Review: Queen + Adam Lambert Rock a Sold-Out Xcel Energy Center
Success from the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody reinvigorated the legendary rock band and fan-favorite vocalist.
There’s nothing like a classic rock show; the blazing lights, the ravenous fans, the intense guitar solos. Queen and Adam Lambert know this and kept things refreshingly straightforward for the Xcel Energy Center stop of The Rhapsody Tour. Compared to their 2017 stop at the same venue, tonight’s show felt grittier and less theatrical. The focus was on the glorious completely live music -- save for a few video screen appearances from late lead vocalist Freddie Mercury.
The staging was mostly the same as on their 2017 stop. The same giant, curved video screen initially concealed the end stage, and a runway to the b-stage. However, the 2019 staging added in balconies to the back of the stage, where super fans watched the show from behind. This fun touch gave the show a more interactive feel.
Adam Lambert seriously stunned vocally with career-best runs and breath control. The American Idol alumni exclusively performed Queen tracks, and none of his own original material. A star in his own right, Lambert could have pulled off a short medley of his big radio hits.
The elephant in the room would be anyone thinking Adam Lambert is trying to replace Freddie Mercury. It’s basic logic at best, and not true, but of course Lambert had to make things official with a kind tribute. Still, he kept things cheeky with mid-song dialog like, “I’m a queen!”
Lead guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor lent lead vocals to a few songs throughout the night, usually during slower ballads. It was refreshing to see them perform both on their own and together, occasionally accompanied by audio of Freddie Mercury.
It was hard to miss the wide variety of fans in the crowd. Young, old, LGBTQ+, straight and everyone in between showed up this time. Compared to a more Baby Boomer-centric 2017 crowd, it felt like the success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody reignited their mass appeal. After all the decades of stratospheric highs and sad times, it was a beautiful full circle moment to witness.