Last night The Audience In My Arena and I went to see QUEEN! Executive Summary: It was GRATE!
The gig was at our FAVOURITE big venue (i.e. the only one we ever go to), the O2 arena. It's dead good there - not only is it SUPER PEASY to get to from our house, it's also actually dead nice. It is VAST but feels quite cosy, the seats are comfy, the sound is good, and the bar is easily accessible. This is pretty much all I require from The Big Gig Venue Experience, and the O2 fulfills all criteria ADMIRABLY.
It was the aforesaid Kick Drum Of My Kit's idea to go, and indeed she PAID for the both of us, which was pretty flipping amazing. We'd checked stage times before going and arrived with about 20 minutes leeway... and then stood in a MASSIVE shuffling queue for 20 minutes. They were doing individual bag checks and metal detector walk throughs into the main arena, which, thinking about it, I guess is understandable, but did mean it took AGES to get through. Once we WERE inside I spotted two seats on the AISLE and RIGHT near the doors. "I wish those were our seats," I thought, and they TOTALLY WERE! Even better, the person in the seat next to us never showed up, so we not only had EASY ACCESS to bars and toilets, but also LEG ROOM! We even had time to go and get BEER before the ACTUAL start time - we were GIG WINNERS!
This actual gig itself was BRILLO. You know these Stadium Rock Shows that you read about? It was one of THOSE, done by MASTERS of the GENRE. There were LAZERS and SMOKE and EXPLOSIONS and SCREENS and a GIANT ROBOT and everything you could wish for. There was also a great deal of BUSINESS over the course of the two hours, including Adam Lambert riding a pink tricycle for "I Want To Ride My Bicycle", Brian May doing a BIT in the middle of the Arena with a Stereographic Selfie Stick, and Roger Taylor doing a DRUM SOLO FACEOFF with the percussionist (surprisingly there were only six of them onstage throughout - Queen, Adam Lambert, a bass player, percussionist and keyboard player). A small, teenage, voice within me said "This is decadent and ludicrous!" while a much larger, WISER voice, replied "YES AND IT IS MAGIC!"
The SONGS were RUDDY FAB throughout - they started off with a couple of songs that I Did Not Know but then it was pretty much ALL THE HITS, ALL THE WAY, even including the DAFT ones like "Fat Bottomed Girls" and the ENORMO HITS like... well, do a list of all their many many many hits, they DID them! Adam Lambert was also GRATE - as The Members Of My Band pointed out, the fact that he was YOUNG and AMERICAN worked in his favour, as it meant he wasn't a direct replacement for F Mercury, and it was LOVELY seeing how pleased Roger Taylor and Brian May seemed to be to have him there. He's been with them for five years now, and I imagine it has given them a new lease of LIFE that they weren't expecting, it was all rather DELIGHTFUL.
They also handled the whole "Freddie Mercury Isn't Here" bit VERY nicely, with him popping up on video at the end of a Brian May solo version of "Love Of My Life" (which was PRETTY EMOTIONAL) and then during "Bohemian Rhapsody", but that was it. Adam Lambert did a speech near the start saying he wasn't replacing anybody, and after that it all felt RIGHT. The only thing that felt slightly odd to me was that at no point did anybody mention John Deacon. When he appeared in the video section for "Bohemian Rhapsody" it felt like everyone had forgotten he'd existed!
It was, as stated earlier, GRATE, and we emerged from the 120 minutes of ROCK feeling PRETTY JOLLY HAPPY in a crowd of people who had been ROUNDLY entertained. Well done, The Band Queen + Adam Lambert, well done!