Monday, 7 January 2019

Queen + Paul Rodgers in London 2008


You have probably noticed by now that a large percentage of my concert posts are about Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Bruce Springsteen is my favourite solo artist. However, my favourite band, and this was long before I discovered Bruce Springsteen, was Queen. Unfortunately, by the time I moved to the UK in 1988 they were no longer touring. And three years after that, we lost Freddie. Not only that, but on that day, the Greeks suddenly discovered Queen. Yes, the same people who were teasing me and bullying me for listening to "that faggot" were now talking about "a sad day for music" and "a great loss". Go figure. So, I never got the chance to see them live although I got lots of video tapes and DVD's. And as a hardcore fan, Queen were not just about Freddie Mercury to me and I kept following the solo careers of Brian May and Roger Taylor over the years. So when I learned that they had teamed up with Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company and Free) as a lead singer for a new album and a tour and was also offered a pre-sale link for their November 2008 London concert I jumped at the chance. OK, so I could not see Freddie live, but why not see Brian and Roger live? The truth is, I had seen both of them in person in 2001 at the traffic lights at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street opposite the Dominion Theatre where the "We Will Rock You" musical was playing. But this was a chance to see them perform. And not just perform, but perform Queen songs. And what's more Paul Rodgers was a respectable stand-in for Freddie, since he was not just a singer, but a rock singer, from a similar era.
And so, 10 years ago, in November 2008, I flew to London for this great gig. It was also the first time I was visiting the O2 Arena, which I had known as The Millennium Dome 8 years before that.
And yes, I saw what I wanted to see: Queen songs, but also Free and Bad Company songs since Paul was the lead singer. And I even saw a bit of Freddie. He appeared on the video screens not only on "Bohemian Rhapsody" (you can't have "Bohemian Rhapsody" without Freddie) but also on "Bijou". Because the band performed songs that Queen had never performed live, songs from "The Miracle" and "Innuendo" albums, like "I Want It All" and "The Show Must Go On". And there were also songs from the "The Cosmos Rocks" album which they had released with Paul Rodgers at the time. Apart from Paul singing his Free and Bad Company songs, Roger got his moment taking centre stage for a drum solo and "I'm In Love With My Car" (on which he sang the lead vocals on the "A Night At The Opera" album anyway) and Brian also had his own place in the spotlight with a guitar solo and his solo hit "Last Horizon". Somewhere at that point, Brian told the audience that in whichever city they were playing, they would play a local song. So what could they play at the O2 Arena then? A cover of "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner" to which the audience sang along.






And like the original Queen gigs it all ended with "We Will Rock You", "We Are The Champions" and "God Save The Queen".
All in all it was great entertainment for a Friday night, but before going home early on Sunday morning I also had the chance to see the Monty Python musical "Spamalot" on Saturday night. An amazing London weekend!


SETLIST:
01. Hammer To Fall
02. Tie Your Mother Down
03. Fat Bottomed Girls
04. Another One Bites The Dust
05. I Want It All
06. I Want To Break Free
07. C-lebrity
08. Surf's Up... School's Out!
09. Seagull
10. Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner
11. Love Of My Life
12. '39
13. Drum Solo
14. I'm In Love With My Car
15. A Kind Of Magic
16. Say It's Not True
17. Voodoo
18. Bad Company
19. We Believe
20. Guitar Solo
21. Bijou
22. Last Horizon
23. Radio Ga Ga
24. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
25. The Show Must Go On
26. Bohemian Rhapsody
Encore:
27. Cosmos Rockin'
28. All Right Now
29. We Will Rock You
30. We Are The Champions
God Save The Queen