Queen + Adam Lambert are bringing their Rhapsody Tour back to North America for their first shows on this side of the Atlantic since 2019. The tour kicks off Oct. 4 in Baltimore, Maryland, and wraps up Nov. 11 in Los Angeles, California.
“This tour has lots of new bells and lots of new whistles,” Queen guitarist Brian May tells Rolling Stone. “We’ve evolved as performers, I think. We’ve stepped up our game. We have better chemistry than ever. We understand each other better than ever, and we feel more free in the way that we interpret stuff. We’re very happy with it. There’s lots of new production and stuff we want to excite you with.”
The set will focus on Queen classics like “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Somebody to Love,” and “Radio Ga Ga.” But they sprinkled in deep cuts like “Tear It Up” and “A King of Magic” in Europe last year, and hope to keep doing that.
“I always like doing ‘Dragon Attack’ as a deep cut,” Lambert tells Rolling Stone. “That’s one of my favorites… There’s a lot of time between now and when the tour starts in October to come up with new ideas. I think we’ll have many.”
“This show has evolved since its been in America since we’ve taken it around the world,” adds drummer Roger Taylor. “It’s quite a different show in a way, while retaining all the big hits, which so many people want to hear.”
Ticket sales begin Friday, March 31. In an effort to keep prices low and reduce scalping, the band is going to utilize the Ticketmaster Face Value Exchange, which makes it impossible to sell tickets for more than face value. “It’s an experiment,” says May. “We got sick of seeing our fans get ripped off by scalpers. We’re hoping this works out.”
“We want to protect the actual fans,” adds Taylor. “Seeing some of the ticket prices these days, I’m shocked. I don’t know how some artists think they can get away with charging that much. We’re just trying to keep it reasonable, a good deal for our fans, the people that want to come see us.”
Queen + Adam Lambert first played together on the 2009 finale of American Idol. They began gigging together in 2012, and have stayed on the road consistently over the past decade. Filling in for Freddie Mercury was a daunting task at first for Lambert, but he’s grown very comfortable with the job over the years.
“I feel less anxiety now,” he says. “I’ve matured as a performer. I trust myself a bit more. I will say that when the movie [Bohemian Rhapsody] came out, we had all these new fans, and many of them were young, I felt this little pang of, ‘Oh, these are new fans that haven’t been to a show yet.’ I needed to prove myself again, which is good. It keeps me on my game.”
The 2018 movie was an enormous success that grossed $911 billion and won four Academy Awards, including Best Actor for star Rami Malek. It ends at Live Aid in 1985, and there’s been scattered talk over the past few years of a sequel that would chronicle Mercury’s final years.
“We need a script,” says May. “That’s what it comes down to. It took us 12 years to get the script for Bohemian Rhapsody, and get the right team in place. I’m not anxious. I think if the right thing comes along, it might work. We have our wonderful producer, Graham King, on it. It’s a possibility. If the right planets align, it might happen.”
What’s less likely is a guest appearance on the Rhapsody Tour by Queen bassist John Deacon. He hasn’t played with the band since a 1997 show with Elton John at the Bejart Ballet, and has rarely been since in public over the past 25 years. “It is a nice dream to have,” says May. “It would be lovely to have John out, but he doesn’t want to and you have to respect that.”
“He would be welcome,” adds Taylor. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
At the moment, this next leg of the Rhapsody Tour is just 14 shows, but it’s very possible they’ll tack on more. “People are buying tickets,” says Lambert. “And hey, we like performing.”
One thing fans are unlikely to see anytime soon is a Queen + Adam Lambert farewell tour. “Farewell tour?” says May. “We’re just getting started.”
Queen + Adam Lambert 2023 North American Tour Dates
Oct. 4 – Baltimore, MD @ CFG Bank Arena
Oct. 8 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena
Oct. 10 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena
Oct. 12 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
Oct. 15 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
Oct. 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
Oct. 23 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena
Oct. 25 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
Oct. 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
Oct. 30 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
Nov. 2 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
Nov. 5 – Denver, CO @ Ball Arena
Nov. 8 – San Francisco, CA @ Chase Center
Nov. 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ BMO Stadium