When the Queen celebrated seventy years on the throne in 2022, there was always going to be a mighty party to mark the occasion. Tens of thousands of people attended the Platinum Party at the Palace, a massive concert at Buckingham Palace that featured the likes of Craig David, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Sir Rod Stewart. But to open the Queen’s party in true style, only Adam Lambert and Brian May performing Queen songs would fit the bill.
Their performance began in a truly unique and astonishing fashion. The famous opening drumbeat of “We Will Rock You” was played by Queen drummer Roger Taylor. Accompanying him was a huge marching band that added a sense of pomp and tradition to the performance. And it wasn’t just them playing along, as two more special guests added their own touch of musicality to the opening bars.
Footage inside the Palace showed Queen Elizabeth II enjoying a cup of tea with Paddington Bear. Not only that, the two of them tapped their spoons against their teacups in rhythm with the drumbeat. By the time Adam Lambert strode onto the stage, the vast crowd had already been whipped up into a state of euphoria. Lambert strode down the extended platform, singing with all the gusto of the late Freddy Mercury, while the audience clapped along with the hypnotic beat.
Not yet done with the theatrics, the song reached its guitar solo. Brian May appeared on a raised platform to play his thundering solo part, clearly loving the occasion. This, of course, was not May’s first appearance at a Jubilee event. In 2002, for the Golden Jubilee, he appeared on the roof of Buckingham Palace to play a guitar version of “God Save the Queen”. This had been a staple closer for every Queen gig since it appeared on the 1975 Night at the Opera album.
Lambert and May wowed the crowd with further Queen classics “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “We Are The Champions”, with an impressive array of multi-coloured lights flooding the stage. Watching from the Royal Box were Prince William and Princess Kate, who clapped along enthusiastically. Princess Charlotte and Prince George were also with them and could be seen waving their Union Jack flags to the rhythm of the music.
Shortly after this, Queen and Adam Lambert embarked on a 10-day sold-out residency at London’s The O2. This was part of their Rhapsody tour, which had been postponed for two years due to Covid.
Lambert’s journey with Queen began in 2009 when May and Taylor appeared on the American Idol series in which Lambert was a contestant. They played occasionally together from 2011 onwards, before playing their first major tour as Queen + Adam Lambert in 2014-15. They have continued collaborating ever since, including a tour in Japan in February 2024.