We made a point of staying close to home for Independence Day. Our city doesn’t allow Fourth of July fireworks, instead encouraging people to make their way to public pyrotechnic displays in parks and local stadiums, but concussive reverberations–illegal fireworks as well as sanctioned displays, have been disturbing the peace for a week now, and our poor Zena, already an anxious dog, is going to be very relieved when this holiday comes to an end.
We have been giving her Pet Rescue Remedy homeopathic drops for the past week, hoping they’d calm her anxiety. She quivers and shakes and shows signs of distress with every BOOM! We left her alone one evening this week and returned to find the results of a panic attack. Somehow she managed to chew an enormous gash in our wooden gate.
So out of necessity we opted to stay very close to home for the 4th of July.
But I can report that I had an exciting evening on the 3rd, visiting Queen. Not THE Queen, but the British Rock band.
My daughter generously acknowledged my desire to relive a youthful fantasy and for my spring birthday purchased tickets for the two of us to see Queen with Adam Lambert.
There’s something really exhilarating about attending a concert that so directly connects to youthful memories. I have a very clear mid-70s recollection of defrosting the freezer –you know, the little compartment that barely held a carton of ice cream, frozen orange juice concentrate and ice-cube trays, while singing along to Queen’s “A Night at the Opera.”
I wonder how many younger-than-me people think Bohemian Rhapsody originated with Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey? My somewhat scratchy vinyl album certainly pre-dates the movie Wayne’s World.
Freddie Mercury, who died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991, is irreplaceable, but the band’s decision to include Adam Lambert as lead singer for this tour was a brilliant addition. Lambert didn’t pretend to be Freddie, but he can hit those operatic moments convincingly and has theatrical flair that is at least reminiscent of Mercury.
The evening included many archival video moments of the band’s younger days, including Freddie in a few of the key vocals. The inclusion was remarkably natural and underscored the group’s longevity and remarkable success spanning more than 40 years.
Original band members guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor (joined by Taylor’s very talented son) gave such strong performances that there wasn’t one moment of thinking this was a band heading into retirement, although May has been quoted as saying this summer’s North American tour may be their final.
Rounding out a nostalgic musical evening was a first look at the newly renovated Los Angeles/Inglewood Forum. The building, designed by architect Charles Luckman in the late 1960s, has recently been greatly improved with a major renovation. The Forum was the original home to the Los Angeles Lakers before they moved to the Staples Center, and at one time was even used as a mega-church building.
Occasionally a headliner concert brought out the crowds, but more and more infrequently, and it has been a long time since the Forum’s glory days when Led Zeppelin performed 16 times in the 1970s.
To the delight of concert-lovers, the Forum was purchased in 2012 by the owners of New York’s Madison Square Gardens, given a major facelift–really more of an overhaul– and is now attracting top artists as well as enthusiastic crowds.
The Forum is In the direct path for flights arriving at LAX, which must offer a spectacular view of the circular building with its 72 Roman-inspired columns.
An added bonus resulting from the renovation is the plan to provide much-needed revitalization to what has been a neglected part of the city.
It was a wonderful concert and delightful evening. But it had to come to a close.
And how did the concert end?
Since the early 70’s the band has finished each concert performance with Brian May’s distinctive rock guitar version of God Save the Queen.
It did seem just a little ironic that a primarily American audience stood for a rousing ovation to the beautiful British national anthem–just a couple of hours before our own day to celebrate American Independence was about to commence.
Have you had a concert experience that brought you back to your youth? If you could roll back the clock who would you like to see perform?
If you’re interested in Forum renovation photos, click HERE.
Most of all, enjoy your weekend. We’re going to spend the rest of ours comforting a dog.