Queen had tried to make it work with other singers since Mercury's passing, but those collaborations all felt like temporary solutions. It was not until Lambert's emergence on American Idol in 2009 that Queen saw a vocalist and consummate performer with whom the band might truly have a future.
After meeting and first performing with Lambert on Idol in '09, Queen kept in touch, inviting him to perform with them again in 2011 at the European Music Awards. The gig went so well that it was time Queen + Adam Lambert discuss what their future held.
“All of us sat down and we had a drink, and there was a sense of camaraderie in that moment about ‘Look what we just did. This feels good. I like you. I like you. You like me,'" Lambert recalls in the latest edition of Queen The Greatest. "It was an instant sense of sort of comfort and ease that we all had with each other. We all sort of got a kick out of each other and felt like the right fit, it felt good.”
The band had a good feeling about Lambert for some time, Brian May added. Now that he was a few years removed from Idol and established as an artist in his own right, the time was right to move forward.
Queen + Adam Lambert went ahead and booked their first run of shows together. Never a band to ease into something, the partnership kicked off with the massive 'Let's Stop AIDS Together' concert in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2012. The concert was attended by an estimated 350,000 people and broadcast live on television.
While it could have made sense to start with something smaller, May gives all the credit to Lambert for his professionalism; whatever he had to prove, he proved that night.
"He didn't look like it was terrifying," May recalled. "He looked like he did this every day."
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