The Story Behind Queen + Adam Lambert

February 27, 2018
The Story Behind Queen + Adam Lambert

Samantha Severo


When you think of classic rock royalty, you think Queen. When you think of Freddie Mercury, you try to think of a word stronger than "royalty." When it comes down to picturing someone standing on stage to rock with Brian May and Roger Taylor, we can almost guarantee that your mind didn't go straight to an American Idol finalist. Well, at least not until the last decade when the newly-formed band began sporadic performances around the globe. After a European tour, a world tour and some festivals, the gang has been showing us that they still rock.

The story about how Lambert came to be Queen's newest addition is an exciting one. Most importantly, he understands that he's not a replacement for the late Mercury; he's keeping the great legacy alive.

"I’m not Freddie,” Lambert told The Telegraph. “I’m not trying to be Freddie, or compete with Freddie. But I do feel some kinship and I’m seizing this opportunity to try and make his music come to life again.”

It all started in 2009 when Lambert was a finalist on American Idol, alongside Kris Allen. May and Taylor guest starred on the weekly talent search and performed their hit "We Are The Champions" with the two contestants.

We later found out that current band-mates had been somewhat eyeing Lambert from the beginning of that Idol season. This was after the Paul Rodgers era, around the time that May and Taylor were on the fence about the band's future. Lo and behold, a young, flamboyant singer fatefully took to the Idol auditions with a stellar cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the rest was almost history. 

Fast forward a few years to the MTV Europe Awards where Queen received a Global Icon Award and had their first performance as a group with Lambert. It barely took a month for conversations to begin about something more permanent.

Since then the group has performed on late night television, shows like the X Factor and in front of sold-out stadiums and arenas. They made an exciting stop in Cleveland during summer of 2017 and we're already looking for them to come back.

In regard to what Lambert can do, let's just say it's nothing short of amazing.

“Adam is a phenomenon,” May told The Telegraph. “We weren’t looking for another singer but Adam is kind of a gift from God. He has a technical ability beyond 99.9% of singers in the world. You see that and can’t help but think, 'I wonder what would happen if we opened that box again?’"

Taylor also has quite the opinion.

"My nickname for him is Camp Elvis,” he, too, told The Telegraph. “His presence and charisma reminds me of Presley in so many ways, the look, the showmanship, the overtly sexual attitude. He is absolutely scintillating on stage, a voice in a million, and the same was true of Freddie. There are almost frightening similarities, especially socially, as an overtly gay man full of wit and banter. There are moments backstage when it seems like nothing has changed at all.”

The setlists for previous shows on the current tour include songs ranging from "I Want To Break Free" to "I'm In Love With My Car." Fans love the hits and it's no secret that the hard-core fans will want to rock to even the deepest of cuts. 

"I've always been honored and understanding of the weight and legacy of the band," Lambert told Rolling Stone. "In the beginning, I was pretty intimidated by that. I tried not to let it show. Can I handle all this? Am I going to be able to do it justice? Is the audience going to accept me? Is the band going to accept me? Am I going to be a pain in the ass? I've learned to finesse it a little bit more."

Lambert is also debuting one of his own new singles, "Two Fux," during the tour. As an active member of the LGBTQ community, he wanted this hit to empower and inspire -- May and Taylor were totally on board.

"The song really ties into all of what we're talking about—Pride, the world we live in, being inspired by a spirit like Freddie Mercury," Lambert told Esquire. "It's very empowering. It's an exciting song. I'm thrilled that Brian and Roger enjoyed the song as much as they did when I played it for them, and that they're interested in performing it with me. I'm very honored that they agreed to do that."