Added on 03-Dec-2008
Title: We still Rock You
It was a great concert, with all the condiments: good rock, emotion and an equilibrate mix between past and present.
Keith Richards once said that there is no way to explain music. “If there was – he affirmed – its magic would disappear”.
And magic either is there or it is not. Partial magic would just be parody. Queen + Paul Rodgers performed last Friday night, at Velez Sarsfield stadium. Without Freddie Mercury and without John Deacon, Bryan May and Roger Taylor came back to Liniers 27 years later.
Cosmos images on the screen at the back. Rays. Explotions. On the field, a mix of expectation and fascination. On the stage, a powerful Hammer To Fall announces what’s about to begin. Then, a reminder of a distant past with Fat Bottomed Girls, full of Queen-kind of choruses, followed by Anonther One Bites The Dust, sang along by the audience. Two more classics: I Want It All and I Want To Break Free, which shows, for the first time, the line with the singer at the front, the drummer at the back and the guitarist between them.
On the side, Spike Edney on the keyboards, Jamie Moses in charge of a second guitar and Danny Miranda on the bass would add some 21st century kind of power and sound to 20th century songs.
The examination ends, Paul Rodgers passes with merit, and the band stands for their present. C-lebrity sounds with May and Rogers performing back to back on the end of the large runway that is surrounded by the audience. More from Cosmos Rock. While May pulls the strings, Rodgers adds the harmonica, right before performing, all alone with his guitar, Seagull, a song which belongs to him from the times of Bad Company.
Barely a prelude of an intimate set: “Hi to our old and new friends”, says Brian May, “For me and for Roger, being here is like a dream come true. I bring greetings from Freddie”, he says and punches, but not low, with Love Of My Life. Then comes the time for 39, with the band again coming together, and an impeccably singing Taylor, that lengthens the night at the opera with I’m In Love With My Car, after a solo for the fans. The pop hit of the 80s A Kind Of Magic is followed by one of the most rocker solos of the night in the hands of May, and dedicated to Argentina with Las palabras de amor and Say It’s Not True, with Rodger’s return to the stage and of the present into the performance, with We Believe.
Up next, the May’s soloist set opens a window to the past, when Mercury appears on the screen for the first time with image and sound.
By now, nobody is asking whether this is or isn’t Queen. If Rodgers is or isn’t. And the phrase ready Freddie? of Crazy Little Thing Called Love does not sound out of place. In the end, that must be why The Show Must Go On comes right away, preparing the tribute to the singer of Bohemian Rhapsody, a hymn that 35 thousand people sing along with him. Just as back in those times.
The encores are inaugurated with Cosmos Rock. More rocking, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions for the end, with the rigorous Argentine T-Shirts and God Save The Queen on the back.
Just as then, but different, Queen performed in Argentina. And just as then, the magic was present.
LA NACIÓN NEWSPAPER
Title: Emotion keeps them alive
The show is of Queen + Paul Rodgers. With Paul Rodgers in main vocals, Brian May in vocals and guitar, and Roger Taylor in vocals and drums. Tour musicians: Danny Miranda (bass), Philip Edney (Keyboards) and James Moses (second guitar). Last night, Velez Sarsfield Stadium. Our opinion: Very Good.
Those are tears from emotion, and they come at the end because only two and a half hours after, this woman can untangle the lump in her throat. This Queen’s fan is not alone; on the contrary, lots of the fans in the field would shed a tear. And from the stage, while the band says goodbye with the satisfaction of far exceeding duty, Brian May looks at the 40 thousand people that filled Velez with glassy eyes.
“We’re finally here… Hello to our old friends and hello to our new friends”. May’s words in a practiced Spanish come after the band has gone through the first part of a long show, planned in detail. The doubts that aroused when the guitarist and the drummer Roger Taylor decided to come back and associate the name of Queen to the singer Paul Rodgers were completely cleared last night. Because nostalgia can be an ally, but the line between good taste and the band doing covers of themselves is way too thin. In order to avoid this, the band planned a show divided into blocks, short sets with one of its members as an exclusive protagonist, and to the list of classic hits, they added songs from their new album (C-elebrity, We Believe, and Cosmos Rockin), classic hits from Rodger’s past (All Right Now, the great classic of Free) and those tricks which are necessary in a show at a Stadium.
The anxiety of a faithful and varied audience (fathers and sons, fans coming from the glorious times of the band and some under 30 years old) came to an end when the giant screen on the back lighted to show the cosmos, and an imaginary journey from out space to our planet. Now, with our feet on Earth, the band came out to the stage with a 70s classic Hammer To Fall. In this first part, and with the whole stadium serving as a chorus, some other stainless classics would shine: Another One Bites The Dust and I Want It All. Up to this point, the ones in the front, on the standing VIP section, were squeezing themselves against the fence as if they were adolescents. A worried May spoke in Spanish again: “it’s a little bit dangerous here in the front” and then “a little calma”.
Freddie Mercury had to appear on the scene and he did, after saying hello to the audience through Brian May. From the screens, the tenor voice of Mercury sang Love Of My Life, but, different from the show in 1981, there were no more lighters to join him, but thousands of cell phones and digital cameras instead. Towards the end, a second appearance of the man of impeccable moustaches would come, in order to give us Bohemian Rhapsody. From here and now, Rodgers would be in charge of ending the song.
The ex singer of Bad Company took this opportunity to demonstrate his lineage of a classic hard rock singer; the guitarist in order to reedit his amazing solos and the white-haired drummer to entertain the audience. They both showed their gifted voices in the very front of the runway that, in the centre of the stage, was inserted various meters inside the field. Then, Taylor took his sticks to hit the cords of Miranda’s double bass and play the melodies for some Queen classics, and later, to play his drummer while an assistant placed piece by piece in front on him.
Their old epic rock, the same that served to reinstall rock and roll in stadiums, would shine towards the end with songs as We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions. Then, the final goodbye would come, together with the feeling of having elegantly coexisted with nostalgia and the irreplaceable figure of Freddie Mercury.
Title: Queen Offered A Majestic Show in Velez
Twenty seven years after their first and historic visit to Argentina, Queen did not only come back to Argentina, but also to Velez Stadium, the same that served as the shelter for those unforgettable nights in 1981.
It feels strange to name this huge band in a present time, especially because of the absence of the genius Freddie Mercury and of John Deacon, and because Queen was composed of four strong personalities, really important, highly talented when writing a song and, mostly, very different to each other. Those differences are the ones that helped them have a unique style, that was always present in them.
After some time of being soloists, Brian May and Roger Taylor decided to come back together (as they’ve already done with Smile) and so they put in motion, once again, the Queen of Rock music. For such an enterprise, they summoned Paul Rodgers, whom they knew from back in the 70s, and a contemporary of Queen with Free and Bad Company. They toured for two years and the enthusiasm led to a new album, a most praiseworthy idea with the aim of avoiding to turn into a tribute band to themselves.
On 2008 Cosmos Rocks finally appeared. Even though the critics were not perfect, and we all had some doubts while we waited for the concert in our country, when the lights of the stadium went off, and the band burst onto the stage with Hammer to Fall, many of those doubts turned more and more optimistic. Tie Your Mother Down, Fat Bottomed Girls, Another One Bites The Dust and I Want It All were a kind of uninterrupted bombing that touched even those who were the most skeptical. To discover that, in spite of the years that passed, Roger Taylor’s drums still sound as baroque and explosive as always, that Brian May can still do whatever he pleases to with his guitar, without ever loosing good taste (nor his long and curly hair) and that the band (plus a second guitar, a bass and keys) still knows how to rock, were conclusive signs that everything was in order.
Some old hits such as I Want To Break Free, A Kind Of Magic and the widely applauded 39, were inserted with some brand new songs such as C-elebrity, Sur’s up… School’s Out! and Say It’s Not True. And in both cases, it was evident that the singer Paul Rodgers was not at all an improvised or amateur. With vocals which are closer to blues music and a never unnoticeable presence at the stage, the singer earned the audience admiration, while singing the band’s classic his own way, style and without falling in the ridicule of trying to imitate Mercury. His register sounded better in the most rocker songs (particularly in Crazy Little Thing Called Love) and when singing his own songs, such as Feels Like Making Love and All Right Now.
As every band that came up during the 70s, Queen kept some of the rituals of that time, such as drums and guitar solos, and the audience applauded their giftedness. This came to the higher point when May, all alone with his acoustic guitar, gave a deeply felt version of Love Of My Life, a sublime song that, as such, still resists the pass of time.
Freddie’s soul was around during all times in Liniers neighborhood, and both technology and the screen had us watching and listening Bijou and the eternal and monumental Bohemian Rhapsody.
After two and half hours of a show that over exceeded our expectations, and that showed a good-shaped band and a staging in accordance to this legendary band, it was far more clear that the idea of coming back as Queen + Paul Rodgers is, not more and not less than an association that complement each other perfectly: while Rodgers respectfully gives his voice to a historical band, May and Taylor give the instrumental support to a vocalist still interested in expressing himself on a stage. Without the epic character that they had in 1981, but neither lost back in time and with a new album, the band did not disappoint anyone in our country. “It is a dream being here again”, said Brian May in a good spoken Spanish. The 40 thousand souls present at Velez Stadium felt exactly the same thing.
Title: Queen: Love Of Our Lives
Velez Sarsfield Stadium was full of a varied audience of all ages, including many parents with their children. The common denominator was the expectation to know whether this new version of Queen including Paul Rodgers would rise up to the legend. After two generous hours and a half of a show that went through all the moods, rhythms and emotions, we can state that they did.
It was a real journey through time, but with focus on present time. Maybe the hardest challenge this institution of British rock is to prove – both to the audience and to themselves – that they are a music entity with a validity which is appropriate for nowadays. Both their new album, The Cosmos Rocks, as their show, are bets that, judging by what we saw and heard, have every chance to win.
Queen + Paul Rodgers perform an epic and ambitious show, a show which is full of surprises, sometimes disconcerting. After the images of a journey through cosmos that finally leads to the Earth, the band shows up – which is a sextet when live, including, besides Paul Rodgers, Brian May and Roger Taylor, three excellent musicians: Philip Edney on keyboards, Daniel Miranda on bass, and James Moses on second guitar. They open with Hammer To Fall, followed by a set of Queen classics, Tie Your Mother Down, Fat Bottomed Girls and Another One Bites The Dust. When the next songs come, the characteristics of this new formation are clear: Rodgers adapts the songs to his own style, not trying to replace Mercury. His rough throat, typical of British R&B, which is excellently preserved, reinvents the songs in a way that makes them sound more rocker, without making them sound unnatural. In order to reaffirm the classic sound of the band, there are the vocal harmonies – wonderfully performed – May’s guitar with its unmistakable violin-like sound, and Taylor’s powerful drums. The images, in the giant screen on the back of the stage and two smaller screens on the sides, reproduce what happens on the stage.
C-elebrity and Surfs Up Schools Out take part of the first dose of new songs, before May – who spoke in a primitive but understandable Spanish during the entire night – sais: “We’re finally here! For me and for Roger this is like a dream, thanks for having us here!”, and then presents Paul Rodgers, who appeared with a great acoustic song of Bad Company, Seagull.
This was the beginning of a set with more or less soloist participations, were everything happened: May singing Love Of My Life with his 12-cord guitar and the audience joining him, Taylor playing 39 with guitar, double bass and an accordion, creating a pub-like atmosphere, followed by an unusual drum solo which included his playing the double bass with his sticks, and another solo were he initially plays the bass drum and hi hat only, while an assistant progressively adds more and more components to the battery till it is complete. Later comes the excellent A Kind Of Magic, the almost kitsch Love Of My Life (dedicated to the audience), more new songs – We Believe, Say It’s Not True – and an almost heavy version of Feel Like Making Love, a song from Bad Company, while photos of Paul at those times pass in the screen. Right after, there’s a long solo from May, including songs such as Last Horizon and Bijou, with cosmic visions on the back, and even a brief apparition of Freddie on the screen.
Finally, the final set comes, with a list of hits such as Under Pressure – which they introduced saying “this song is a peace symbol” – Radio Gaga, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Show Must Go On, which, of course, has an especial impact given the circumstances. To finish, Bohemian Rhapsody has a surreal character, mixed with Freddie singing it from the screens and with the band performing it from the stage, till sometimes it is hard to differentiate reality from fantasy, present from past. It is a really well-executed effect, and without any low punches.
The encores part is enormous: Cosmos Rocks, great rock and roll from their new album, All Right Now, the extraordinary Free song, with May playing the exact same solo as the original guitar player, Paul Kosoff, We Will Rock You, and We Are The Champions, which also has turn of the screw when being performed by all of the musicians wearing the Argentine T-Shirt, including Brian with the number 10 (Maybe Diego gave it to him back in 1981?). Queen has always been a strange mixture of melodrama, opera, pastiche, kitsch, rock and roll and great songs. The tradition continues.
LA NACIÓN NEWSPAPER
Title: The Queen reigns again
Rock likes comebacks, and especially the most unexpected ones. For a band with such a charismatic figure as Freddie Mercury to decide to come back after their singer’s death, is a risk which everyone likes to stand out and also impregnate with an epic atmosphere. But Queen is not the ideal example. The thing is that this new chapter of the band that took rock in stadiums to a worldwide scale, is marked by good and common sense. Instead of running the risk of choosing someone to imitate Mercury, which would have been condemned by fans and rejected by critics, Brian May and Roger Taylor associated with another historical singer of the British scenery, Paul Rodgers. John Deacon gave up participating in the band, but he approved of using the name of the band and the three members of this new band agreed that their alliance should be called Queen + Paul Rodgers.
“It is great being back, especially in Latin America after so long. We have new material, so we’ll have a mix between Queen’s greatest hits, Paul Rodger’s classics from Free and Bad Company, and the new album. We’re very happy to be here again”. Still in Santiago de Chile, a pleasant and talkative Brian May answered the phone in order to tell us about the experience of a comeback that started in 2005, in a theatre in London, and that has already gone through two international Tours. The second one will have them performing tonight at Velez Sarsfield Stadium, the same place where they played in 1981, for three nights in a row, headed by Freddie Mercury and with a festive audience which was little used to seeing great bands performing live.
- Brian, what motivated you to come back with Queen?
- After so many years, I realized that the moment had come to do some other things that fascinated me as much as music, but that had been left out. That’s why I concentrated in finishing my doctorate in Astronomy, and doing some telescopic photography research, writing a book together with other researchers and spending some time with my family. But then a day came when the possibility of start doing, again, what we’ve done our entire lives, and we got really excited. I’m now very happy with the decision we made.
That fantastic day came on September, 2004, on Fender Stratocaster fiftieth anniversary. Rodgers sang an old hit of Free, All Right Now, and May played the role of guitar hero. Shortly after, they were both rehearsing, together with Taylor, a brief set of Queen classics.
- How did you meet Paul Rodgers?
- I’ve known Paul for a long time, and I’ve been part of the audience in some of his bands, such as Free and Bad Company, but a few years ago, when we played together on stage, we realized that there was a kind of chemistry between us. I immediately called Roger and he was completely surprised, cause he never thought we could come back, but he was really enthusiastic when he knew it was Paul Rodgers, cause he was a hero to us, and the same to Freddie.
- After the first Tour, you started recording The Cosmos Rock…
- It was something instinctive, an organic creation, without any kind of preconceptions. We had some ideas regarding songs, and we worked together trying different elements. You could say that this album is the result of a group exploration.
- It must be really hard to continue with Queen without Freddie Mercury…
- The thing is we did not continue, we stopped, in the sense that we resisted to the idea of having a replacement. At the beginning, we had the idea of joining Paul and playing some old songs, specially Freddie’s, and then we extended the challenge including some of Paul’s songs. But when we are on stage, we feel that Freddie joins us somehow.