackson) and all I saw was bickering between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Was this drama real or fake for publicity? I don’t know, but I didn’t like it.

To me, bickering between judges takes away from the talent of the kids. And remember, this is a family show.

I am almost 50-years-old and miss the variety shows I loved growing up. The ones I remember were  “Sonny & Cher,” “Tony Orlando & Dawn,” “The Dean Martin Show,” “The Tom Jones Show.”

These shows were extremely entertaining. Yeah, if you have them on DVD some of the old jokes were corny, but everyone came across as professional. If there ever was any drama, you may read about it in the tabloids, it wasn’t in your face. You could disappear into a fantasy world for one hour and pretend that everything was good and everyone liked each other. You didn’t even know Sonny & Cher were going through a divorce. They gave the audience what they wanted, a beloved couple that knew how to entertain with talent and not resorting to taking the low road.

What was that old saying in show business, and a Queen song as well? The answer is: The show must go on!  If Sonny & Cher could do it, why can’t these judges just shut the hell up and act like professionals?!

“American Idol” is the closest thing this generation has to a good old fashioned variety show. It has it all: talent, comedy and fashion. And I love the mini documentaries on where the kids came from and what their story is. Some are heart-breaking and all are inspiring. But, sadly, now the Fox network show is low-balling the audience with drama and taking away from the kids and their performances.

Is this supposed to give the show higher ratings? Probably. This is what seems to be the American way. We seemed to have reached a pinnacle in TV Land where innocence is lost on all levels and unless there is *bleeping* words out left and right and people are trashing each other, our attention is lost.