God Save the Queen for American Independence Day? There’s an interesting juxtaposition.

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.

Credit to Wikipedia for a photo of the Forum before the renovation

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.


61 thoughts on “God Save the Queen for American Independence Day? There’s an interesting juxtaposition.

  1. Debra, As usual you always have a good time. I love Queen, wish I could have been there. 🙂 BTW, I always keep Rescue remedy at home and the whole set of Bach Remedies. Phil and I didn’t venture far, we went to a local State park and enjoy spending time there.

    1. I have Rescue Remedy on hand myself, Marie, but I really don’t know much more about other Bach remedies. I have thought it would be good to learn more, so thanks for mentioning that. And the concert was so much fun. Absolutely every age was represented, from whole families with younger members to older than myself. I thought that it must be really nice as a performer to know that the music continues to delight even younger audiences than those who “date back” like myself. 🙂 It’s so nice to hear from you!

  2. Poor Zena, I love fireworks but always feel so sorry for the animals. Speaking as an ex Brit and a Canadian I envy your Queen experience and enjoyed your description of the concert. The irony of the juxtaposition of July 4 and God Save… is not lost on me…hilarious. Great post Debra, thank you…

    1. I am so glad the 4th is behind us all now, John. I’m sure we’ll have some residual noise tonight as people continue to “use up” their fireworks stash, but we hear the sounds from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and they were very loud. Zena just couldn’t relax. I’m so glad to know that you, too, would have enjoyed the Queen concert. Their music is so diverse and eclectic that I think almost anyone would have enjoyed it, too. I was really struck by May and Taylor and their musicianship. The decision to highlight their solo pieces was really a smart one. It reminded everyone that they were a musical force as a band, not just with the outstanding vocals. See…I really could go on and on. 🙂 I need to play some music today and stop talking. hahaha!

  3. Great story. I recall, still in high school, working at an outdoor resort and along with 10-15 others, singing Boheman Rhapsody as we went about cleaning up after picnickers during the late 70’s.. As far as dogs, we have four, black Labs and we are fortunate as they can care less about fireworks as all they worry about is when the next tennis ball will be thrown for them. Lastly, as a “weekend warrior musician” I have lots of musical memories, but I have to say that whenever I see Steve Forbert play, I go back in time. Heard my first Steve Forbert song in college, 1978….my wife and I danced to a Forbert song as our first dance at our wedding in 1986 and I have seen him at least once a year since then with a show coming up in September in Charlotte. Is it not amazing how so many memories can be pinned on music and bands? Thanks for reminding me. (PS…found your blog via Andra)

    1. I’m so glad you stopped by to share! I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about a wide range in musical genres and I have a strong memory for music and artists, so it delighted me to be introduced to Steve Forbert–and it surprises me a little that I do not know him at all! I’ll definitely change that now. Thank you for the introduction. I really do enjoy hearing what other music lovers enjoy and I know how it is to have strong favorites that evoke powerful emotional connections. I’m really pleased you stopped by to introduce yourself. I look forward to getting to know you. And yes, our Andra is a great “connector” isn’t she? I’m certainly glad your dogs weren’t traumatized by the holiday festivities…if we’d had four dogs last night I might have been in trouble. LOL!

      1. Ah . . . Steve Forbert brings back college for me.
        We saw him perform at a wine festival in Delaware about 10 years ago.

        Hope you can find him for a listen, Debra.

      2. Steve had one hit….Romeo’s Tune. YouTube has a plethora of his music, including a viseo of Romeo’s Tune taken by my daughter last year when we saw him in Charlotte.(http://youtu.be/C5qwjHmIfJw) I like his earlier music much better than the new songs, but after all these years, there is only so much water you can pull out of the well. Andra is quite a powerhouse.
        Best Wishes from SC…..RJV

  4. Entertaining post, Debra, I love the irony ~ but how else could you end a Queen concert? I was a loyal fan and still have their last CD with Freddie, ‘Made in Heaven’; released shortly after his untimely death, it’s so poignant hearing how his amazing voice had been affected by ill~health. He was such a charismatic character that I imagined it would be impossible to replace him ~ but from your account it sounds as though Adam Lambert did it brilliantly. Poor Zena, though, I hope the illegal fireworks will stop now. 🙂

    1. I really did giggle, Jacqueline, with God Save the Queen. Of course you’re right–there is NO other way to conclude a Queen concert, but it did strike me funny. I do not have the Made in Heaven CD, and I think that might be one I’d like to add. I found it very moving in the concert to even listen to the words to some of the songs with archival footage of Freddie on the back screen. The song “Who Wants to Live Forever” kind of got to me in this setting. But it was delightful overall, and Adam Lambert was so respectful and did a fine job. The whole neighborhood seems quiet this morning, and I hope that does let Zena calm down a bit today. Thank you for sharing your appreciation of Queen, too. It pleases me. 🙂

  5. If I could turn back the clock, Queen IS who I would want to see. I’m thrilled just “seeing” them through your blog. I love the vision of Freddie. I have sat and watched his videos for hours on end. This had to have been such a treat. I never went to concerts as a youth. But look forward to some in my next youth (retirement!). 😉

    1. Oh! Another Queen fan, Colleen? I’m delighted to hear that. It has been a long time since I’ve watched those videos, but when Freddie died and they started playing them on VH-1 and probably MTV I was captivated. At that point I only really knew the group through the music itself and had very little exposure to their theatrical performances. I am sorry I didn’t see them perform when he was alive. That would have been really something! But it’s fun. And yes, put concerts on your retirement “to do” list. I loved looking at the over-60 crowd at the Forum. Of course, that also included me! LOL!

  6. How wonderful! I have seen a Queen “tribute” band (from England) which is quite good. The lead singer not only sings like Freddie but he dresses and moves like him too. Loved it! Love the music! So sorry about Zena. Our cats except for Morgan who isn’t afraid of anything were all upstairs under beds as we get a lot of noise here. I am not a fan of backyard fireworks myself but I am in the minority. Fortunately the weather was good so it will all be over in a day or two.

    1. Aww! Your cats hid under the bed, too! I think fireworks must be terribly frightening to the pets. It just shows how sensitive they are to not just sound, but any situational component that doesn’t make sense to them! Poor things! I have never even seen a Queen tribute band, so this was quite the experience for me. As much as I had interest and desire, I probably wouldn’t have attended if not for Aimee’s gift. She knew how much I loved them. I am still grinning. 🙂

  7. Such a fabulous way to celebrate. I would love to see Queen, but, not nearly as much as my sol would. Love this post, my friend. The poor dogs next door. 😦 They must have been cowering as we had tons of fireworks going off hereabouts for several days. Many of the local municipalities have outdoor concerts and set them off this week as their concerts ended; then there was the 4th. Sigh. I’ve really been thinking lately about how much this effects veterans, especially those who have recently returned home.

    I never went to a Beatles concert as a teen – and would love to now. To see Sir Paul would be a real treat and I rued not seeing Ringo when he was in town just a few weeks ago. The group that would really take me back to my youth, however, was a local group called the Cryan’ Shames, that I had the outmost joy of seeing live in my teens. It was my first introduction to the song, Up on the Roof, and is a bit of theme song for moi.

    1. I heard a military representative talking on the radio yesterday about the effects of fireworks on recently returned veterans, Penny. He was giving families and vets some advice on how to handle the possible emotional triggers that would be potentially very disturbing. I felt sensitive, also, to the fact that this conversation alerted me to a factor I hadn’t previously considered. Here I was obsessing about how a dog was going to get by. It was just a new thought to me. 😦

      I have never been to any Beatles concert either, Penny, but later this summer will be see Sir Paul for the first time. Now this concert came by way of my son…so my children are looking out for me! Like you living near Chicago, the opportunities to go to concerts are so plentiful. There is always someone nearby I would love to see and of course, it’s not possible to take advantage of all but a very few opportunities. But the ones I really want to see are those that reach back to my youth and have a hold on my nostalgic heart! LOL! And they also are not going to be performing forever, so I fell time bound to do my best. That’s my excuse! LOL! I don’t know the Cryan’ Shames, but I do know Up on the Roof. And the first concert I ever attended back in 1970–I think–was Carole King and James Taylor. Musical memory is so powerful, isn’t it? (That’s a good personal theme song, Penny! I approve. LOL! )

      1. Fireworks and their impact on recently returned vets really just came to my attention over the fourth. I was embarrassed that I had not been paying attention to this, but, guess the important this is that we try to realize how others might feel. It is such a public service that the military representative was taking on this subject. I need to be more sensitive in these areas and I guess the 4th of July is as good as any place to start.

        I love the Carole King/James Taylor renditions. The Cryan’ Shames were more of a local group and I heard them (oh, this is going to hurtI in the summer of ’69.

        How wonderful that you will be seeing Sir Paul! Your children do take good care of you, and I’m sure it comes from examples set by their parents. You make me smile today, Debra.

    2. And of course, Penny, you enjoy those little ones! You shared in your response to the “Acme” post that they were with you! I’m sure you’re soaking up all goodness you can drink in! 🙂

  8. Poor little Zena! Sounds like those homeopathic drops just couldn’t replace the comfort of her family. We’re fortunate that Daisy just barks at the first few “booms”, then settles back down and accepts them. Still, we don’t leave her alone on the 4th just in case that might have a different effect on her. The concert sounds great, I love Queen and I’m glad they did the music and the band justice with their replacement of Freddie Mercury. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend and that Zena will start calming down soon. 🙂

    1. I kind of hate to think what Zena would have experienced without the drops, to be honest. I think they do help. She eventually calmed down a little, but just stayed alert. I felt sorry for her. I’m so glad to know that you, too, have an affection for Queen. The concert didn’t let me down at all. And Adam Lambert has such a strong and powerful voice with incredible range so he didn’t fall flat at all. No one really replaces Freddie, though. He was something else! 🙂 We have a quiet remainder of the weekend and I’m glad to just refresh, if possible. Hope you have a good one, too, my friend.

  9. Hope Zena has recovered now. New Year is when everyone has fireworks here, but fortunately our dogs don’t react. The concert. must have been great… I think they know how to put on a show! Have a relaxing weekend now Debra!

    1. I don’t think we have any other occasion beyond the 4th of July when fireworks are so prevalent, Cathy. Not at New Years here. So last 4th we didn’t have Zena in our home. I wasn’t completely prepared for how she’d react, but now we know! LOL! Today is calm, and so is she. I wonder if she’ll sleep a lot today–she needs the rest. 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend, too!

    1. I’m still grinning following the concert, yummy! I chuckle every time I think of the crowd, too. Every possible age was represented. There were older people who could barely walk and young pre-teens that came with parents. It was just really good music. And my memories were definitely stirred and that’s a fun outcome, too! 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend.

  10. Hope that Zena is doing better.

    Tigger doesn’t mind fireworks or thunder, but we had a Great Dane who was terrified of both (and the doorbell on Halloween).

    I saw Queen in concert in Philly more than 30 years ago. Great show. If I could turn back the clock, I would go to Woodstock and hear all those bands that paved the way, or attend a Beatles concert, or see Lynyrd Skynyrd perform Free Bird with the original band intact.

    1. I am trying to picture a fearful Great Dane! LOL! That must have been interesting! Size doesn’t equal courage, does it? I would have LOVED to have seen Queen in the Freddie days. I can’t even imagine what that would have been like. Mays and Taylor are incredible musicians still, and I could just listen to them if they recorded solos. But it was so much fun. I have often thought that it would be incredible to be able to say we’d been to Woodstock. That would be something to tell the grandchildren, wouldn’t it? 🙂

      1. The same Great Dane was FEARLESS when she met a bear in Yellowstone National Park. Of course, the bear was outside the car, not inside it! 😎

        If I had been born 10 years earlier, I would have been at Woodstock. Or so I like to believe.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. I know a lot of dogs that are absolutely terrified of fireworks and they tremble and shake and have the worst anxiety. I’m fortunate that my dogs couldn’t care less! How wonderful to go to a Queen concert. Freddie Mercury was an incredible talent with a rare gift and there are not many who can sing his songs. It’s great that the band is still able to tour and that Adam is able to belt out those impossible high notes. It’s devastating for a band when they lose their lead singer; it just leaves the band in pieces. It’s the same with INXS – all band members wanting to keep going but their missing that vital and integral person xx

    1. I’m going to definitely need to research more potent “doggy tranquilizers” for future events that may upset our poor Zena. I was basically held hostage at home for a few days. LOL! Friends of ours did lose their dog over the weekend, and I hope by now have found him, but haven’t heard! It’s very upsetting to some of the animals, and then, like you note, your two little girls just don’t care. Much like people, I suppose, different temperaments! And I’ve been thinking about Adam Lambert. I think he could have an even more interesting career if other classic rock bands would pick him up to add a little youth to some of the aging lead singing. I don’t see this happening, but I think he has the right stuff. 🙂

  12. Firstly, I feel for your little creature: Lui Stringer goes bananas every Saturday night when they have fireworks down in Darling Harbour, and hides under a divan. He’s nearly 8, but he still hides …
    Secondly, I’m thrilled that you got so much pleasure from the Queen for Today !
    And lastly, if a miracle were to occur and I able to attend a performance of my favourite band from my youth, it would be the original Three Dog Night – complete with Chuck Negron. Sighh …

    1. Oh my, M-R! Fireworks every Saturday? I don’t think Zena could handle that very well. I’ve been researching doggy tranquilizers, so maybe by next time we’ll be even better prepared! I’ll now be thinking of poor little Lui Stringeron Saturdays! 🙂 Oh, Three Dog Night! That’s a great flashback group. I really enjoyed their music, too, although i didn’t know them well enough to know the individual band members. The Queen concert threw me into a very deep state of nostalgia. It’s a little bittersweet, but has me smiling. 🙂

  13. I hate the noise of fireworks. They were illegal her for years because of the troubles, but that did not stop some people using illegally imported boxes. They actually sounded like rapid gunfire – real scary! Now the local councils hold official firework displays at Halloween. I live on a hill, so stay home and watch through my window. Safe, warm and with a glass in my hand! 😉

  14. Debra what a lucky girl you are… I’d give anything to see Brian May play in person… to me he must be one of, if not, the best guitar players in the world… as for Adam Lambert I was backing him to win the American Idols, I think he was runner up to that fellow that was definitely not as good as he was… just shows I can’t remember his name and don’t think I’ve heard of him again… I always felt that Adam could take over from Freddie, never replace him but he does have that unique voice and style that would fit well with Brian and the team…. I loved Queen and probably have all their records… Linda enjoyed them as well, although did never quite grasp why I shushed her when ever Brian played a solo…

  15. Tom McCubbin

    The Queen concert sounds cool. Don’t know their music very well, as they were big when I was a hermit on a mountain top, Well, sort of…But saw Adam when he was on Idol…Sounds like you’re having a great summer!

  16. Poor Zena! Hope those drops help.

    The concert sounds amazing! And you’re right, while no one can ever replace Freddie Mercury, Adam Lambert is a great stand-in.

    1. I think the “doggy drops” really did help Zena. But since I’ve learned of others, too, and I think we’ll experiment with them. Poor thing…all she needs is for us to experiment with tranquilizers, right? 🙂 Adam Lambert did a really nice job as lead singer for Queen. I have been thinking that it cold work out well if other aging classic rock groups just let him come and appear with them from time to time. It would be interesting to me anyway. 🙂

  17. What a fun birthday gift! It sounds like you had a great time. It is fun when music can take you back. Not sure who I would pick to go see…hopefully the fireworks have died down now and Zena is calm and well. Here’s to a great week Debra!

  18. I think I would react to the fire crackers and fireworks as Zena did… probably because I’ve lived in the country so long.
    And I wondered where you were going with that header. The queen concert sounds delightful, as does the forum. Thanks Debra.

    1. How wonderful it must be to live where you can rely on absence of noise! I don’t experience that silence very often, Bruce. I think we grow accustomed to the noise as it’s always in the background, and as it turned out, as the days went forward, dear little Zena did better with the fireworks, too, because she began to acclimate to the sound. Isn’t that saying something! The Queen concert was so much fun. It was loud, but I won’t call it noise! 🙂

  19. Your poor Zena, the way she chewed the gate she must have been trying to escape the noise of the fireworks. You must have had a great time at the concert. Your are right about the irony of their last song.

  20. I love the thought of you recapturing your youth with another concert, Debra. It sounds like a wonderful performance. Queen is one of those bands whose fans span the generations. DH and I like them, our children grew up with them and now one of Grandson#1’s favourite albums is “The Best of Queen.” 🙂 A good way to begin your Iindependence Day celebrations.

  21. What a fabulous way to spend your Independence Day! Queen with Adam Lambert was just here too and I hear the concert was excellent. I am glad to hear Adam didn’t try to copy Freddie. He has his own theatrical style. I was in San Diego staying on the beach with my young daughters one Independence Day holiday. I can see why you chose to stay home. We don’t go away wither for our July 1st Canada Day either. The highways are so busy so we stay close to home. There are so many events planned nearby! Happy summer!

  22. Pingback: Home on a Saturday night…babysitting a neurotic dog! | breathelighter

  23. Fabulous … simply fabulous. I learned two things here …. I had no clue Queen was touring … and thought the Forum had been turned into rubble. Thanks for the renovation link.

    1. The concert was just great, Frank. I think the members of the band were thoroughly enjoying the nostalgia themselves. 🙂 I didn’t know if anyone had even heard of the Forum, so I’m glad you were familiar. It’s such a unique building in a part of town that badly needs a little TLC. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with that!

  24. That Lambert guy can sing and is good with the audience. I can see it wasn’t a loss, but a fitting shoe filled. The building does look like a theatrical one.
    I would like to see late Jeff Buckley.

  25. dandyknife

    The only concert I ever saw was Gordon Lightfoot, but let’s see… Boston, the BeeGees, Chicago, Olivia Newton John, Abba… Ah! I know: John Denver. Rest in peace, John-boy.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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