For music fans who started collecting albums before the arrival of Spotify, Tacoma Dome has scheduled an epic run of bucket-list concert acts. Carrie Underwood appeared there May 24, followed by New Kids on the Block June 1, Jeff Lynne’s ELO June 28, Pentatonix July 3 and Khalid July 7.
The highlight thus far, however, was the return of legendary rock band Queen July 12. (After a household fall, an injured Ozzy Osbourne rescheduled his show to July 11, 2020.)
Lead singer Freddie Mercury died November 24, 1991, of course, but guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are still heavily featured in Queen’s performance. They recruited American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert to take the mic eight years ago. While Lambert freely admits Freddie Mercury is irreplaceable, even the wariest critic must acknowledge Lambert has every note and decibel of Mercury’s vast vocal chops. Not for nothing, but Taylor himself described Lambert as having “the best range I’ve ever heard.”
The show’s dynamic set danced around as tirelessly as the performers. Designed and engineered by TAIT’s stage technologies office in London, Queen’s guitar-shaped set stretches 72 feet wide with a thrust runway 66 feet long. From the opening strains of “Innuendo” to the band’s traditional curtain call backed by “God Save the Queen,” there was room in the almost-two-hour set for everything from the crunching “Hammer to Fall” to disco-era “Radio Ga Ga.”
After a partly-recorded “Bohemian Rhapsody” amped the audience-sing-along factor, the encore predictably delivered the one-two punch of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” with Lambert’s voice stronger than ever. A highlight for this longtime fan was May’s extended guitar solo perched on an elevated scissor-lift asteroid, a piece taken from his contrapuntal “Brighton Rock.”
The show was the technical marvel and blast of joy fans who packed the Dome hoped it’d be, but the fun isn’t over. Comics Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan will appear together August 2, Heart on September 4, Iron Maiden September 5, Bob Seger September 21 (a reschedule from February) and the Jonas Brothers October 12. Even those acts pale beside Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, which plays the arena September 17 and 18.
Credit for all photos: James Venturini
Dave Chappelle & Joe Rogan
2727 E. D St., Tacoma
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2
$112 or more (sold out at Ticketmaster)