Vaunted veteran British rockers Queen have announced a mammoth 19-date North American tour, with former American Idol finalist Adam Lambert standing in for the band’s late frontman Freddie Mercury, and the series of shows could be the band’s last-ever tour.
Queen co-founders Brian May and Roger Taylor announced the tour alongside Lambert at a press conference in New York’s Madison Square Garden, a venue the band will return to at one point during the tour.
During the conference, May repeatedly dropped hints that this may be the last chance anyone would get to see Queen live. “It’ll be great to do this one more time,” he said. “It’s very significant that we’re here in Madison Square Garden; and actually that was my condition for touring. I said to Jim Beach, our manager, ‘Get us Madison Square Garden, get us the Forum in L.A. and we can do this one more time’.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Lambert seemed to concur. “I think the thing that’s special about this is that it is a limited thing. It’s this special engagement. It’s not like, “Now we’re to the grind.” It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tour.”
May and Taylor have teamed up with Lambert in the past. Their performance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas last September was generally well-received, though some initial reactions to the collaboration weren’t so warm.
Lambert said it was “beautifully surreal” to comprehend a full North American tour with the band. “I’m honored to be able to pay my respects to Freddie’s memory,” he said. “He’s a personal hero of mine, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to sing such powerful music for fans of this legendary band. I know this tour will be a huge milestone for me.”
The singer admitted that he was initially daunted by the prospect of stepping into Mercury’s spotlight. “When we started our first incarnation of this… I was apprehensive.. [Freddie] is a big idol for me, and I thought to myself, ‘I hope that the fans dig this’. Because there was a possibility that they wouldn’t.””
Roger Taylor suggested that the success of Queen’s live shows now comes down to musical chemistry. “We’ve worked with Adam a few times now,” he said. “Each time we’ve worked with Adam, it’s just worked very well with our music. He’s the most incredible frontman.”
Queen’s 2014 North American tour will begin on 19th June at Chicago’s United Center and finish up a month later on 20th July at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, their only outdoor summer concert. Check out the official tour video and press conference footage below.
Queen have reportedly been writing new material using unreleased Freddie Mercury tapes they uncovered, and may even release it as a new album. The Freddie Mercury biopic also appears to be “in good shape”.
The group’s original frontman Freddie Mercury died in 1991 from AIDS-related complications. The band’s bassist John Deacon has retired from music. Adam Lambert is currently writing and recording for his third album, which will be released this year.
Watch: Queen & Adam Lambert – North American Tour 2014 Video Preview
Watch: Queen + Adam Lambert: Tour Press Conference