STILL ROCK IN HAMMERSMITH

2 CD

Label: Wardour 101
Country: Japan
Released: August 2012
Recorded: HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London, England – July 14th 2012 
Sound: Excellent audience recording.
Comments:  The last show at this tour with Adam Lambert on lead vocal. The last of 3 shows at Hammersmith Apollo in London. The only 3 shows played in UK. Brian & Roger did 6 shows with Adam Lambert this year.
Roots: From a audience recording.
Time: 67:04 / 70:28


Front cover

 DISC 1
 Intro: Flash's Theme
 Seven Seas Of Rhye
 Keep Yourself Alive
 We Will Rock You  (Fast)
 Fat Bottomed Girls
 Don’t Stop Me Now
 Under Pressure
 I Want It All
 Somebody To Love
 Who Wants To Live Forever
 A Kind Of Magic
 These Are The Days Of Our Lives
 You’re My Best Friend
 Love Of My Life
 ’39

 DISC 2
 
Dragon Attack
 Drum Battle
 Guitar Solo
 I Want To Break Free
 Another One Bites The Dust
 Radio Ga Ga
 Band Introduction
 Crazy Little Thing Called Love
 The Show Must Go On
 Bohemian Rhapsody
 Tie Your Mother Down
 We Will Rock You
 We Are The Champions
 God Save The Queen  (tape)


Back to Queen + Adam Lambert main  page


Back cover





Review by Collectors music reviews

Queen’s working with American Idol winner Adam Lambert took tentative steps at the VMA in November 2011.  After announcing to the press they would work together in February 2012, they finally did with three shows at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London in the middle of July.  Still Rock In Hammersmith documents the final of the three with an excellent stereo audience recording.  

The reviews were quite positive, pointing out this pairing was much better than Paul Rodgers seven years ago.  Caroline Sullivan in The Guardian wrote that:  ”Queen and their temporary new singer Adam Lambert – a pairing that makes a good deal more sense than the earlier incarnation of Queen and blues-rock belter Paul Rodgers – were scheduled to make their British debut at the Sonisphere festival, but when that was cancelled they hastily booked three nights in Hammersmith. Thus, what was conceived as an outdoor show was brought indoors with all the trimmings intact, including fireworks, pyrotechnics and a lightshow designed to be seen for miles. The result? A spectacle of such overblown majesty that, somewhere, Freddie Mercury must have been chuckling approvingly.”

Neil McCormick of The Telegraph opined:  ”Hand-picked by guitarist Brian May, Lambert can certainly handle the vocal range of Queen’s songs although he sings in a softer, more soulful, modern pop style, without Mercury’s rock grit or operatic bombast.  But it is to his credit that he is a talent in his own right and not just an impersonator. … 

“The fans loved it but it left me feeling slightly queasy, watching another great band turn into a pastiche of themselves. You can’t begrudge old musicians wanting to play their own hits. With his white ringlets and a wizardy cloak, May looks increasingly like a rock Gandalf. He remains a phenomenal guitarist, though, and a solo spot in which he plays off his own echoing rhythm makes you wonder why he thinks he needs a band at all.

“Roger Taylor impresses too with an extended solo, drumming up a storm in a family duel with son Rufus on percussion. But individual set pieces couldn’t quite cohere into something unified or transcendent. The other session musicians hug the edge of the stage as if trying to make themselves invisible. They deliver the hits with crowd pleasing gusto but it never really feels like a band. It’s a Queen show. But it’s not Queen.”

While nobody doubts Lambert’s talent and charisma, his vocals and style just do not sound right for Queen.  The claim he’s a better fit for vocals is probably rooted in his sexuality.  But Freddie never flaunted his sexuality, certainly not as much as Lambert.  I feel the American Idol winner is too gay for Queen and adds a prissiness that just doesn’t fit.  

The show does work well musically.  During the performance they make musical references to many of the songs in the back catalog.  May plays a brief reference to “White Man” as a introduction to “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Dragon Attack” has references to “Get Down, Make Love” and “Liar.”  And Taylor does a tremendous job singing “These Are The Days Of Our Life.”    

Nobody can duplicate Freddie Mercury’s unique combination of power and vulnerability.  But Lambert’s voice is just too weak to sound convincing.  Maybe I’m missing something and the music really is very good, but it’s not to my taste.  Nevertheless, Still Rock In Hammersmith is a great document in this new chapter of Queen’s history and is worth having.