Queen and Adam Lambert, a Special Kind of Magic at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, October 23, 2023

 

A sold-out State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta played host on Monday night to the latest stop on the Queen + Adam Lambert “Rhapsody Tour.” With an official capacity of just over 17,000, the State Farm Arena also serves as the home venue for the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise, became the world’s first venue to earn TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Platinum certification for zero waste, and was uniquely architected with large angled steel columns along the building’s exterior that spell out the word “ATLANTA.” With the evening temperatures in the pleasant mid-70s, the capacity crowd – many of which were in full Freddie Mercury regalia – lined up outside the venue early as there was no opening act scheduled. 

Smoke began to fill the stage against dimmed venue lights as huge backdrop video screens started to animate when the clock crossed the 8:15pm hour. The video curtain slowly raised to reveal a fully-costumed Adam Lambert standing in front of Roger Taylor (drums), while flanking Brian May (guitar), as Queen kicked off their two-plus-hour night with a melody of “Machines (Or ‘Back to Humans’)” and “Radio Ga Ga.”

Having never seen Queen before, Lambert was as flamboyantly fantastic as their frontman as I had expected. He danced and pranced across the stage as a man completely comfortable in his element, delivering powerful vocal renditions of Queen hits such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and “I Want It All” early in the set. Upon introducing May and Taylor, Lambert also reflected that he has been “lucky to play this iconic music with those legends for 10 years” and that “Freddie will always be in our hearts.”

The stage structure and show production, which included multiple wardrobe changes by Lambert, fabulous lighting arrangements throughout, and complimentary imagery on large video screens behind the band, accentuated the Queen experience. May and Taylor also effectively leveraged the B-Stage in the center of the arena for moving performances of “Love of My Life,” to which a video of Mercury supported May on vocals while the venue was lit up with cellphone lights, and following his drum solo, Taylor kicked off a string of well-known hits in “Under Pressure,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

Not to be forgotten was Lambert, whom after the band performed its 1984 hit “I Want to Break Free,” showcased his lovely vocal range with an amazing rendition of “Who Wants to Live Forever,” which, in a bit of trivia, happened to be included in the 1986 cult action film, Highlander. That was followed by the 76-year-old May being lifted high above the crowd for his guitar solo among an atmospheric light show, which then lead into “Is This the World We Created …?” and “The Show Must Go On.” Queen then put an exclamation point on their main setlist performance with the ever-popular and universally-adored “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was supported by familiar video imagery and operatic background vocals from the original band.

With Queen now off in the dark, a video of Mercury’s iconic “Ay-Oh” played on an enormous stage screen, prompting immediate audience-response to his ques. Returning for their encore, Queen bookended a reprise of “Radio Ga Ga” with their globally-recognized anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” to punctuate the stellar Monday night of generation-influencing music. And in a tip to the town, May even donned a red “Atlanta, Georgia, Est. 1847” t-shirt to end the night.

This North American segment of the Rhapsody Tour will wrap up in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, November 12, at BMO Stadium. Queen + Adam Lambert will then pick up touring again starting Sunday, February 2, 2024, at the Vantelin Dome in Nagoya, Japan.

 

Queen

Brian May – guitars, vocals, keyboards
Roger Taylor – drums, vocals, percussion, guitars, keyboards
Adam Lambert – lead vocals
Spike Edney – keyboards (touring)
Neil Fairclough – bass, backing vocals (touring)
Tyler Warren – percussionist (touring)
John Deacon – bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals (pre-recorded/retired)
Freddie Mercury – vocals, piano, keyboards (pre-recorded/deceased)

 

 

Setlist

ACT I

1.) Machines (Or ‘Back to Humans’) / Radio Ga Ga
2.) Hammer to Fall
3.) Another One Bites the Dust

ACT II

4.) I’m In Love With My Car
5.) Bicycle Race
6.) Fat Bottomed Girls
7.) I Want It All

ACT III

8.) A Kind of Magic
9.) Killer Queen
10.) Don’t Stop Me Now
11.) Somebody to Love

ACT IV (B-Stage)

12.) Love of My Life
13.) ’39
14.) Drum Solo
15.) Under Pressure
16.) Tie Your Mother Down
17.) Crazy Little Thing Called Love

ACT V

18.) I Want to Break Free
19.) Who Wants to Live Forever
20.) Guitar Solo
21.) Is This the World We Created…?
22.) The Show Must Go On
23.) Bohemian Rhapsody

Encore

24.) We Will Rock You
25.) Radio Ga Ga
26.) We Are the Champions

 

 

 

 

 

 

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