Friday, March 17, 2006

Queen + Paul Rodgers Show

Tuesday night Judith and I saw Queen plus Paul Rodgers at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The last time Queen played Philly was during 1982.

Many fans no doubt look at Queen without the late Freddie Mercury as sacrilegious, or at best, a good cover band. But bands do change over time, for better or worse (witness Van Halen with Dave/Sam/Gary/Etc. or The Who with Keith Moon/Kenny Jones/Simon Phillips/Zack Starkey). Worse yet, too many people compare Paul Rodgers with Freddie Mercury, and complain that he’s no replacement.

Of course Rodgers is no replacement for Mercury. That’s fine and in fact, he isn’t trying to be one. However, Rodgers has one of the most distinctive voices in classic rock, and ironically according to Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor back in the 70s Freddie wanted to sound like Paul, who was already a star from his time with Free and Bad Company.

With that out of the way, the concert was excellent. Rodgers’ voice sounded great and unlike a lot of his contemporaries, he’s aged well. My one real complaint about the show is that for the first few songs the guys mixing the sound let his singing be overwhelmed by the music, especially Brian May’s guitar. For example, I could barely hear Rodgers during Tie Your Mother Down. Thankfully, the sound guys got their act together and his vocals came through well during Feel Like Making Love, Can’t Get Enough, and All Right Now.

Brian May is one amazing guitarist. I’ve always admired his studio work and now I know that he’s just as good on stage. His playing is technically adroit and just downright grabs you by the huevos and doesn’t let go.

As with May, Roger Taylor is technically adept and lays down a solid beat. He did a really good drum solo. His voice surprised me. He sang I’m In Love With My Car, These Are The Days of Our Lives, and Radio Ga-Ga. Especially during Days of Our Lives, I could’ve sworn I was listening to Rod Stewart. The similarity of their voices is uncanny.

Queen’s original bassist, John Deacon, declined to join Taylor and May in reforming Queen. So, they have a rather accomplished bass player filling in, plus a second guitarist and keyboardist (unfortunately I forget their names).

Here’s the complete set list, courtesy of

Intro - Beautiful Day
Reaching Out
Tie Your Mother Down
Fat Bottomed Girls
I Want To Break Free
Take Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Love Of My Life
Hammer To Fall
Feel Like Makin Love
Drum Solo
I'm In Love With My Car
Guitar Solo
Last Horizon
Bad Company
Can't Get Enough
Another One Bites The Dust
Dragon Attack
These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Radio Ga Ga
The Show Must Go On
Bohemian Rhapsody


We Will Rock You
All Right Now
We Are The Champions

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