‘Queen the Greatest Live’ – Episode 45: “Live in the 21st Century”

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Queen + Adam Lambert spent part of 2023 on the road touring the U.S. on their Rhapsody Tour. For Brian May and Roger Taylor, the live experience certainly has changed since the ’70s and ’80s when they were touring with Freddie Mercury.

In this week’s episode of the band’s weekly YouTube series, Queen the Greatest Live, the two Rock & Roll Hall of Famers discuss how their live show has evolved, and share some of the biggest differences between shows today and those of the past.

“The reaction is very similar to what it used to be,” May says. But he notes mobile phones have changed the concert experience, because audiences of the past “would just be there, their whole selves interacting in mind and body and eyes and ears.” He adds, “It’s not like that now. Everybody has this urge to kind of immortalize stuff. So, when you look out, you see almost as many mobile phones as people, which is weird.”

May says all that recording has taken away some of the magic because “there’s nothing secret anymore,” and fans can easily go online to see highlights of what the band has done at previous shows. 

Roger adds that modern technology has its benefits, though, noting that lights aren’t as hot as they once were, plus, “you’ve got these wonderful screens, which are getting better every year.”

“It’s possible to do amazing things with them,” he says. 

But while some artists will use technology to have all their lights preset and ready to go,  Brian says Queen still has people “pushing the buttons in time with us, feeling what we’re doing.”

He notes, “It makes it a truly live show.”

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