‘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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  • fineline

    And good for you Brian and Roger, this is your music and a whole new generation is appreciating your vision and courage to go out and do what you love. A whole new world is happy about this. Adam is the perfect foil for your music. There is no other voice that could bring this music alive as it was intended while adding his own unique flair and paying respectful homage to the awesome Freddie. Let the old fossils whine, one thing I think these types of people forget, is that it is not about them or their memories , it is life constantly changes and they must find this hard in all areas of their lives. So Rock On, Long Live Queen!!

  • Jacki

    Does it matter anyway? People are too hung up about this. Freddie was the best but in the absence of being able to make him rise from his grave the next best thing you can do is have the phenomenal Adam Lambert fronting the rest of Queen (and yes it’s Queen – the band was always about all of them not just one member) to perform their music and pay tribute to Freddie and keep his/their music alive. That’s the important thing. Adam is helping the legends that are Brian & Roger to bring the fantastic music & legacy of Queen to a whole new generation of fans. And I wish I could be there to witness it live.

    • Jan Lysen Berkbigler

      Jacki — I hope you can make it to one of the Queen shows this summer. If not, look up Queen + Adam Lambert live from Ukraine on youtube — professionally filmed and amazing!

  • imrah

    Brian & Roger are as much Qeen as any Queen band members, They are pioneers ,Freddie was front man but they all wrote songs for the band & sang, its amusing to read grown peeps whining like children, “don’t call it a Queen anymore, Queen died when Freddie died” Brian & Roger were not hired help of Freddie, they were Queen band then and they are QUEEN BAND NOW. I’m happy for them to be enjoying their life, doing what they love..performing live.

  • Lauriellen

    It all happened “organically” that someone told Brian and Roger to check out Adam Lambert on Idol. They were so impressed that they showed up for the finale that year. Brian and Roger are worth over a hundred million dollars each. They could lay back and just enjoy their money. But they are ARTISTS and PERFORMERS who can still get the job done as they proved at the iHeart festival. They were REBORN when they put Adam out in front. Adam does put his own spin on the songs and he is a great dancer and easy on the eyes. He is AMAZING LIVE, which is why I bought tickets for three shows at the pre-sale today. I’m giddy with anticipation.

  • aPlayer

    Did I miss something? What about John Deacon, Queen’s phenomenal bassist & co-songwriter, is he sitting this one out?

    • canali

      deacon, despite being asked repeatedly even many yr ago, has never returned to play with the band, which is sad

  • Dave Beckner

    John Deacon is still alive, you rubes!

  • Jan Lysen Berkbigler

    I am over the moon to have great seats to see Queen + Adam Lambert in Chicago this summer! Queen’s music was written to be performed live and Adam Lambert is perfect to bring those vocals back to life! Yes, Queen is Queen!! Roger and Brian rule and they would only select a singer to elevate their marvelous creations!!!!! Paul Rogers was excellent, also! Adam Lambert has that edginess that will take Queen to a whole different level!
    If you want to check out Adam with Queen — hop over to youtube and search Queen + Adam Lambert Live from Ukraine (or Moscow). There is an entire concert with Adam and it is beautifully filmed!! Breath taking!!!! That concert should be released as a DVD here!!!
    Thank you Brian, Roger and Adam for touring and keeping Queen alive!!
    It is exhausting to be plagued with whiners who think every band should have to have the original members to use the name and perform — geez — we would have very few live concerts! I have seen many bands in the past few years who have some new members and they are awesome!! Eagles, Foreigner, Journey, Night Ranger, Chicago, Styx, Def Leppard, Doobie Brothers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers etc and Bon Jovi without Richie Sambora — Phil X rocked! Band members come and go for so many reasons — but the music is the true star!