Review: Queen and Adam Lambert, Vector Arena

Thursday 4 September 2014

Review: Queen and Adam Lambert, Vector Arena

They sure did rock us! The performance of Queen and Adam Lambert at Auckland’s Vector Arena last night was simply fantastic (and not cheesy like my opening line). The show was anything but a ‘tribute’ show – there were no unmet expectations in the stadium for anyone who was worried about watching a poor imitation of Freddie Mercury. Lambert oozed flamboyance and tenacious talent as he took the stage, making the show come alive with his own vivaciousness that was endearing and captivating. 

As I got ready for the show, I admit I was hesitant to not get my expectations too high – after all, a lot of bands struggle to achieve the same success when a vital member of the group is missing. I took my father as my guest who was similarly excited but worried that it simply wouldn’t be the same. He is quite possibly one of the biggest Queen fans, he has every record and CD (that he listens to every night!), books and biographies as well as having seen Queen with Freddie twice in the UK.

As we gathered in line we saw punters dressed in sparkles, Freddie mustaches and feathers. The concert kicked off with a wowing start with Lambert owning the stage. He brought a flare and flamboyance that was provocative, cheeky and ever so confident. It was a good start (a very good start!) to the show as Brian May and Roger Taylor combined their much loved, enduring Queen style with that of Lambert’s. 

I briefly looked over to my father to gauge his opinion after ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ – he approved and so did I. The music was fantastic and Lambert really did hold his own. Any concern that he would try to be another Freddie impersonator was gone.

There were quite a few songs from the early albums that I expect a few of the younger generations didn’t know, but inevitably, songs like ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘Somebody To Love’ got the crowd of all ages roaring.

Between the cheers and Lambert’s cheekiness, Brian May took centre stage to talk and thank us all. “I can’t believe we’re back in Auckland after… 40 years?! It feels incredible to be back here.” May took the microphone to sing ‘Love of My Life’ with a heart-warming wipe of the eye at the end as he reminisced singing the song with Mercury. Freddie wasn’t forgotten and these moments were touching and not overplayed.

A wonderfully dazzling disco ball came from the roof and hauntingly lit the room as Queen, Lambert and Mercury (via video clips shown on the huge screen at the back of the stage) sang ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, before kicking back into action with ‘Tie Your Mother Down’. These short but intimate clips of Freddie were wonderful to see and worked well with the contrasting but equal talent of Lambert.

Lambert’s costumes were crazy but charming and involved a lot of rhinestones, feathers, gold and leopard print. It was great to see him stay true to his image from his old American Idol days while on stage with a band like Queen.

All in all, the show completely blew my cautious expectations away and apparently my father’s also as I had cheers ringing in my left ear. Screens set up in the middle and sides of stage meant no matter where you sat you could see the action on stage as May and Lambert entertained all areas like true professionals.

I can only imagine what my father saw from Queen with Freddie in the UK, but as he left the stadium tapping and singing, his face glowing, I have no doubt that he enjoyed the show just as much, but in a different way with Lambert.

Those attending the performance on Thursday evening should prepare for a wonderful experience and no voice tomorrow!

- Casey Radley

There is now a very limited number of front row and other excellent seats that have just been released for public purchase, on sale now from Ticketmaster. So anyone that missed the chance to see this amazing show has one last chance to purchase and the pick of some of the best seats in the house!