Live ReviewsMusic

Weekend in Live Music: Beck, Cage the Elephant, Queen w/ Adam Lambert

Matt Schulz of Cage the Elephant (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Beck, Cage the Elephant

CMCU Ampitheatre; Aug. 23

There are plenty of acts touring this summer that pull off a number of costume changes. Leave it to Cage the Elephant singer Matt Shultz to literally pull off a number of costumes. The energetic and charismatic frontman wore multiple layers when he took the stage on Sunday night and slowly shed layer after layer throughout the band’s outstanding 75-minute performance — a hat here, a glove there, a shirt here, a pair of pants there. He slowly stripped down to very little for the band’s thunderous closer, “Teeth.” Though he had already made his way through the crowd, Shultz capped off the band’s show by running out to the lawn and crowdsurfing. When I first saw the band perform at Bonnaroo in 2009, I told everyone I knew to see them live. Ten years later, they’re still in my short list of must-see performances.

Few bands could lead into or follow such a concert. Spoon brought their A-game as one of the show’s openers along with Sunflower Bean, performing hit after hit. And the only act that could follow was Beck, who also crushed through hit after hit, performing with much more gusto than he did at the Uptown Amphitheatre a few years ago. Of course, it capped off with Cage the Elephant returning with Beck for “Night Running” during the encore. Sunday night’s show was one of those “you should have been there” concerts of the year. Hopefully, Cage the Elephant, who hadn’t played in Charlotte since 2014, will be back again soon.

All photos taken by Jeff Hahne

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”118″ display=”basic_slideshow”]Beck setlist

Up All Night
Qué Onda Güero
Mixed Bizness
Saw Lightning
Gamma Ray
Devils Haircut
Go It Alone
Lost Cause
Heart Is a Drum
The New Pollution
Dear Life


Where It’s At
Night Running
Where It’s At (Reprise)

Cage the Elephant setlist

Broken Boy
Cry Baby
Too Late to Say Goodbye
Cold Cold Cold
Ready to Let Go
Social Cues
Tokyo Smoke
Mess Around
Skin and Bones
Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
It’s Just Forever
House of Glass
Come a Little Closer
Shake Me Down
Cigarette Daydreams

Adam Lambert (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Queen with Adam Lambert

Spectrum Center; Aug. 25

Friday night’s Queen + Adam Lambert show at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center wasn’t a Queen concert. It was a tribute to Freddie Mercury featuring a couple of old bandmates — guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor — and a new singer — Adam Lambert — who honors his legacy more than trying to intimidate him. I’ve never been a huge fan of Lambert — like many critics, I feel he’s a victim of over-singing and being a bit too Broadway — but his flair fits in well when trying to fill the massive shoes of Mercury. Complete with dramatic costumes and glitter in his hair, Lambert showed why Queen has held on to him for nearly 10 years. He can do the songs justice without trying to overshine the original. Where Bohemian Rhapsody had actor Rami Malek trying to imitate Mercury, Lambert never tries. There were plenty of video tributes and hints at Mercury’s legacy over the duration of the show. While no one can replace the original, Queen’s return to the Queen City for the first time since 1980 was the right celebration of the band’s music and talents.

All photos taken by Jeff Hahne.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”119″ display=”basic_slideshow”]Queen + Adam Lambert setlist
Now I’m Here
Seven Seas of Rhye
Keep Yourself Alive
Hammer to Fall
Killer Queen
Don’t Stop Me Now
Somebody to Love
In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited
I’m in Love With My Car
Bicycle Race
Another One Bites the Dust
I Want It All
Love of My Life
Doing All Right
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Under Pressure
Dragon Attack
I Want to Break Free
You Take My Breath Away
Who Wants to Live Forever
Guitar Solo
Tie Your Mother Down
The Show Must Go On
Fat Bottomed Girls
Radio Ga Ga
Bohemian Rhapsody

We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions

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