Adam Lambert says that his collaboration with QUEEN is more of a tribute to the music of the iconic theatrical rock group than an attempt at imitation, even with two of QUEEN's original members, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, accompanying him on stage.
Lambert, Taylor and May first performed together during "American Idol" in May 2009 for a rendition of "We Are The Champions". They teamed up again in 2011 at the MTV European Music Awards in Belfast, Ireland for an electrifying eight-minute finale of "The Show Must Go On", "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" and in the summer of 2012, the singer performed a series of shows with QUEEN across Europe as well as dates in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. They have since completed a number of tours and performed at some of the biggest festivals in the world.
Lambert, who was the openly first gay man to have a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, spoke about his ongoing stint with QUEEN in a recent interview with BBC Sounds.
"Right away, when this first started about seven years ago, I was so excited and anxious to get onstage with these guys, but I remember I was thinking to myself, 'Oh, wow! Will the fans accept this? How is the band gonna accept me?'" he said. "And one of the first conversations we had was what their expectations were, and they said right away, 'Please, just make it your own. You don't have to worry about exactly how Freddie did it on the record.' And that was a green light to me to just make sure that I didn't mimic him — that's not what they were interested in.
"We all agreed that there's no replacing Freddie — he's irreplaceable," Adam continued. "So one of the things that we've done is feature him in the show. We have his voice and video playing in the show, and it's very exciting. It keeps the fans realizing that this is a celebration."
According to Lambert, it took him a little bit of time to get comfortable delivering QUEEN's classic songs with conviction while paying tribute to the band's legendary singer.
"For the first couple of years, it was finding that balance between making it my own and then sort of not straying too far from the original spirit," he said. "And once I figured out that balance, that's when it really started to take off, I think."
May previously described Lambert as the only singer the band had found capable of filling the shoes of QUEEN's original frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 of complications from to AIDS. "Adam is the first person we've encountered who can do all the QUEEN catalog without blinking," said May. "He is a gift from God." Taylor echoed the guitarist's sentiments, adding: "[Adam's] incredibly musical, and we certainly take anything he says quite seriously."
QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT released their first-ever live album, "Live Around The World" on October 2 in CD, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray and vinyl formats. The set presents a compilation of concert highlights captured the world over personally selected by Taylor, May and Lambert from over 200 shows they have performed with several featured here becoming available for the very first time.