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#152 Queen and Paul Rodgers @ Birmingham NIA (October 16th 2008)

Support: N/A

Three years after the first Q+PR tour the lads got together again for another jaunt around the world. This time they were playing gigs on the back of a new studio album, The Cosmos Rocks which included the excellent guitar heavy single C-lebrity.

Queen and Paul Rodgers - Birmingham NIA October 16TH 2008

Ok so this isn't Queen. Queen had Freddie Mercury as a lead singer and John Deacon as the typically quiet bass player. However this was still a chance to see my heroes (Brian May and Roger Taylor) perform on a big scale. Paul Rodgers is a great vocalist in his own right of course; yes a completely different one to Freddie but he has an outstanding voice. It would never be the same of course but three years ago I was thrilled to see them and it was going to be no different this time.

For all Queen related gigs and events it is always myself and good friend (and fellow Queen nut), Mark who get together. First stop was Birmingham with Liverpool also on the agenda in a couple of days’ time.

My love of Queen goes back to my childhood and so as you can imagine the excitement was large for tonight’s show. We queued early and so got near the front. Unfortunately our tickets were taken from us as we entered the standing section and so no ticket to keep for me (that annoys me as I am a bit of a completest and so want all the tickets from all the gigs, the fact that I am missing a couple greatly upsets me).

As the on screen visuals started up showing the planets collide the crowd started clapping followed by the famous guitar sound starting up. The visuals stopped, the pyrotechnics blew and Hammer To Fall burst into life. A good way to start the gig but in truth Tie Your Mother Down is the only way to open a        Queen show. Luckily that was up next; never, ever get bored of moshing to that song. Fat Bottomed Girls was third and was my favourite on the night. A massively underrated song, live it gets heavier and heavier. Class.

Paul Rodgers was on fire for most of the concert but not every song was really suited to him. Another One Bites The Dust and I Want To Break Free for instance…just not the same without Fred. When they were played it was hard not to compare between the two vocalists and there is only one winner for me. Fred could change his style of singing depending on the song, Paul has one way of singing (not that there is anything wrong with that, most singers fail to meet Mercury’s versatility).

It wasn’t all the hits though, there were a few new songs played. Of these, the afore mentioned C-Lebrity and Surfs Up stand up with everything else played. We Believe is pretty weak in my view but the excellent Say It’s Not True sung by Roger is a superb ballad.

Highlights of the set though had to be a seated Brian alone on the runway playing Love Of My Life and ’39 (an “ancient midlands folk song" as Brian called it). Another highlight were the solos…(never thought I would type out that sentence). Normally I would not be fan as I think they can be indulgent and pretty boring but Roger’s very funny drum solo (with drums etc being added as he went along) and Brian’s guitar solo which included Brighton Rock,  Last Horizon and Bijou were both excellent.

A massive The Show Must Go On and a highly emotional Bohemian Rhapsody (helped by Fred) finished the main set and the arena was buzzing.

The encore started with cracking new tune, Cosmos Rockin’, followed by one of my favourite all time songs All Right Now with Paul belting it out as per his past Free days. The show ended with Rock You and Champions (no other way to end a Queen related show) and that was it. A great show, by no means perfect but the massive highs outweighed the lower points (of which there were few).

A wonderful gig then, it’s a shame that there were a lot of Queen fans that didn’t want to know about the shows. I understand why they felt the way they did but missing the chance to see half of their favourite group still seems strange to me.

Ticket: No Ticket unfortunately. The event staff took them from us as we entered the standing area. Annoying. Very annoying.

Ticket Price: £49.50

Set Lists:

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/queen-paul-rodgers/2008/national-indoor-arena-birmingham-england-bd6a92a.html