Queen Minus Freddie Mercury? No Thank You
|Photos by Neil Preston/Courtesy of Live Nation|
This is the "meta-ethical view that claims that ethical sentences do not express propositions but emotional attitudes." Whether I want to see Queen in the band's current state is not really an ethical quandary. But, my philosophy on it -- and many share this sentiment -- is entirely tied to my emotions about the band.
The best concert experience is one that stirs up our human feelings. Those feelings are sometimes dormant and need a good, loud alarm with a three-song encore to awaken them. That's why we go see acts whose best, most creative days are behind them.
I love Queen's music and allow it on occasion to transport me back to senior year, when at least once a week I blared "Get Down, Make Love" in my dookie-brown Honda Civic for the four girls I carpooled to school. No subtlety whatsoever, but that was part of my emotional tie to that band.
I don't have an emotional tie to Queen + Adam Lambert. As nice as it might sound, it'll fall short of what I want from a show.
In their philosophy primer, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar..., writers Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein discuss Aristotle's thoughts on essentialism. They write, "the way (Aristotle) put it is that essential properties are those without which a thing wouldn't be what it is, and accidental properties are those that determine how a thing is and not what it is.
Adam Lambert is an accidental property. Freddie Mercury - and, to a lesser but still very important degree, the band's bass player, John Deacon -- are essential Queen properties.
It's true, Lambert has vocal skills required to match Mercury's four-octave range. And Mariah Carey could sing lead in a Beyonce-free Destiny's Child reunion. Witnessing that might be cool, but it wouldn't mean you've seen Destiny's Child.
It doesn't diminish the contributions of Queen's remaining members to suggest a show featuring only half the band isn't really a Queen show. On the contrary, it strengthens their musical legacy.
In the end, they won't be remembered for a very good group of 2014 shows with a capable young stand-in. They'll be remembered for the music they originally created, together as a foursome in a band none of us will ever get to see again.
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