Queen + Adam Lambert prepare to fight ticket scalpers this fall with a 'very dangerous, very live' tour
In the four years since Queen + Adam Lambert launched The Rhapsody Tour, the group released its first live album ("Live Around the World") while sidelined by COVID-19 shutdowns, engaged in solo projects, opened the Platinum Jubilee extravaganza for the late Queen Elizabeth II and, in the case of guitarist Brian May, became a knight.
“I need a bit more respect around here,” the self-deprecating May says with a laugh of his recent designation by King Charles.
The combination of May, original Queen drummer Roger Taylor and the gilded-voiced Lambert – who has toured with the rock legends since 2014 – will return for another round of Rhapsody starting Oct. 4 in Baltimore. Tickets for the 14-date tour will go on sale at 10 a.m. local time March 31 via livenation.com.
The trio talked this week from New York about heightening their production, the “dangerous” fun of playing live and how they’re combatting ticket scalpers.
Queen is planning its most ambitious live show yet
While Lambert jokes that the upcoming tour will feature “more glitter, more rhinestones,” the band is also aware that Queen’s vast catalog – from megahits “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Somebody to Love” to less ubiquitous fan favorites “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “These Are the Days of our Lives” – is the centerpiece.
“The entire production evolves around the songs,” May, 75, says. “We have a lot of hits, but there’s a lot of deeper stuff that people would love to hear. … We put (different songs) in to stimulate ourselves and it’s also nice for the audience. We’re never playing to click tracks or backing tracks. It’s just us and the three great musicians with us. It’s all very free, very dangerous and very live.”
As on past tours, Queen will be joined by keyboardist and musical director Spike Edney, bassist Neil Fairclough and percussionist Tyler Warren.
Queen enjoys ‘the bells and whistles’
In the nearly 10 years that Queen has toured with Lambert, technology has allowed for continued experimentation with the live production.
Lambert explains that the band wears sensors on their clothes so automated lights can follow the members on stage, while Taylor, 73, marvels at other technical advancements.
“The new video screens are so lightweight and versatile that we can create any kind of world,” Taylor says of the “bells and whistles” Queen tries to implement. “It’s limitless.”
May, who earned a doctorate as an astrophysicist in 2007, loves that the video screens “can take you anywhere on Earth or to space and bodies explored by NASA.” He reminds that on Queen’s tour a few years ago, the video screens beamed in images of Pluto.
“Now you’ll get to see Bennu, which is a nearer asteroid that might hit us at some point.”
Quipped Taylor, “It will actually land on Elon Musk.”
Channeling Freddie Mercury will always present vocal challenges
Anyone who has witnessed Lambert, 41, fronting Queen knows that he makes a concerted effort to inform the audience that he is no way attempting to replace the legendary singer, but is instead paying homage while bringing his own brand of flamboyant showmanship.
Mercury’s vocals define distinction, and even Lambert’s powerful pipes can be challenged on some songs.
He names three Queen staples that require a bit more gusto.
“‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ has some big, soaring notes that take a certain level of focus. ‘The Show Must Go On’ is challenging because it gets up there (on the scale). And even ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ has an aggression about it where it sits in a spot and you have to get the voice right in the sweet spot to get it right. That one is a muscular song," Lambert says.
How Queen hopes to fight ticket scalpers
The band is collaborating with the ticketing partner at each venue on the tour to restrict the ability to transfer tickets. Buffers are in place for those who buy tickets and can no longer attend (Ticketmaster’s Face Value Exchange will allow the sale at original price). The policy will be in effect in all markets except New York, Illinois and Colorado, where laws prohibit artists from being able to restrict the transfer of their tickets to face value exchanges only.
May says it’s an “experiment” that he is hopeful will make a difference.
“We get pissed off at the fact that fans get ripped off by people scalping and buying tickets purely for resale,” he says. “We hope the fans feel that we’re trying to take care of them in that way.”
Lambert views the practice as a way of “protecting the wallets” of fans.
“Look, the economy is not in the best place,” he says. “We love our fans and we want everyone to be able to come out and have a good time.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How Queen + Adam Lambert look to fight ticket scalpers on fall tour