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Review: Queen + Adam Lambert bring ‘The Rhapsody Tour’ to Madison Square Garden

On Friday, October 13, Queen + Adam Lambert performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Queen + Adam Lambert
Queen + Adam Lambert. Photo Credit: Bojan Hohnjec
Queen + Adam Lambert. Photo Credit: Bojan Hohnjec

On Friday, October 13, Queen + Adam Lambert performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

This marked their second consecutive show at The Garden as part of “The Rhapsody Tour.”

Act I

Queen and Adam Lambert kicked off their set with “Machines (Or Back to Humans),” which was incorporated as a medley with “Radio Gaga,” where they had the audience clapping along with them.

The catchy “Hammer to Fall” featured Roger Taylor on background vocals, and it garnered a warm reception from the “Big Apple” fans.

“New York City,” Adam Lambert shouted, and they immediately broke into the up-tempo and spitfire “Stone Cold Crazy.”

“Wow,” Lambert exclaimed and segued into the unapologetic “Another One Bites the Dust,” where he encouraged audience participation. “Sing it, New York,” Lambert said.

Act II

Roger Taylor kicked off the second act by showcased his harking, raspy voice in “I’m in Love With My Car,” while their crew was getting the motorcycle ready for the following tune “Bicycle Race,” where Lambert underwent an outfit change.

After an electrifying guitar intro by Brian May, they continued with “Fat Bottomed Girls,” where Taylor and May joined Lambert on background vocals.

Lambert took a sip of water and wiped the sweat from his face and went on to deliver a controlled, powerhouse, and expressive rendition of “I Want It All.” “Sing it,” he told the audience.

Queen + Adam Lambert
Queen + Adam Lambert. Photo Credit: Bojan Hohnjec

Act III

The third act featured “A King of Magic” with a neat, intergalactic backdrop on the videoboards, which was sheer bliss as green, fuchsia, and blue laser lights dimmed from the stage. Lambert went on to inquire as to whether or not the New York crowd felt the magic, and the answer was a resounding “yes.”

Lambert acted out the tune “Killer Queen” in a true musical theatre fashion, and asked the crowd if they were “having fun,” and he went on to greet the sold-out Madison Square Garden venue.

Adam Lambert addresses MSG

“I am going to introduce you to those who shall not be named but I’m going to name them anyway… you know who I am talking about,” Lambert said. “The two rock and roll legends that are on this stage tonight.”

“Give it up, ladies and gentlemen, for Sir Brian May and Roger Taylor,” Lambert shouted, and the response was raucous and deafening, as everyone knew that they were in the presence of rock and roll royalties.

“Can you believe that I’ve gotten to take the stage with these gentlemen for over 10 years now?” Lambert said in disbelief. “I consider myself so lucky and fortunate to be able to sing this music all over the world with these extraordinary musicians, so thank you both for making that possible,” he said, effusively.

“Just know that every time I take this stage, along with these gentlemen and I’m sure all of you, I have Freddie Mercury in my heart,” Lambert expressed.

“Let’s give it up for Freddie Mercury, c’mon. Let’s get this celebration going in honor of Freddie,” Lambert added.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” was nonchalant, upbeat, and joyful. During “Somebody to Love,” the New York fans became his backup choir, where he encouraged them to sing the choruses with him.

Act IV

“This is Madison Square freaking Garden,” Brian May exclaimed. “This is probably the most famous rock and roll arena in the entire world. It has the most incredible energy of them all. Thank you for packing it out, and thank you for coming out.”

“It sounds to me like you are in very good voice tonight, New York,” May said. “I need you to help me with this song… it was a song written by Freddie Mercury many years ago and I will need all the help I can get,” May added.

May sat on a stool with his acoustic guitar and serenaded the audience to “Love of My Life,” which was an emotional highlight. He asked if everyone could light up the venue with their phones, and the fans obeyed and fulfilled his request as if he were an army general.

The Queen guitarist was quite touched by the end result, which he praised as a “beautiful sight,” and he complimented their “beautiful voices.” He subsequently joked that the New York audience sounded so much better tonight than they did at yesterday’s show at The Garden.

With the help of modern technology, the late Freddie Mercury was able to join May on stage towards the end of “Love of My Life,” which was filled with raw emotions.

May continued with “’39,” which he described as a folk tune that he wrote about “time travel.”

After an impressive drum solo by Roger Taylor, he introduced the other band members that were onstage with them. These included long-serving Queen keyboard player Spike Edney, bass guitarist Neil Fairclough, and percussionist Tyler Warren. 

Roger Taylor of Queen
Roger Taylor of Queen. Photo Credit: Bojan Hohnjec

Taylor shared that “Under Pressure” was Queen’s collaboration with the late David Bowie, and Taylor and Lambert traded lead vocals during this noteworthy performance, which paid homage to both Bowie and Mercury.

“Tie Your Mother Down” was sassy and a great deal of fun. “It’s crazy time,” Lambert teased and segued into “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” while the fans clapped along with them.

Act V

They began their fifth act with “I Want to Break Free,” and it was followed by the powerful “Who Wants to Live Forever,” where Lambert displayed his dynamic vocal range as he hit the high notes and made them seem effortless.

Brian May’s Guitar Solo

Brian May’s guitar solo was a true masterclass on the instrument, where he showcased his prowess and unparalleled abilities. It featured a neat intergalactic background, where he was able to fuse his love for astrophysics and music, and delivered an exquisite guitar solo that was melodic, and was able to foster harmony in human relations, especially a time when the world needed it most.

The iconic musician was able to transport viewers and listeners to different realms with this heartfelt guitar-driven performance.

Queen + Adam Lambert continued with a poignant version of “Is This the World We Created…?” where it was just Brian May on acoustic guitar and Lambert featuring his crisp, pristine vocals. While Brian May and Freddie Mercury penned the song nearly 40 years ago, it still holds true in the current times.

They closed their elaborate set with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which earned them tremendous applause and standing ovations.

Queen + Adam Lambert
Queen + Adam Lambert. Photo Credit: Bojan Hohnjec

Encores

For their encore, the band and Lambert returned to the stage with the crowd-pleaser classics “We Will Rock You” coupled with a reprise of “Radio Gaga,” and “We Are The Champions,” all of which became the operatic rock anthems of the night.

As a result, the audience was able to leave the venue with a feeling of nostalgia and sheer euphoria. The whole production was remarkable with its laser lights, videoboards, as well as other visual and special effects.

“The Queen + Adam Lambert concert at Madison Square Garden was an extraordinarily uplifting and moving event. The Freddie Mercury tribute that they did was amazing,” exclaimed Dar Dowling, fan and attendee.

Actor Robert Scott Wilson of “Days of Our Lives” proclaimed Queen as “one of the greatest of all time.” “They are so badass,” he exclaimed.

“This Queen + Adam show was a once in a lifetime event for me, and a memory I will never forget,” said Sergio Mauras, fan and attendee.

The Verdict

Overall, Queen + Adam Lambert put on a high-octane live show at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, which is affectionately known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” They proved that Queen music is alive and well, and it is evident that the legacy of Freddie Mercury and their musical catalog will live on forever.

Lambert deserves to be commended for the respect he gave all of these timeless songs, as well as to Sir Brian May and Roger Taylor, without upstanding Queen or the late Freddie Mercury, and he proved that he is a fan himself of the band and their musical work.

Brian May and Roger Taylor prove that they are like fine wine, where they only get better with age and experience. Adam Lambert was a charismatic and versatile front-man, who was able to display his wide range as a vocalist, song stylist, and storyteller. Queen’s music is still timely and relevant, and it will never go out of style.

This concert is a must for all fans of classic or modern rock and roll music. They were able to put their New York audience into a time warp back to the ‘70s, at a time when the music was hip, resonant, and cool. Queen + Adam Lambert’s live show at The Garden earned an A+ rating. Well done.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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