11 Ways Queen Has Changed Since They Last Played Madison Square Garden

Queen + Adam Lambert start a 24-date North America tour — including their first stop at MSG since 1982 — Thursday in Chicago.

Queen + Adam Lambert performed for just 400 people at the iHeartRadio Theater in Burbank, Calif., on Monday night to kick off their new tour.

The tour will be the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first stop at New York City’s Madison Square Garden since 1982, and BuzzFeed was there to get a first look at how the band has changed in the intervening 32 years.

1. Freddie Mercury and John Deacon are no longer in the band.

Gary Merrin / Via Hulton Archive

The legendary frontman passed away in 1991, while the bassist retired in 1997.

2. Adam Lambert now handles vocals for the band.

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

The runner-up on Season 8 of American Idol is a star in his own right, as his solo album, Tresspassing, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Brian May and Roger Taylor first performed with Lambert on the American Idol finale, backing him on the Queen classic “We Are the Champions.”

“We didn’t look for Adam, we just found him,” May said in a Q&A before their performance on Monday night. “Saw him on the Idol finale and it was a natural thing from there. His voice is so incredible.”

3. Brian May’s iconic black locks are now gray.

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

 

Never mind the man’s hair, though, as he shreds every bit as much as he ever did. Watching May play the iconic riffs he wrote for anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust” live and in person was the stuff of bucket lists.

4. Roger Taylor is cooler than ever.

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

 

Taylor wore shades for much of the concert, which somehow made the highly influential drummer (and co-writer of the No. 1 hit “Under Pressure”) even more badass than normal.

5. Fans held up their phones from the first note to the last.

This is a lot different from the sea of ligthers that greeted the band back in ‘82. Overall, the crowd was an even mix of young fans and fans from back in the day.

6. The band shocked fans by performing Freddie Mercury’s song “Love Kills,” from the Metropolis soundtrack.

Columbia Records

The cult favorite was never performed live during Freddie Mercury’s lifetime, but May and Rogers (who played on the original track), made a new arrangement of it for this tour. “We’re going to do it our way,” May said. “Without the disco.”

7. The band also announced the tour will feature performances of “The Show Must Go On.”

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

This is another classic track the band never performed with Freddie Mercury.

8. The band’s logo is now gold instead of the traditional silver.

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

The minor change was at the suggestion of Lambert, who explained that he woke up from a dream and was like, “I think it needs more gold. What if instead of the industrial iron and steel look, we went with more gold!”

9. During “Fat Bottomed Girls,” Lambert shouted, “All you fat ass bitches are gonna get on your bikes and ride!”

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

This was an update of Mercury’s famous direction in the original song to “Get on your bikes and ride!”

10. The songs were unmistakable, but bristled with modern energy.

Getty Images for iHeartRadio

The drums on We Will Rock You had a slightly different groove, and May was fearless in adding small but ingenious embellishments to his classic riffs. This adventurous spirit was especially on display when they stretched songs like “Don’t Stop Me Now” into extended jams.

11. Queen is more of a hard rock band than ever before.

Kevin Winter / Via Getty Images Entertainment

May said their upcoming tour will feature quite a few songs from the band’s early days when they were a heavy rock band. This emphasis on rock was no more evident than on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” when May crossed the stage to urge the keyboardist on in pounding out the chords as he solo’d like a madman.

Queen + Adam Lambert begin their 24-date North American tour (including a stop at Madison Square Garden on July 17) in Chicago this Thursday.

Christopher Polk / Via Getty Images Entertainment

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