Though Adam Lambert has helped Queen remain a touring band for the last eight years, the group's 2019 may be their most buzzworthy yet – but not just because of Bohemian Rhapsody.
When the trio (Lambert and original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor) returned to New York's Madison Square Garden Tuesday night (Aug. 6, the first of two shows), they played for 135 minutes. Yet there was never a dull moment, thanks to bigger production, even more elaborate wardrobes, and Freddie Mercury-inspired details that made Queen's recent prominence almost tangible.
Whether you've been lucky enough to experience Queen and Adam Lambert's latest show – dubbed The Rhapsody Tour – or haven't had the chance, get a taste of the spectacle with some of the tour's best moments below.
The epic crown intro
Before the group even began the show, an image of a crown donned the stage as smoke danced around it. While it was cool from afar, a closer look revealed intricate pieces of the band's history, including May's Red Special guitar and an iconic shot of Mercury performing. And once Queen and Lambert began, the crown became even more mesmerizing, slowly lifting to the summit of the stage.
Adam's ode to Freddie
Even having performed with Queen for nearly 10 years, Lambert still made sure to point out that he's aware of the role he's filling – but did so in a way that was both relatable and heartfelt. "I'm going to address the pink elephant in the room: I'm not Freddie. And there is no replacing the rock God known as Freddie Mercury," Lambert told the crowd, which sparked an eruption of cheers. "I'm just the same as all of you. I am also a big fan. I'm just up here in a gay suit singing. So can you make me a little promise tonight, ladies and gentlemen? That we will celebrate Freddie and Queen together."
Adam's vocals on "Somebody to Love”
As American Idol fans know, Lambert performed "Somebody to Love" with a group of fellow contestants during the Hollywood rounds of his season. But hearing Lambert belt out those notes in person was particularly moving, especially with May and Taylor accompanying him.
Lambert's voice soared in every song, but the dramatic final verses of "The Show Must Go On" were almost bone-chilling. Not only did he nail every note (some of the highest of the entire show), but his fist thrusting and leg thumping indicated that he was literally feeling every crescendo. With echoing gospel-like harmonies and searing guitar riffs to boot, the performance could've easily been an encore contender.
A more extreme "Bicycle"
The 2017 production of "Bicycle Race" saw Lambert cruising around the stage on a tricycle, but this year's installment featured a blinged-out motorcycle. Though he couldn't actually drive it this time, it was one of the many ways this year's Queen and Adam Lambert show is bigger and better. And besides, the bike spun in a circle as Lambert writhed on it – a very Freddie Mercury-esque move.
Brian's shining moment
Amid his rocking guitar solos, May perched on the end of the catwalk for a more intimate moment with fans. "I like these kind of moments, because we get to be guitar heroes back there, but I can be a human being down here," he said. "So we can be human beings together, alright?" He then delivered an acoustic rendition of "Love of My Life," which sparked a haunting sing-along as the arena lit up with a sea of phone lights. A hologram of Mercury appeared in later verses, making for an emotional ending – particularly because May couldn't even finish the song. "I'd try, but nobody can follow that," he said.
Though Taylor didn't get as much solo time as May, he was certainly not left out. In fact, he handled David Bowie's part in "Under Pressure," singing as he continued drumming at the front of the runway. And when he and Lambert sang together, it was a reminder of just how perfect of a fit Lambert is with the group.
Brian's intergalactic segment
Many Queen fans know that May is also an astrophysicist when he's not wailing on guitar. His worlds collided on The Rhapsody Tour, as he performed a lengthy guitar solo atop screens that projected meteoric and interstellar imagery, while planet-like orbs floated overhead – a segment that was likely as cool for May as it was for fans.
The "Bohemian Rhapsody" guitar solo
Let's be honest, any part of "Bohemian Rhapsody" makes for a mind-blowing live moment. But there was nothing quite like watching Brian May rise up from the floor to deliver perhaps one of the most iconic guitar solos of all time — in an iridescent bionic suit and mask. Talk about a face-melter.
Freddie's posthumous crowd teasing
One of the many homages to Mercury came before Queen and Lambert returned for the encore, when a video of Mercury's vocal improvisation from the group's 1986 Wembley Stadium performance began. The footage of his famous repeat-after-me segment was so perfectly executed, it felt as if he were in the building.
All of Lambert's outfits were next-level dazzling, from a shimmery gold suit to a bejeweled biker fest with long diamond fringe. His getup for the encore was arguably the best, though, as it was a very Adam Lambert take on Mercury's iconic crown-and-cloak king ensemble. The regal outfit was especially impactful as Lambert strutted across the stage during the first encore song, "We Will Rock You."
Their final bows
As Queen's famed crest filled the screen backdrop and the last bits of confetti floated their way to the floor, the group took to center stage for a collective bow. Though it's clear Lambert has become an important part of Queen's post-Freddie career – May even called Lambert "our new brother" earlier – the final farewells paid tribute to the legacy Mercury left behind. After Lambert took his turn to bid adieu, May (sporting a shirt with Freddie's likeness) and Taylor joined together for the final bows of the night, receiving thunderous applause. The show must go on without Freddie, but Queen and Adam Lambert have made it one hell of a show to remember.