The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

History Repeats Itself …

So a while back I went to see Queen with Adam Lambert.

The last time I saw them, Queen were made up of the original four.

It was also the last time the original 4 would ever play live together.

Of course at the time, I didn’t know that was going to be the case – though rumor says Freddie did, even if the rest of the band weren’t yet aware – however despite only 50% of the band being on stage, it was still exhilarating to watch.

It was also a bit weird … because rather than see them in Europe, it was in China.

And rather than see them with my best mate Paul … it was with my wife [and a bunch of Wieden folk]

That might not seem that strange to you, but it was mental for me because the situation was the absolute opposite of that mad summer in 1986 where my parents, reluctantly, let me follow them on their tour.

I must admit, when I walked into the venue, I was nervous for the band.

This was the first time they had ever played China and the venue – an 18,000 seater – was only 10% full.

Of course I knew people would come in as the lights went down and if they really hadn’t sold many tickets, they’d have cancelled the show … but I felt some kind of responsibility given I was a fan from England living in China and wanting their first impression of this amazing country to be a good one.

Of course I shouldn’t have worried because as the lights went down, the stadium was packed – to the seats high, high, high in the rafters – and that made the whole night even more wonderful and emotional for me.

The band was brilliant.

The sound was brilliant.

The lights were brilliant.

And Mr Lambert was brilliant.

Sure, he is no Freddie, but he is an amazing singer with perfect levels of campness that did the songs, the show and Freddie … incredible justice.

But the real reason it was emotional was because the moment they hit the stage, they momentarily transported me back to being 16 … where I was on the cusp of entering a life full of adventure and possibilities.

Of course I hope I still have a lot more adventures and possibilities to come [more of that in a few months] but that doesn’t change the fact these concerts represent significant bookends of my life.

One where I was about to start my journey. One where I am its midpoint.

And I don’t mind admitting that when they came on stage, I found myself crying.

I know, it’s pathetic, but it was less about seeing a band that I love with all my heart [though it has a bit to do with that] and more a reminder that despite all the wonderful and sad things that have happened in my life over the past 30+ years, they were still there.

My friends.

My confidents.

My escape.

To paraphrase the great Bill Shankly, some say music isn’t a matter of life or death.

They’re right, it’s way more important than that.


I found myself crying at this post. But not out of happiness or nostalgia.

Comment by DH

its the most fucking emotional hes got in 10 years of writing this shit and he fucking gets emotional at neighbours repeats. what the fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

How is Jill still married to you? Taking her to see fake queen is even worse than that blog you started of her strange quotes.

Comment by DH


Comment by andy@cynic

and how the fuck did he get wieden fuckers to go with him. he must have bought the tickets or it was some sort of ironic statement. or they did it for final proof the fucker needs to be fired.

Comment by andy@cynic

I did pay for them. All global guys too. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Strategic toadiness.

Comment by DH

Maybe she just loves me. Maybe.

Oh, and the blog was Jillyism.

It’s a #tag on twitter now, but it’s not been updated in ages. Not because she hasn’t said anything daft, but both of us are too tired with Otis to remember anything.

Comment by Rob

If that’s the case, Andy’s comment is even more accurate. ; )

Comment by DH

as fucking usual.

Comment by andy@cynic

at least youve given me something to say at thanksgiving. im thankful for not seeing karoke queen in concert. with you. finally youve been some use to me campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m very glad they didn’t disappoint Robert.
I don’t know how you would have coped if they did.

Comment by George

Well said George. A happy thanksgiving to all in America. You may well need it more than ever.

Comment by Lee Hill

What have we got to be thankful for?

Comment by DH

Oh yes. Happy thanksgiving America. You’re going to need to remember this one.

Comment by Rob

You got the turkey. Now you’ll get the stuffing.

Comment by Ian Gee

Great photo Rob. Glad the concert was everything you hoped it would be.

Comment by Pete

Fake news. The photo’s from a Bieber gig he went to.

Comment by John

Sssssssh. That’s supposed to be our secret John.

Comment by Rob


Comment by Jemma King

So I’ve just discovered that today is the 25th anniversary of Freddie dying.

Given I saw them ages ago and had this post in my drafts for a couple of months, I can only assume my subliminal Queen radar is still in excellent working order.

Also known as ‘sad fan syndrome’.

Comment by Rob


Comment by DH

I went. It was actually great. Some of those songs are so amazing that they kind of transcend who’s playing them.

Roger Taylor had his son on stage (who was way better than him) and Brian May looked ridiculous, but the way they used video of Freddie Mercury at some points to have his presence on stage felt really genuine and touching.

Or maybe they were just faking it to milk as much cash as possible out of the gullible Chinese.

Whatever the motivation, ‘Love of my life’ was beautiful.

Comment by LuoAnLai

If they wanted to make as much money out of the ‘gullible Chinese’, they’d have played more than 1 night.

And to be fair to Mr Taylor senior, he’s almost 70 … he was pretty awesome for that. But yes, Mr May was ridiculous, but then that’s always been one of the things I loved about him. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I’m glad you enjoyed it and that it was good. It is never easy to take over from such an impressive lead like Freddie but it can be done.

Comment by talkchatter

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