Despite rumors to the contrary, Queen‘s headlining gig at this year’s Sonisphere festival will likely be the only performance with American Idol‘s Adam Lambert. Lambert told NME about the show at Knebworth with Queen saying, “I’m really excited for it. But I’m not joining the band and touring with them.” Rumors Lambert would be the permanent new frontman for Queen swarmed the internet after the Sonisphere gig was announced, likely in part because Knebworth was the last place Queen played with late lead singer Freddie Mercury.
Adam has a good attitude about filing in for Mercury, who NME calls “possibly the greatest frontman ever” saying, “The way I look at it is I’m not trying too imitate him or outdo him or compete in any way, that’s not even in my mind at all, I think its really an honor to be asked to sing the music that he and the band wrote and get up there and put on a good show. If people are too busy trying to compare they’re not going to enjoy the music.” Lambert continued saying, “It’s just different. Nothing is gonna beat the original, no-one’s ever going to be better than Freddie Mercury, never. But I don’t think that’s the point, I don’t think it’s a competition, it’s about music and it’s about making people feel something, it’s not about beating out the original.”
Lambert was backed by Queen while competing on American Idol, and was the singer when Queen played M-TV’s European Music Awards last November. Sonisphere will be Lambert’s first chance to sing an entire concert with Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May. Adam says “It’s a bigger undertaking for sure. I’m going to learn a lot more music, rehearse with the band a little longer, but I’m excited! I’m excited to get in there and figure out what the set list is. It’s gonna be a lot of work but it’s gonna be (expletive deleted) great. I’m so excited!”
Asked about the play list for Sonisphere Adam revealed, “We really haven’t gotten there yet, I just was emailing Brian a week or two ago and I was asking him, ‘What’s the setlist gonna be?’ It’s gonna be a team decision, obviously Brian and Roger are the boss, so whatever they wanna do I’m up for, I’m just happy to be there.”
Adam says singing with Queen is a unique challenge and he’s “definitely listening to the vocal parts and I have been doing research, I’ve been watching things, but it’s very important for me as an artist for my own integrity to make sure I’m being myself on stage. I have no intention of mimicking or copying or… I feel like that would be insulting to the fans and to the band to get up there and try to copy Mr Mercury. It’s a very delicate situation and I wanna treat it with with the utmost respect. For me it’s about trying to understand his initial intention vocally and musically, and pay respect to that. With the help of Brian and Roger I think that would be easier for me to accomplish.”
When asked to sing with Queen, Adam says he “jumped at the chance.” Lambert notes “one of the things that was said was, ‘He’s gonna be the permanent frontman of Queen’. And although that would be a beautiful experience, the tricky thing this year for me is I also have my album coming out, Trespassing, and that’s gonna take a lot of work and time and energy. So it’s really a one-off experience with the band, and I’m really excited for it. But I’m not joining the band and touring with them.” Lambert also assured reporters he will not be growing a Freddie Mercury mustache for the upcoming performance.
Sonisphere also features KISS and Faith No More headlining the three day festival July 6th-8th. Here’s Adam Lambert and Queen’s American Idol performance with fellow contestant Kris Allen:
Lambert and Queen play a medley at the EMA’s:
And some footage of Queen with the late, great Freddie Mercury at the helm:
Enjoy Queen’s entire set Live at Wembley Stadium in 1986: