There are five shows left. Be sure to see one.
Queen + Adam Lambert played Las Vegas last year, a summer tour stop at T-Mobile Arena that blasted through the icon-level British rock band’s hits with all the expected bombast. Now they are back on the Strip — the current lineup includes founding members guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor with epic vocalist Lambert and backing band members Spike Edney (keyboards), Neil Fairclough (bass) and Tyler Warren (percussion) — in the smaller and newer Park Theater and those colossal hits, classics like “Somebody to Love,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” are simply explosive in this environment.
After catching one of the recent series of powerhouse performances from Stevie Wonder in this room, I wrote that Park MGM should try to tie down that superstar for more shows. Queen + Adam Lambert is an even better fit at Park Theater, a rousing rock spectacle that doesn’t even need to make use of the enormous video-screens flanking the stage. The presence of two legends in May and Taylor plus the enormous charisma and talent of Lambert — always paying homage to the great Freddie Mercury and never trying to mimic his inimitable style — is an equation offering almost too much power for Park Theater to withstand.
There are memorable and emotional moments layered throughout this limited engagement, which opened September 1 and has been dubbed “The Crown Jewels.” I caught the September 8 show and was blown away from start to finish. In the second half of the concert, May steps to the front of the stage with just an acoustic guitar to perform “Love of My Life,” eventually joined by a video version of Mercury for a touching duet. Three songs later, it was Taylor’s turn to get closer to the audience as he and Lambert teamed to sing the Queen and David Bowie standard “Under Pressure.” As the song soared to its climax, the music overwhelmed the appreciative audience, one of the most powerful concert moments I’ve witnessed in Las Vegas this year.
The show closed with a customary encore of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” leaving the crowd spent but hoping for more. I repeat: Five shows left.
Queen + Adam Lambert: The Crown Jewels continues at 8 p.m. September 14, 15 ,19, 21 and 22 at the Park Theater at Park MGM (3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-730-7777) and more info can be found at parkmgm.com.