Movie Review: The Show Must Go On – The Queen and Adam Lambert Story

Queen was one of the greatest bands of all-time. Legendary vocalist Freddie Mercury’s amazing range made it possible for them to master a variety of music genres. One in a million, he loved the limelight and was able to harness the energy of a jam-packed arena to play to hundreds of thousands. Their music ranged from love ballads to stadium anthems, capturing a timeless mood that was quintessential to their brand of music. Regarded as the greatest song of all-time, Bohemian Rhapsody has become a pop culture staple thanks to movies like Wayne’s World and now the self-titled, Bohemian Rhapsody music biopic.

Before Rami Malek won an Oscar and Bohemian Rhapsody reignited old fans and introduced a new generation to Queen’s music, the renaissance had already begun. The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story chronicles the journey for Brian May, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert. Bassist, John Deacon, stopped his music career shortly after Freddie’s passing… which left May and Taylor as surviving members of the legendary act. Carrying the torch, their hiatus and solo missions eventually found them playing on stage again alongside friends of Queen and in theatre productions. Through the years they partnered with a few vocalists, trying to recapture the essence of Queen… that is, until one worthy of pulling the sword from the stone arrived.

Sounds a bit like Middle Earth, but this is the fantasy realm of Queen, a rock band that exists just beyond our reality able to conjure magic. Luckily they didn’t crank it to 11 or get their production design team to design a miniature Stonehenge but there’s always been a collision of tongue and cheek when it comes to their music. As you’ve already surmised from the title, their guy was and is American Pop Idol silver medalist, Adam Lambert. His dark edge, outrageous streak and angelic voice makes him a blend of Elvis and George Michael… an icon worthy of filling in for Freddie Mercury.

Hopefully Brian and Roger will keep the new kid on the block on if they ever decide to retire. Their touring band is a celebration of a joyful musical legacy that deserves to go on even if the show must go on as a hologram. Right now, it’s one of the hottest tickets and having collaborated for so long… Lambert’s voice brings a new quality to the music while serving as a fitting tribute to the late great Mercury. In some ways, it has more of a unified humility with Lambert well aware of his place as the second best option. Blending some video elements from Freddie to pay homage as part of the concert, the new line up is a way for the new generation to arrive to see Adam Lambert and leave as Queen fans too, and vice-versa.

The Show Must Go On: The Queen and Adam Lambert Story

“So this is what 300,000 people look like…”

The timing of the Bohemian Rhapsody music biopic could not have been better, skyrocketing interest in the music of Queen and Freddie’s legacy. Having created a fertile ground, this entertaining and informative documentary fills in the gaps as a sort of prequel sequel. You could call it kismet, but it’s like the trio were bound to work together. While a bit gentler, Lambert’s spirit echoed Mercury’s flamboyant larger-than-life act and powerful vocals. Playing ‘We Are the Champions’ with the two top contenders at one of the Idols shows, it eventually became their destiny.

Getting extensive interviews from Adam Lambert, Brian May, Roger Taylor and flashbacks from Freddie Mercury, the film-makers get the story from the news-makers themselves. The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story is well-paced and compelling thanks to earnest interviewees and a wonderful true story. Extra insights fill in the gaps from interviews with current band mates, music journalists and the likes of Rami Malek and Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins. Essentially lacing Queen’s impact on the world and rise to super stardom with Lambert’s journey as an artist together, the two powerful glory stories are interwoven with archive and concert footage, giving viewers an eclectic taste of the sound and lights show that is Queen + Adam Lambert today.

The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story is a must-see for fans of Bohemian Rhapsody and seems like a masterstroke when you consider its position as a follow-up to the movie. Already producers of the film, this gripping documentary just cements them as the real-life rock ‘n roll heroes, who are coming to a city near you. There hasn’t been a better advert since The Lego Movie… or Bohemian Rhapsody, turning the product’s undying legacy and pop culture empire into the spectacle itself. The cross-pollination story is fascinating, its good to get a bit of face time with the actual legends, and it’s wonderful that this collaboration can even exist in reality!

The bottom line: Entertaining