As Queen’s well-received world tour with Adam Lambert continues, he’s noticed something about the reception: Much of it is reflective of the memories fans bring to the shows. In the broadest sense, he has become the caretaker for his hero Freddie Mercury’s music. And Lambert, even as he adds a few of his own personal touches to these songs during a series of on-going 2014 dates, is OK with that.
“Yes, there’s a huge sense of nostalgia for people, but that’s fine by me,” Lambert tells New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times. “The idea of this tour, really, is to remind the audience of this band’s legacy. Even though I’m a new singer for them, we didn’t want to make a new version of Queen; we wanted to remind people what was so great about them in the first place.”
Mercury wasn’t simply a centerpiece presence in Queen’s on-stage presentation, he was also a huge part of its creative team. Gone now since 1991, their shared contributions are carried forward by a pared-down lineup that includes founders Brian May and Roger Taylor, along with a host of sidemen. They’ve worked with Lambert off and on since his showstopping turn on the 2009 American Idol finale. Still, he’s never taken Mercury’s presence — even all of these years later — for granted.
“Has Freddie Mercury left me big shoes to fill? Of course,” Lambert says, before adding an impish aside: “That’s why I have such fabulous shoes on tour. You should see my fuckin’ heels! But fortunately, Freddie and I have some things in common. We’re both big, loud singers, but our voices are different, so finding my own voice within the songs has been an interesting challenge. It’s important to put my own stamp on them without straying too far from the originals. The key is to be mindful of the original intention of the songs. What is the emotional core of this song? What feeling is it trying to generate in the listener? I try to focus on that.”