This was to be show two of two for me on the Queen + Adam Lambert tour. After the astounding performance in Philadelphia, I was not surprised to be greeted by another show that blew me away. Truly telling is the fact that my mom and sister joined my dad and I at this show, and they enjoyed it enormously, despite not being big fans at the outset.
The curtain once again dropped a few verses into the criminally underrated “Now I’m Here.” The curtain drop was just as exciting as it was in Philadelphia, except during this show I had to contend with a particularly nasty security guard physically pushing people off of the barrier of the catwalk. I’ve never seen a venue where people were not allowed on the catwalk – I had secured seats right at the end of it and was really looking forward to this. Luckily this nasty security guard was not seen in my section again. Stationed there instead was a guard who could not have been friendlier, and did a damn good job keeping everyone in line while not being rude about it. I actually called Boardwalk Hall to tell them how nice of a guy he was. Back to the show: Adam’s voice seemed in even better shape then it was in Philly, and that is saying something. “Stone Cold Crazy” seemed to possess a bit more swagger the second time, with Brian May riffing with great power and Roger Taylor laying down and indomitable beat. “Another One Bites the Dust,” however, is where I really noted an improvement in Adam’s vocals. During the Philly show, he sang “Without you when I’m gone” and “And kicked me out on my own” in a lower octave, while in Atlantic City, he sang it in the higher octave in which Freddie intended it to be sung. A minor thing, no doubt, but I am pretty picky when it comes to vocalists, and I was very pleased with Adam’s near perfectionism. “Fat Bottomed Girls” was brilliant once again, with Adam’s voice blending in beautifully with those of Roger and Brian. It truly is a testament to the skills of Roger and Brian that their voices seemed to have changed very little through the years. They still slay those harmonies!
“In the Lap of the Gods…Revisited” and “Seven Seas of Rhye” are such great parts of the setlist; that keyboard riff at the beginning of the latter never gets old, and Adam does a great job getting the crowd singing along with “Lap of the Gods.” “Killer Queen” was quite the spectacle; the crowd really got a kick out of Adam strewn across a velvet, plush couch. I could really see during this song how great of a time that Adam and Brian have playing together. They really interact like they have been playing together for decades. “Somebody to Love” and “I Want it All” were as killer as ever, with the sing-a-long during the latter always a great time.
Next up was the fitting tribute to Freddie Mercury that has happened during the middle of each show of the tour. Brian May took to a chair at the end of the catwalk and broke into the beautiful “Love of My Life.” This is another criminally underrated song that Brian May sang wonderfully. Having Freddie come up on the screen to sing the final verse was quite a great touch as well. The folky “’39” was next, with Brian, Roger, and the whole rhythm section coming down to the end of the catwalk for a fun performance that they definitely seemed to be enjoying themselves. Sung by Roger, “These Are the Days of Our Lives” was another great touch, though Roger’s voice, in my opinion, is not as good as Brian’s.
After a fun drum battle, Adam retook the stage to rousing applause. I enjoyed the slower tribute very much, but many in the audience, unfortunately, did not know the songs and were rather docile throughout it. “Under Pressure” was amazing, with Adam and Roger doing a great job channeling Freddie and David Bowie. That bass riff is certainly one of the most iconic in modern music. While I expected “Love Kills” to be up next, Adam announced that they were changing up the setlist simply because the felt like it and unexpectedly broke into “Dragon Attack,” a very pleasant surprise. Brian May’s riffing during this number coupled with Roger’s beat was a thrill. Adam spit out those vocals unbelievably. This was an amazing addition to the show. Next up was arguably my favorite moment of the show, “Who Wants to Live Forever.” That disco ball and the lighting during this number really add an untold brilliance to the song. And the vocal performance is from another world. I once again felt Brian May’s solo was a buzzkill; nearly every single member of the audience sat down during it. He has certainly earned the right to play a long guitar solo, but the paying audience has earned the right to be bored by it.
After the long guitar solo, the mood was lifted instantly with the powerful “Tie Your Mother Down” which led seamlessly to the hit “Radio Gaga.” Everyone in the audience was clapping along as if it were their jobs. It really was a sight to behold. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was up next, another fun sing-a-long. I was really hoping for “The Show Must Go On” next, as it is my favorite Queen song, but I was not rewarded. What is really strange is that on the copy of the setlist that I was able to procure, it had “The Show Must Go On” listed, albeit with a bunch of question marks (see photo gallery). I wonder what made them not play it? “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a thrill; Adam and Freddie trading off verses was simply brilliant. It was certainly the most fitting tribute of the night. It really is amazing to think that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the song that started it all for Adam; he tried out on American Idol singing that song!
The predictable, but nonetheless fantastic, encore of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” had Adam coming out in a leopard print suit and sparkling crown. The crowd must have sung every word to these songs. Coming together onstage for a collective bow at the end of the show, I was amazed at how youthful Brian and Roger still look, even though Brian’s hair is long past its prime. This certainly was not a tour to miss, and anyone that made it certainly was treated to quite the spectacle.
I truly hope that Queen + Adam Lambert decide to tour again. I am sure this sentiment is shared by many! Lots of friends were at this show, and it was great to be able to discuss it with everyone at the end!