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.
The legendary frontman passed away in 1991, while the bassist retired in 1997.
2. Adam Lambert now handles vocals for the band.
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.”
6. The band shocked fans by performing Freddie Mercury’s song “Love Kills,” from the Metropolis soundtrack.
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.”
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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