Legendary rock icons Brian May and Roger Taylor of QUEEN, and Paul Rodgers of BAD COMPANY and FREE, just off a sold-out, 32-date arena tour of Europe under the banner of QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS, are headed for the U.S. later this year. They will bring their acclaimed show to the U.S. for two rare performances this fall, touching down on each coast before heading out for a stadium tour of Japan.
QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS today confirmed much-anticipated shows for October 16 at Continental Airlines Arena (The Meadowlands) in East Rutherford, N.J., and October 22 at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, Calif.
Tickets for the Continental Arena date will go on sale at 10 a.m. EST on Saturday, July 30, and for the Hollywood Bowl date at 10 a.m. PST on Sunday, July 31. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster or www.queenpluspaulrodgers.com, www.queenonline.com, or www.paulrodgers.com. (Check the Web sites for information on pre-sales and special VIP ticket opportunities.)
Following the pair of U.S. dates, QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS will continue on to Japan, where their dates include the Super Arena in Saitama on October 26 and 27, the Dome in Nagoya on November 1, and The Dome in Fukuoka on November 3.
It's been 23 years since QUEEN played concerts in the United States — in 1982 they sold out a 30-date arena tour. During the following four years, the band defined stadium rock around the world, with mega-shows throughout Europe, Japan, South America and Australasia.
The glory that was QUEEN during those record-breaking years — at Brazil's Rock in Rio Festival (January 1985) the band reached a record-setting audience of more than 350,000 in a single show — would never again be seen in the U.S. In 1986 lead vocalist Freddie Mercury was stricken with the then-relatively unknown HIV/AIDS virus. Without the benefit of modern retroviral treatments, Mercury died of an AIDS-related illness, in 1991. Since QUEEN stopped touring North America in 1982, an entire era of subsequent QUEEN anthems has been lost to those audiences, only now to be discovered, with the 2005 dates.
"I never thought I would be doing this again," said May. 'I was always against the idea of putting someone in there trying to impersonate Freddie in any way. Then suddenly I'm looking at this guy who doesn't in any sense try to take the place of Freddie. He comes from his own place musically and we can reinterpret these songs with someone who understands us — the songs would mean something new."
The collaboration was cemented last fall when May, Taylor and Rodgers performed in public together for the first time, bringing the house to its feet at the first annual U.K. Music Hall of Fame Awards in London. They served up blistering versions of "We Will Rock You", "We Are The Champions" and the finale, "All Right Now".
"There was a natural chemistry between us when we performed together in London," said Rodgers. "The idea took hold for us to do something together after that, and the momentum has taken on a life of its own."
Taylor noted: "Paul is one of the people who's influenced so many of the singers out there at the moment, and Freddie was a great fan of his. I always hoped we would tour again, and I'm thrilled we're doing it. After all, it's our profession; it's what we do and what we're good at."
The Independent in London commented in a review: "All right now — even without their killer queen. There was a kind of magic in the air when QUEEN played their first concert since 1986…. Rodgers gives good front-man…. QUEEN remains a right royal treat."
" ... a marvelous night that ranks as one of the gigs of the year," added The Guardian newspaper in the U.K.
QUEEN was formed in 1971 and spent the next 20 years writing and recording such multiplatinum albums as "News of the World", "The Game" (#1 for five weeks), "A Night at the Opera", "Classic Queen" and "Live Killers". According to the book of "British Hit Singles & Albums," published by Guinness World Records, QUEEN recently overtook THE BEATLES as the most successful albums artist in U.K. chart history. They scored 1,322 weeks on the U.K. albums chart, 29 weeks more than THE BEATLES and 42 weeks more than Elvis Presley.
As of June 2005, according to the RIAA, QUEEN had sold more than 31.5 million albums in the United States, ranking them the 50th-biggest-selling artist in the States. FOO FIGHTERS' Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins inducted QUEEN into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Paul Rodgers' voice is one of rock's platinum assets. As a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Rodgers has written, produced and recorded some of radio's biggest hits. He first exploded onto the music scene at 18 with "All Right Now", written by Rodgers/Fraser, then in FREE. The song became a #1 hit in 20 territories and in the 1990s was awarded the Multi Million Award by the British music industry for reaching two million radio plays in the U.K. ASCAP recognized "All Right Now" for passing one million radio plays in the U.S. The members of QUEEN have long cited FREE's "Fire and Water" album as "one of our bibles when we were starting off."
In 1973 Rodgers formed BAD COMPANY with guitarist Mick Ralphs. They wrote, produced and recorded six multiplatinum albums in five years, including such global hits as "Feel Like Makin' Love", "Can't Get Enough", "Rock and Roll Fantasy", "Shooting Star" and "Bad Company". Rodgers played guitar and piano on several of these recordings.
Rodgers partnered with guitarist Jimmy Page in the mid-'80s as THE FIRM. They released two CDs, with singles "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Radioactive" written by Rodgers, and had two top-grossing world tours.
Since the '90s, as a solo artist, Rodgers has been honored with a Grammy nomination for his "Muddy Water Blues" album and worked with Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh and, most recently, Aretha Franklin, THE TEMPTATIONS and THE FOUR TOPS for their TV/DVD special, "From the Heart", which celebrated the TOPS' 50th anniversary.
Between them, QUEEN and Paul Rodgers have released more than 50 albums during their long careers and sold in excess of a staggering 200 million records.
QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS concerts will feature songs from both catalogs. The set list has showcased such QUEEN mega-hits as "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Another One Bites the Dust", plus "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You", both anthems in the sports world, and the six-minute opus "Bohemian Rhapsody", which cracked the Top 10 twice: first on its initial release, in 1976, and again in 1992 when it appeared in a memorable scene from the comedy film "Wayne's World". The shows have also featured such Rodgers classics as "All Right Now", "Can't Get Enough", "Feel Like Makin' Love" and "Wishing Well".
May (guitar and vocals), Taylor (drums and vocals) and Rodgers (vocals and guitar) are joined on tour by Danny Miranda (ex-BLUE OYSTER CULT) on bass, Jamie Moses (former Brian May band member) on second guitar, and Spike Edney, longtime QUEEN sideman on keyboards. (Though supportive of his band mates, QUEEN bassist John Deacon has elected to retire from touring.)
QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS concluded their European tour this month with large outdoor concerts in Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands, and returned to London's Hyde Park, where QUEEN performed a free show before a then-record crowd of 150,000 in 1976. This time their show, postponed a week by terrorist bombings, was dedicated to the city's emergency workers.
Over the past four years, QUEEN has also successfully developed and launched their musical, "We Will Rock You", around the world, in partnership with Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions. Now in its fourth sold-out year in London, it has also enjoyed successful runs in Spain, Australia and Russia, and is packing them in nightly in Las Vegas, Tokyo and Cologne, where it is the #1 German theatrical show. More than four million people have seen the production.
A double-sided QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS single of "Reaching Out"/"Tie Your Mother Down" b/w "Fat Bottomed Girls" was released to radio earlier this month by Hollywood Records. It was recorded live May 9, 2005, at Sheffield Arena, in Sheffield, England.
The U.S. dates will be topped and tailed by the release of a live, two-CD set, "Return of the Champions", released on Hollywood Records September 13, and a DVD set of the show filmed by renowned director David Mallet, released on October 24. They were also recorded and filmed, respectively, during the May 9 Sheffield Arena performance.
The DVD set will contain extensive bonus material, including rehearsal and backstage footage, and highlights of their European shows.
Hollywood Records is also issuing a QUEEN tribute album — "Killer Queen" – on August 9, 2005. Artists performing QUEEN songs include GAVIN DEGRAW ("We Are the Champions"), JASON MRAZ ("Good Old Fashioned Loverboy"), FLAMING LIPS ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), ELEVEN featuring Josh Homme ("Stone Cold Crazy"), JOSS STONE ("Under Pressure"), LOS LOBOS ("Sleepin' on the Sidewalk"), SUM 41 ("Killer Queen"), ROONEY ("Death on Two Legs"), JON BRION ("Play the Game"), BE YOUR OWN PET ("Bicycle Race"), INGRAM HILL ("'39"), BREAKING BENJAMIN ("Who Wants to Live Forever"), ANTIGONE RISING ("Fat Bottomed Girls"), SHINEDOWN ("Tie Your Mother Down") and "American Idol" finalist Constantine with the cast of "We Will Rock You", from the Las Vegas production (on a second version of "Bohemian Rhapsody").
At the end of the year, QUEEN will commemorate the 30th anniversary of their two-time hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody" (first released in the U.S. December 7, 1975), with a special anniversary DVD and CD of the band's classic album "A Night at the Opera".