Sunday, September 18, 2016
I can't remember how old I was when I first heard Queen, but I knew straightaway that the tinny cassette wasn't good enough -- Queen needed to be heard, be experienced "live".
I don't know why I never went for a concert during the years I lived in the UK. Then Freddy died, and after that there didn't seem to be any point.
Still, over the years, the music of Queen continued to pop up in my life, providing some kind of back drop -- a college football cheer, campfire night singalongs, a couple of weddings (both straight and gay), a funeral.
Make no mistake, Adam Lambert is no Freddy Mercury -- but he is the best person to carry the torch. Paul Rodgers tried but never quite got there. Rodgers had the heritage from Bad Company and Free, and when he collaborated on the first post-Freddy Queen album, I got it straightaway. In fact, I tried to get it here before it even came out, and I still remember the quizzical response from the CD shop salesperson when I asked for it -- he wanted to know if I was sure there's really a new Queen album because didn't I know that Freddy Mercury has been long gone? Anyway, that album didn't really work. Rodgers was old school rock, he couldn't bring Queen into the 21st century. And back I went to listening to the voice of a dead man sing.
And then Lambert totally rocked it on American Idol with Brian May and Roger Taylor. It was a work night and when the programme came on, everyone dropped what they were doing and gathered in front of the TV. And look what Lambert is doing with May and Taylor now! Who would've thought.
Freddy's mantle fits well on him. And as if in acknowledgement, he came out for the encore in a crown. (The second encore was May playing God Save the Queen -- and you could tell the embedded pommies in the crowd because they were the only ones singing.)
Speaking of singing, I must've joined in 3 or 4 impromptu choruses (chorii?) of Bohemian Rhapsody with 3 or 4 groups of random strangers, the last rendition on the 1am train out of Raffles Place.
Queen does that to you. It's A Kind of Magic.