Koster's Assignment? The Set List for the Queen/Lambert Tour!
As I presciently suggested years ago – the first time I ever saw him, back in the early days of his season of American Idol – Adam Lambert has officially joined Queen for a full tour (and not just a one-off type thing they did in Vegas last year).
In addition to Lambert, of course, there'll be founding members Brian May (guitar/vox) and Roger Taylor (drums/vox) -- and whomever is lucky enough to play bass.
Frankly, it didn't take Nostradamus to predict this would eventually happen, any more than it would take an American Idol judge to know Lambert is in all ways the perfect replacement for the late, great Freddie Mercury – and far better than Paul Rodger (who joined up with May and Taylor some years back).
With this new Queen, I almost wish they'd have a tour stop close enough that I could go see them – except for one problem.
I stopped paying any serious attention to Queen after A Day at the Races, when Mercury's vision of the band usurped May's and became a completely different musical beast.
Let the record show that Queen became the biggest band in the world during that period, so Freddie's Vaudeville/disco/glam-pop concept worked out in grand fashion – and it's probably fair to suggest that May and Taylor were mostly onboard with the band's dramatic shift in direction. Hell, everyone's gotta grow and evolve, musically.
It's just that, for me, personally, the first four Queen albums, which used harmony-spangled hard rock as a template, are far and away my favorites.
But let's say, for the sake of fun, that the new Queen dudes called me and said, "Hey, Rick! Would you arrange our set list for this upcoming tour? The only caveat, of course, is that you must include certain of the later and iconic tunes such as 'Radio Gaga,' 'We Are the Champions,' 'Another One Bites the Dust,' 'Somebody to Love,' 'We Will Rock You' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'"
Here's my solution: two sets comprise the evening's presentation. The first is a strong, one-hour, 10-tune offering that focuses on older material. Call it The Rick Set.
Queen kicks it off with "Tie Your Mother Down" and its processional intro, then segues immediately into "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Ogre Battle" for an ass-melting three-tune medley.
Next up are two fine and majestic mid-tempo numbers, "Now I'm Here" and "Father to Son." Nice.
At that point, we'll lower the energy and increase the intimacy with a short, unplugged interlude. Brian May picks up his acoustic for the lovely '39, Taylor comes out front for a low-key arrangement of his "Tenement Funster," then Lambert sits at the piano for a gorgeous solo rendition of Mercury's finest ballad, "Nevermore."
As the crowd weeps and cheers in astonished appreciation for all these songs they've never heard, the rest of the band rejoin Lambert onstage for Taylor's poignant "These Are the Days of Our Lives," which is all the more emotional because it's apocryphally the last video the mortally-ill Mercury recorded before his death of AIDS.
Finally, to close The Rick Set, it's the full-on steamroller of "Stone Cold Crazy" before the band exits to me going insane from my second row seat!
Yes, it's been one of the greatest live performances in rock history – and it's all thanks to me!
When Queen returns for the second set, they will then play The Big Hits Set.
I'm sure fans will be ecstatic, but I'll be long gone before the first bass note of that insipid "Another One Bites the Dust" sounds in the hall. The Rick Set is all the Queen I ever needed. Too bad it won't happen, because Lambert would slay those songs. Just like Freddie did, back when the world was young.
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