Queen + Paul Rodgers
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Queen + Paul Rodgers
Queen + Paul Rodgers (sometimes referred to as Q+PR or QPR) was a collaboration between Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor) and Paul Rodgers, formerly of Bad Company, Free, The Firm and The Law. Guitarist May had previously performed with Rodgers on several occasions, including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
It was made clear that Rodgers would not be replacing Queen's former lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who died on 24 November 1991. He would simply be "featured with" former Queen members. Former Queen bass guitarist John Deacon declined to participate in the collaboration due to his retirement in 1997. The group's three principal members May, Taylor and Rodgers were supplemented on tour by Queen's former touring keyboard player Spike Edney, rhythm guitarist Jamie Moses, and bass guitarist Danny Miranda who had previously worked with Blue Öyster Cult. Throughout their career the band completed two world tours, issued the first studio album for Queen in nearly 15 years entitled The Cosmos Rocks, and released two live albums and three live DVDs.
Rodgers announced in May 2009 that the 'Queen + Paul Rodgers' collaboration had come to an end, saying "it was never meant to be a permanent arrangement". He did, however, leave open the possibility for future collaborations. This collaboration was then followed by another collaboration, this time with Adam Lambert, called Queen + Adam Lambert.
The origins of the collaboration came when May played at the Fender Strat Pack concert in 2004. As he had done many times before (but beforehand nothing really happened as far as Queen were concerned), he joined Rodgers for a rendition of Free's classic, "All Right Now". After this, May spoke of a chemistry between the two of them. Following this, May invited Rodgers to play with Queen at their induction to the UK Music Hall of Fame where they played "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" and "All Right Now". Again citing a new excitement with Rodgers, the three announced their world tour in 2005.
Return of the Champions Tour (2005–2006)
The group's first public performance was at a concert in South Africa in March 2005 in support of Nelson Mandela's 46664 AIDS awareness campaign. The tour began properly with a concert at the Brixton Academy venue in London, with tickets sold primarily to members of the official Queen fan club. An arena tour of Europe followed in spring 2005, with dates at venues such as Wembley Pavilion, Cardiff International Arena and Le Zénith in France. Four outdoor stadium dates were scheduled for the first time in Portugal at Estadio do Restelo (Att: 30,000), at Rhein-Energie Stadion in Cologne, Germany (Att:27,500), Gelredome in Arnhem, the Netherlands (Att:25,000) and at Hyde Park in the UK (Att:65,000) in the summer of 2005.
The Estadio do Restelo concert took place on 2 July 2005. The Queen + Paul Rodgers concert was planned to be one of the stages for Live 8 but only a message was sent before "'39". Two songs were dedicated to Live 8. "Say It's Not True", a song by Taylor for Nelson Mandela's fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, was introduced by Taylor in Lisbon: "This is a song from Nelson Mandela and for HIV/AIDS Africa, especially today on Live 8-day. This is a song to Lisbon." After this song, May dedicated "'39" to Bob Geldof and introduced the song: "Olá Lisboa! I would like to make a salute to all our comrades and friends who are doing such a wonderful job and trying that children throughout the world are no longer hungry; let's make a big noise for Bob Geldof and Live 8".
The Hyde Park concert took place on 15 July 2005. The band and management gave away thousands of free tickets to emergency services people for helping in the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which caused the concert to be postponed by a week. British comedian Peter Kay, who had also appeared during the encore at their Manchester gig in May that year, warmed up the crowd, with the band Razorlight as the support act. The concert was attended by some 65,000 people, and Queen + Paul Rodgers performed for over 2 hours.Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions", and "Bohemian Rhapsody". In an interview published in the San Jose Mercury News, Rodgers said that the one song they would not be able play while on tour was "Killer Queen", due to the fact that "the melodies are just too on the spot". The typical set also included some songs from the back catalogues of Free and Bad Company, such as "All Right Now", "Wishing Well", "Feel Like Making Love", and "Bad Company". May and Taylor sang lead on some songs. May: "Hammer to Fall" (the first part only), "Love of My Life", "'39" (on which he sang lead on the studio version originally). Taylor: "Radio Ga Ga" (both verses and first two choruses), "These Are the Days of Our Lives", "Say It's Not True" (a new song), and "I'm in Love with My Car" (on which he sang lead on the studio version originally as well). Taylor often left the drum kit (the exception[clarification needed] being "I'm in Love with My Car") while a drum machine played on "Radio Ga Ga" and "These Are the Days of Our Lives". For "Say It's Not True", he would be accompanied by auxiliary band members Miranda and Moses, who both played acoustic guitars (except for the 46664 concert, in which Taylor was accompanied by May and Moses – which was the only time May played guitar on this song during the tour).
In addition to well known favourites and hits, there were a number of occasional "surprise" additions to the setlist, including: "I Was Born to Love You" (Japan only), "Imagine" (John Lennon cover, Hyde Park only), "Teo Torriatte" (Japan only), "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (feat. Katie Melua, South Africa only), '"Long Away" (selected shows only), "Tavaszi Szel" (Budapest only) and "Let There Be Drums" (Sandy Nelson cover performed at most gigs). "Sunshine of Your Love" was played in Newcastle as testament to the Cream reunion gig in London going on at the same time (3 May). May had been present at the Cream show on 2 May, which possibly[weasel words] inspired him to do it. The band also added "Dragon Attack" to a number of shows on the 2006 North American tour.
Queen + Paul Rodgers followed the European tour with a series of performances in fall 2005, in such diverse locations as Aruba, Japan and the United States of America. Slash, lead guitarist of the band Guns N' Roses and formerly Velvet Revolver, joined the band for "Can't Get Enough" during their show at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, the second of their two-show trial run in North America (22 October 2005).
In early 2006, Queen + Paul Rodgers played a 23-date tour of North America. The tour started at the American Airlines Arena in Miami (first Florida date since 1978, first official USA tour since 1982) and ended with a sold-out performance in Vancouver, Canada (where they also covered the Jimi Hendrix song "Red House" – the only performance of this song on the tour).
The Cosmos Rocks (2006–2008)