‘Is this really Queen without Freddie?’: Brian May defends tour with Adam Lambert

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Brian May was careful, when talking about Adam Lambert’s initial North American tour with Queen, to say that the former Idol finalist is “never an imitator. He finds his own way with the songs.”

This follows a consistent line of questioning about the endeavor, both in that Lambert rose to fame on a reality-singing show and that replacing Queen’s late legend Freddie Mercury is no small task.

May and fellow surviving member Roger Taylor have, of course, been performing with Lambert off and on since 2009. They appeared on a U.S. stage for the first time last September, as part of an iHeart Radio event in Las Vegas. Previously, they had made several stops across Europe.

Now comes a string of shows in the U.S. and Canada — beginning on June 19, 2014 and continuing across 19 total dates through July 20 in an outdoor concert at Washington, D.C. Tickets go on sale via Live Nation on March 14, 2014.

“It’s such a treat for me to be able to get on stage, and pay my respects,” Lambert says, “and to pay tribute to one of my favorite singers ever — and to sing some of the greatest music ever written.”

As for Lambert’s roots on American Idol, May insists that all of that is “a long way in the past,” adding that the singer — who has since issued two solo albums — is “well-established” outside of that world.

Mercury, meanwhile, has been gone for well over two decades.

“People are going to say to us: ‘You know, is this really Queen without Freddie?,'” May mused. “Well, I have no idea. I don’t know what the answer to that question is, but people want to hear Queen music and they want to hear it done great, and they want to have Roger and I play — and we love to play. So, having this opportunity is great.”

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