Why It’s Easy for Queen to Change Their Set List on Tour
Queen and Adam Lambert credited their technical crew for being able to quickly change their set list on tour, despite having a large-scale production on the road with them.
In a new interview with Billboard, guitarist Brian May said the non-automated nature of the show meant it was easy to come up with an idea and make it happen within two or three days.
"Every time we go into a new city and set things up, we'll go into a soundcheck for two or three hours sometimes," he reported. "When we're doing that, we'll try new stuff out. ... Our team is so flexible with us that we'll just throw out, 'Can you give us a certain lighting effect, can you do stuff on the screens?' And they'll build it on the spot for us. We don't work on backing tracks or anything, which means we can kind of do anything we want." He added: "And we're really fortunate to have a technical team that can handle that – a lot of [productions are] programmed to work at pretty exact intervals, and ours is all human touch, which gives it that live feel."
Singer Lambert laughed that their ideas for change usually came about during "a couple of glasses of wine and a chat." He continued: "Also, when we add a song sort of impromptu, we don't like to over-rehearse it. We play it in that soundcheck and maybe one more soundcheck, and then we throw it in. It makes it really fun, like it's a thrill-seeking activity, where we just go for it and see what happens."
He said the group had seen massive changes in technology during the decade they'd been working together. "We have all of these toys that we get to play with, which we all get a big kick out of. We have an amazing creative team that work with us," he explained. "Once the [tour] kicks off, the show is never locked. It's never the same show every night – we have the ability to throw a new song in, move the set around, change the visuals. There's so much freedom."
Queen and Lambert return to North America later this year.