Added on 16-Oct-2008
Oct 16 2008 by Andrew Cowen
It could be argued that Queen without Freddie Mercury is like a bacon butty without brown sauce, yet the stinging guitar of Brian May was always as much a part of their sound as their late frontman’s voice.
It’s to Queen’s credit that they have left it a decent interval before hitting the road and they do have the benefit of a new album to plug.
With Paul Rodgers, the pocket-sized powerhouse from Free and Bad Company, they have found a kindred spirit.
Paul Rodgers and Brian May of Queen at the NIA
His bluesy strut is a million miles from old Fred so what we have now is more a collaboration than a tribute act, hence the joint billing on album sleeve and tour posters.
Queen 2008 is no substitute for the band in their mid to late 70s pomp, of course, but as a live spectacle there’s plenty of life still left in this particular monarchy. Augmented by a second guitarist, keyboards and bass (original Queen bassist John Deacon took gardening leave after Mercury’s death), the sound is still unmistakeably Queen.
The band is more a democracy these days with Rodgers, May and drummer Roger Taylor taking turns to bask in the limelight.
I Want To Break Free reminds us how great Freddie Mercury was and then it’s into a couple of tracks from the new album, The Cosmos Rocks.
C-Lebrity and Surf’s Up... Schools Out are classic Queen with Brian May leading from the front.
Roger Taylor’s still-excellent voice gets a work-out with It’s a Kind of Magic and I’m In Love With My Car, the latter particularly heavy. However, he could have spared us the drum solo.
Rodgers reminds us of his pedigree with Feel Like Makin Love buttering us up for a couple more from the new album before the band winds up in triumph with a string of hits and a cracking Bohemian Rhapsody.
An egalitarian encore included Rodgers belting out All Right Now and an ensemble version of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions. No red faces then and plenty of smiles.