How Adam Lambert Channels Freddie Mercury in Key Queen Set Moment
Brian May gave fans a peek at the behind-the-scenes workings of Queen in a recent Instagram post, detailing how he and Adam Lambert workshopped a pivotal moment in the band's set for maximum audience impact, taking a cue from Freddie Mercury.
The moment took place during the band's performance of "Somebody to Love" on Oct. 16 at Boston's TD Garden. May can be seen flashing an impressed smile at Lambert when he sings the pivotal "somebody to ... " line and is met with overwhelming crowd response.
You can watch the clip below.
Why Queen's 'Somebody to Love' Performance in Boston Was Special
It might seem like one of several epic moments in Queen's well-oiled set, but May revealed in his post that the "Somebody to Love" crowd participation was the result of much trial and error.
"This makes me smile — because this clip from tonight’s show in the Boston Garden has a little story embedded in it," the guitarist wrote. "It’s the result of one of those small adjustments that we constantly look for, to maximize the show. Adam sings our songs in his own unique way, bringing in lots of new ideas and adding sometimes amazing extensions of the vocal lines.
"‘Somebody to Love’ is a great example of this — in which Adam truly delivers a tour de force every night," he continued. "Well, there’s one point in the song which all our fans know very well, where the music stops and, in a tradition which goes right back to Freddie, we invite the audience to complete the line. 'Somebody tooooooo?' Well, Adam has, for a while, extended that 'tooo' in a way which added extra sparkle … you can check it out in recordings of previous nights on the tour. But the audience generally sounded uncertain about how they should sing that line … and I figured that this was because the cue was altered — it wasn’t the way it is on the original studio recording. It perhaps seemed to resolve the phrase, too."
May then suggested to Lambert "that, as an experiment, he might try singing the end of the line completely straight, to give a clear cue to the audience. He tried it for the first time tonight, and this is the result. So at the beginning of this clip, you see me listening very intently to what might happen. As soon as we heard the response we knew! So that’s why I am saying to Adam with a smile, 'Not bad!' — and he’s laughing and saying, 'It worked!' Then, in his happiness, he embarks on a supercharged series of improvised lines over the coda of the song."
The guitarist further praised Lambert for "wailing in full voice — not falsetto — way up to a high 'E' with such power and passion and fluidity that I challenge you to name anyone else who could come close to what he’s doing. So in my face, you see my admiration and enjoyment of this moment — in which we’re all clearly finding a new joy!"
Queen's 2023 Rhapsody Tour Details
Queen kicked off the 2023 North American leg of their Rhapsody tour on Oct. 4 in Baltimore. The 25-song set included plenty of their biggest hits, including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust," "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions," along with a few surprises, including "Stone Cold Crazy" for the first time since 2018 "Is This the World We Created ... ?" for the first time with Lambert.
The current leg of the Rhapsody tour will conclude on Nov. 12 in Los Angeles.
Queen Albums Ranked
Gallery Credit: Eduardo Rivadavia