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Live Review: Queen – 26th August 2014 – Allphones Arena, Sydney, Australia

5 min read
photo credit: Neal Preston

photo credit: Neal Preston

British icons Queen have long been regarded as one of music’s finest collectives. Breaking into the mainstream in the 70’s, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon solidified themselves into the history books with a string of hits that have become iconic masterpieces of pop/rock over the last 40 years including Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites The Dust, I Want To Break Free, Radio Gaga and A Kind of Magic among the dozens of songs that have made the band true pioneers or glam rock and idols to millions of fans around the globe.

Since Mercury’s death in 1991, the band has taken on a couple of forms in order to continue to deliver the hits to their loyal fan-base and to keep the Queen torch burning bright over the past 2 decades without their founding front-man. Minus their reclusive bass player John Deacon, May and Taylor decided to begin performing again as Queen back in 2004 with Free and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers taking on the mighty front man role that was left vacant by Mercury. Several years and hugely successful world tour later and the lead singer role has now been taken over by American Idol and glam/pop powerhouse Adam Lambert and the band have taken back to the road on a new world tour packed full of all the hits from the famous Queen catalogue.

Arriving at Sydney’s Allphones Arena last night, you had the instant feeling that you were about to witness something pretty epic and special. The stage was set out in the shape a an enormous letter Q, allowing for a multifunctional circular backdrop to lower throughout the show and a walkway out to the crowd for the band to deliver acoustic performances and for Lambert to strut his stuff in truly iconic and flamboyant bravura.

While there is no chance that Adam Lambert could ever really replace Freddie Mercury as the bands iconic front-man in the eyes of fans and music aficionado’s, the singer led the band spectacularly last night in Sydney with hits that may not have been penned by him but that he made his own nonetheless. Dressed in black leather with golden studs and clutching a golden microphone, the singer’s fabulously camp strut up and down the decked out stage fit with laser beams and lights displayed a glam rocker in his element, jamming with one of the staples of the genre as if it were always his destiny to be doing so. His vocals rose above the 20,000 strong punters that flocked to the venue to catch the bands return to Australian shores since the The Works World Tour of April 1985.

The night was a solid hit fuelled spectacle with the set delivering the bands greatest hits and peppered with some tracks perhaps less well known by the casual Queen fans in the crowd. Everything that you could want in a show from this band was found at some point or another and Lambert’s seemingly effortless ability and confidence in delivering some of the most significant songs in history was evident throughout tracks like Another One Bites The Bust, I Want It All, Fat Bottomed Girl, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.

Among the highlights of the night was Lambert’s extravagant performance of Killer Queen. Donning a camp, golden spiked and tasselled top and killer heels, the singer pranced around the stage every bit the glamourous entertainer that he has become known as over these past few years. Setting to the end of the runway to be met by a lavish purple velvet couch, the singer delivered a powerful performance of the track clutching a bottle of champagne and making quirky faces to the crowd and the band before he took back to the main stage and delivered an exceptional rendition of the bands roof-raising power ballad, Somebody To Love, hitting all the high notes and doing so with ease.

Despite the significant age difference between the band and their latest front-man, Brian May and Roger Taylor were on top form throughout the show, delivering thunderous drum and epic guitar solos within songs and getting in as much of the limelight as possible.  Brian shone during the shows acoustic centre, offering fans an intimate performance on acoustic guitar of ’39 and Love of My Life which showed images of the late and great Freddie Mercury on the stages gigantic screen as the iconic guitarist paid tribute to his friend. Visuals of Mercury were also utilised during the bands thunderous performance of Bohemian Rhapsody as well as snippets form the tracks music video being placed within the performance to add further nostalgia to the show.

Having seen numerous set lists floating around before the show, I went along expecting not to hear my favourites from the band – I Want To Break Free, A Kind of Magic and Invisible Man. While the latter was omitted for some of the bands more lesser known commercial treats like Seven Seas of Rhye and Last Horizon, the former two were delivered in fabulous 80’s style with Taylor taking the confident lead on A Kind of Magic, belting his way through one of the bands more pop-oriented masterpieces with gusto and vocal precision. Taylor was also on top form during his duet with Lambert for the David Bowie/Freddie Mercury hit, Under Pressure.

As the band played for a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes, laser beams and stadium worthy lights shone, air-jets went off and rockets blasted the arena with shiny golden confetti. The band also split the vocal hits up with a number of impressive solos including an indulgent guitar segment from May and a drum battle between Taylor and his son, Rufus, now a fundamental member of the bands backing band.

Last night’s performance was everything we could have expected from a Queen show and more. We were offered all of the bands major hits and a truly memorable performance from icons of the industry and one of the greatest vocalists around today. It was visually stunning, it was nostalgic and it was musically epic to its core.

Set List:

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
Killer Queen
Somebody to Love
I Want It All
Love of My Life
A Kind of Magic
Under Pressure
Dragon Attack
Who Wants to Live Forever
Tie Your Mother Down
I Want to Break Free
Radio Ga Ga
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Bohemian Rhapsody

We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions
God Save the Queen (instrumental outro)

13 thoughts on “Live Review: Queen – 26th August 2014 – Allphones Arena, Sydney, Australia

  1. Now – THIS is a review worth reading – just terrific in its musical knowledge and enthusiasm for its subject. Congrats, Mr. V – five stars for you, too.

  2. Fantastic 5-Stars Review! Love it! Queen + Adam Lambert’s sold-out concerts are magnificent and spectacular. This brilliant pairing of Rock Royalty with Superstar Powerhouse vocals Adam Lambert is perfect fit creating electrifying MAGIC that blew the roof off. Greatest musicians with greatest vocals delivering the greatest songs of all time, this is pure heavenly experience. No one can top that! Adam Lambert is a true entertainer with great stage presence, charisma, fashions, he commands the stage, everyone in the audience had their eyes locked on him, they don’t want to miss a thing. Chemistry among Adam, Brian, Roger and the rest of the band members is so much fun, very heart warming to feel the love and respect they have for each other, what a great solid team. I hope there will be more tour, I need to see them live again. Also hope they will make an album together at some point.

  3. What a great review – I felt like I was right there! Sounds like Adam Lambert is on his way to becoming a star!

  4. Thank you for getting Adam. Other reviewers from Sydney either ignore Adam altogether or don’t have anything nice to say about him. He has always been so underrated but someday the world will understand, I hope.

  5. I saw the concert in Canada and thought it was one of the best shows I’ve seen from anybody in years.

    Enjoyed the review. Thanks.

  6. “While there is no chance that Adam Lambert could ever really replace Freddie Mercury ” And who said that Freddie Mercury is to be replaced ? Was Paul Rodgers able to replace Freddie Mercury in those 5 years of touring with Queen ? Why attacking Adam Lambert with this comment all the time ? All the interviews starting March 2014 when they announced the tour were very clear : fans wanted them on the road, wanted them to play, wanted to hear the songs done well and done by Adam. The idea was to deliver a great show and deliver the bloody songs in the original key and respectful to the way they were supposed to be sung. And he did/does a tremendous good job. Please stop comparing the performers.

    1. In response to your comment “And who said that Freddie Mercury is to be replaced ?” – I’m not too sure who suggested this lol. I think you are looking for something negative in my review that you just aren’t going to find as I praised Adam from start to end. ‘Attacking Adam Lambert”? This is a little far-fetched Jan. I’m a huge Adam Lambert fan myself so I would suggest a re-read of the review as I don’t think you are reading the same review as everyone else.

      1. I agree….you even said (like Marc Martel suggested) that Adam is one of the greatest vocalist in the world. Actually Marc said he was the greatest male vocalist. Adam though doesn’t get the exposure or the credit in this pathetic music and radio world, but people like you certainly help. I hope you will plug his next album. I’m hoping it will be great!

  7. Thanks for this great review. I saw this concert in Vegas in July and wished I had the money to see more. Best concert I’ve seen in years.

    1. I’ve been a Queen fan since the 70’s and an Adam fan for 5 years, and combining the two is a stroke of genius. A new generation is able to see these fabulous, iconic songs performed live by men onstage who all look like they are having the time of their lives. Nothing can make me believe that Freddie isn’t somewhere thrilled that his music is alive and his old friends are still going strong.

  8. I saw two shows in America and was blown away. Loved this review. I wish more reviewers would mention how charismatic Adam is…..every show is different. Sometimes he has the crowd singing more and he varies the responses he wants from the crowds on songs like Somebody to Love (he takes you to church!). Some reviewers didn’t like that, but they just didn’t get it. I’m glad you appreciated this terrific show as I did. I’ve already purchased some videos but I’m waiting for the professional one to be made. This was the best show I’ve ever been to. Thanks.

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