Tag Archives: rock

Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Kiev

On 30th June 2012 Queen played their first gig with American star, Adam Lambert, in Kiev, Ukraine. Ever since the British rock group performed with Lambert on American Idol in 2009 there has been talk of further work together. This year that promise came to fruition. The first gig the band played was in Kiev, Ukraine – where the band have previously worked to publicize an anti-aids message.

In many ways the setlist and shape of the evening did not stray far from the model that the band established with previous singer, Paul Rodgers. Lambert belted through a series of the expected hits – “I Want It All”, “Radio GaGa” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” whilst also giving space for Brian’s rendition of “Love Of My Life” and Roger’s “A Kind Of Magic”. The traditional drum solo (with added contribution from Rufus Taylor) and guitar solo also feature.

However, it would be wrong to say that there has been no change since 2008. Unlike Paul Rodgers, Lambert supplies none of his own material and this means that there is also more space for other Queen classics, including “Who Wants To Live Forever” and a medley of 70s classics “Seven Seas Of Rhye” and “Keep Yourself Alive”. Lambert also tackles “Somebody To Love” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” – tracks that would have fallen outside the scope of the former Free frontman. Similarly Lambert skips the heavy rocking “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Hammer To Fall” that were highlights of Q+PR performances.

Brian and Roger’s performances are as polished as ever throughout the show. Just like 2005 and 2008, the band give Lambert a perfect live karaoke backing for him to sing across – the pure Queen sound is there throughout. Spike Edney is once again on keys but there is no room for Jamie Moses and Danny Miranda is replaced on bass. The more than able Rufus Taylor is drafted in to give his dad a helping hand!

Now to comment on Lambert. Prior to doing so I will state my bias, I am obviously a fan of the original line-up but am also a big fan of Paul Rodgers work with the band. Prior to seeing this I wanted to dislike Lambert’s performance for being a television show star and American etc. But, I don’t mind it. Lambert has a voice which has a similar range and style to Mercury and is closer to him than Paul Rodgers was or tried to be. Lambert can touch material Paul couldn’t and gives generally enjoyable renditions – this is a gig that I could enjoy. However, for me I do still prefer Paul out of the two. I liked the fact that Rodgers’ voice is so different to Mercury’s; this helped him put his own stamp on the material. He was also able to bring his own songs to the mix which Lambert doesn’t.

Overall this performance was enjoyable enough and I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to seeing the band should they decide to tour again. Lambert gives decent performances but they are a bit close to Freddie’s to me – more like a musical-show interpretation rather than a new band singer. The setlist is pretty much as expected but it’s good to see that the band have managed to squeeze in some material not dusted off on the last two tours. To sum Q+AL up, I’d say not great, but definitely good.

Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Kiev 6/10

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Status Quo – Quid Pro Quo

Quid Pro Quo ends the longest wait for a new Quo album since the legendary band’s first hit in1969, following on four years after 2007’s In Search Of The Fourth Chord. It marks a return to Quo recording duties for frontman, Francis Rossi, after his solo album One Step At A Time. Prior to the album’s release a charity single, In The Army Now 2010, and a free download, Rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ you, were released with the latter generating much interest in the Quo community. Over the years since the reformation of the band in 1986 (and quite possibly prior to that!) there has been much consternation in the Quo fan community about the quality of the band’s output and various debates have raged regarding the sorts of tracks the band has laid down and whether some members of the band are up to the job. Therefore, watching the debates that raged about whether this album was the long-awaited ‘return to form’ did not surprise me. The going rumour prior to release was that this would be the most rocking Status Quo album in years.

The album, when it arrived, did not disappoint on its promise. There is rock in abundance here! The overall sound is generally what you’d expect from Quo. In comparing it to In Search Of The Fourth Chord I notice that is a little more of a echo soak here but this may just be taking the edge off of the years on vocal. However, as a counter to that, it should be noted that in terms of vocal performance this albums blows its predecessor out of the water. It feel like Rossi and Parfitt had more fun recording this album and some of Parfitt’s vocals in particular are top class.

Two Way Traffic – A fast paced standard rock song and one that has proved popular with many on the message boards since the album’s release. The chorus is quite catchy but the song as a whole isn’t really my thing – I like the Quo boogie shuffle or pop happy sounds and this isn’t really that.

Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You – This track, released for free download prior to release, is an archetypal Quo track, with the unmistakable rhythm of boogie-shuffle. The track is likeable if not spectacular, the lyrics are nothing to write home about and the solo is a tad short but generally the track is OK and I have often found myself humming the chorus under my breath.

Dust To Gold – Very popular among many of the fans but this track does very little for me. It starts off with an almost psychedelic return but overall this echo covered song just doesn’t move me – I’ll admit that I just don’t ‘get’ this one.

Let’s Rock – This song marks the first single from Rick Parfitt since 1980’s “Don’t Drive My Car”. This track really belts along well and, even if the lyrics aren’t anything too special, the vocals from RP are absolutely stonkin’! A highlight on the album and a real feel-good track – you can’t be down listening to this!

Can’t See For Looking – A nice little track about persuading a girl that the singer is the man she “Can’t See For Looking”. Some of the lyrics are a tad stretched but I don’t go to Quo for the deep and meaningful as a rule!

Better Than That – If there is one thing this album specialises in, it’s catchy choruses! This track delivers the same! I don’t think it’s one I’ll listen to much as around the chorus the rest of the track doesn’t really appeal.

Movin On – This kicks off with a killer riff – one of the best on the album. This is a fast paced rocker with a hint of shuffle in the guitar. I really enjoy the country-rock choruses in this one. A good track that has grown on me the more  I listen to it.

Leave A Little Light On – An absolute favourite on the album for me and definitely one of the most listened to since I’ve got my hands on the album. The chorus is insanely simple but also insanely catchy! Rick’s tracks are storming on the album and it sounds like both Rick and Francis had much more fun on Quid Pro Quo than they did on In Search Of The Fourth Chord.

Any Way You Like It– A mid-paced Rossi light rocker. This has the lighter Rodney Crowell/ John Fogerty feel in the verses. Some fans love this sort of stuff, some don’t. I’m take-it-or-leave-it on this track. It’s not bad but it’s not my favourite on the album by some length.

Frozen Hero – This is an interesting track with a very 1980s feel to it for me. This includes the huge intro and fast guitar picking bringing the track. Another more general rocker rather than the trade-mark Quo shuffle – an interesting track and perhaps Quo’s chance to step outside the stereotype in a slightly different direction.

Reality Cheque – A slow boogie-shuffle sung by Rick Parfitt, the subject is having a “Reality Cheque” on a relationship that’s going downfall. This track gives a nice change of pace on the album and partly for that reason this is a definite hit with me.

The Winner – A Rossi track that stands out for its chorus (notice that before!) and also a ‘da-da-da’ ending in a similar vein to “Hey Jude”. This could be a real winner (pardon the pun!) played live with the ‘Loyal Family’ joining in the chorus and the ‘da-da-da’s!

It’s All About You – Another track that’s growing on me. This has the boogie shuffle and light sprinkling of Andy Bown’s harmonica thrown in for good measure. The solo itself is pretty good but the riff after some of the choruses I’m not too keen on.

My Old Ways – A fast paced boogie shuffle. This track is quite quirky but it really appeals to me! It’s generally upbeat and I like that in Quo music and this could rapidly build to be a favourite for me.

In The Army Now (2010) – A recut of the Quo classic from 1986 with some more pro-army lyrics! Recorded as a charity track for the Help The Heroes campaign.

Overall I like this album. It’s an interesting comparison to In Search Of The Fourth Chord. On that album there are fewer tracks that I liked but those I did, such as “Beginning Of The End”, I thought were outstanding. On Quid Pro Quo there are fewer tracks that I think are outstanding but I like the album in general more. Quid Pro Quo is a range of tracks aimed at pleasing a substantial portion of the Quo fan base with its almost relentless rock. Something of  a ballad or a real slow blues number might have been good to vary the album further but overall this is a good album and can be put on to Quo away the day!

Status Quo Quid Pro Quo – 8/10

Article first published as Music Review: Status Quo – Quid Pro Quo on Blogcritics.

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