One of my ambitions, in life is to attend big rock concert with a big name attached. The closest I have reached this ambition was last year, when Bono of U2 gave a speech on third world poverty at the Labour Party Conference.
Okay he didn't sing, but he gave a good speech saying that aid to Africa was to do with justice, not charity. He gently harranged us, and what's more he got a standing ovation twice. Once before he spoke and once afterwords.
Fact is, a lot of us gave him a standing ovation at the start because we could not believe we were in the same room as the man with the shades! Many of us had never even clapped eyes on a major rock star in the flesh. What shocked me was that I found my brain going through all the thoughts that I usually ridicule in a lot of fans: 'I'm in the same room! I can't believe it! I am in the same room as Bono! Bono is in the same room! Bono of U2! I am in the presence of a major rock star! I'am so unworthy!' Ad nauseam.
Then the great Bono himself said: 'You may bow!'
We laughed, sat down, before he added. 'I apologise if I am a little nervous, I am not used to addressing crowds of less than eighty-thousand!'
But anyways, I am digressing here. I simply wanted to point out my lack of experience, i.e. zilch and zero, of attending major rock concerts.
This is partly because I am picky about who I like, but nontheless, one of my big regrets was that I only really appreciated Queen as a band after Freddie Mercury died. As a teenager, I just wrote him off as an arrogant ponce, and in any case their last concert with Freddie occured when I was just eleven years old. A bit young to attend really! So I thought that I would never enjoy the spectacle of a Queen concert first hand.
I still haven't, although if I could have the time and money, I would have swiftly booked tickets for Queen + Paul Rodgers 'Return of the Champions' this year. That said, the live version of their tour is out on CD this week.
Some have criticised Queen's decision to go back on the road again, and that is fair enough! The argument being that without Freddie, Queen are not Queen. This is also somewhat tempered by the fact that bassist John Deacon has decided that he has retired, so Queen now basically consists of Brian May and Roger Taylor.
However, the assertion from Queen is that Paul Rodgers is not replacing Freddie and that what is going on here is a jt-tour. In some respects this is very true, some classics of Paul Rodger's like 'All Right Now' bear this out.
So is the CD worth buying and are they worth seeing live? I am not sure about the latter bit, but the CD is definetly worth buying if that is anything to go by! I have just heard samples of it online, via the Queen website, and one thing is sure, Queen still deliver the goods.