Brian May and Roger Taylor have confirmed a return to the site of Queen’s last ever show with Freddie Mercury in 1986 as they headline Sonisphere UK at Knebworth on July 7th.
Billed as Queen + Adam Lambert, the show will see Taylor and May perform with US singer Adam Lambert, with whom they have previously appeared on American Idol and at the MTV Europe Music Awards. NME spoke to Lambert in his first interview since the announcement, he admitted to being unfamiliar with UK rock festival traditions such as ‘bottling’.
“Oh great!” he said when given the lowdown. “Well I’ll be sure to wear something that protects my helmet. I wear a helmet onstage, maybe that would be a good fashion statement.”
Although the announcement will undoubtedly polarise the opinions of Queen fans, Brian May is confident that “Adam would meet with Freddie’s approval.”
Lambert commented: “I’m completely in awe of the Queen phenomenon. The thought of sharing the stage for a full set is so beautifully surreal. I’m honoured to be able to pay my respects to Freddie’s memory.
“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 the evening will be a huge milestone for me, and with the support of Brian, Roger and the rest of the band I know magic will be on display.”
The American Idol contestant insisted that he is not trying to replace the later Freddie Mercury. He said: “The way I look at it is I’m not trying to imitate or outdo him or compete in any way, that’s not even in my mind at all, I think it’s really an honour to be asked to sing the music that he and the band wrote and get up there and put on a good show. If people are too busy trying to compare, they’re not going to enjoy the music.”
Lambert hasn’t ruled out another collaboration in the future, but he insisted that for now the Knebworth show is simply a one-off. “One of the things (people have said) was, ‘He’s gonna be the permanent frontman of Queen’. And although that would be a beautiful experience, the tricky thing this year for me is I also have my album coming out, ‘Trespassing’, and that’s gonna take a lot of work and time and energy. So it’s really a one-off experience with the band, and I’m really excited for it. But I’m not joining the band and touring with them.”
The UK leg of Sonisphere 2012 will also feature KISS, Faith No More, Marilyn Manson, Incubus, Evanescence, Wolfmother, The Darkness, Mastodon, Switchfoot and more.