Friday, February 4, 2022

Queen revisit Paul Rodgers collaboration on The Greatest

photo: Brad Gregory © Queen Touring Ltd.

Queen revisit their early 2000s collaboration with Paul Rodgers on the latest episode of the band’s 50th anniversary video series The Greatest.

Following Brian May and Roger Taylor’s appearance at the 2003 Nelson Mandela 46664 concert that also served as an AIDS Awareness platform, the guitarist had a chance encounter with the former Free and Bad Company vocalist on stage at a 50th anniversary Fender Stratocaster show in London in 2004 that led to a new touring union billed as Queen + Paul Rodgers.

“Even though we were proud of what we'd done, we didn't want to go out there and be Queen again without Freddie,” explains May. “And it happened almost by accident at an awards show. I played with Paul Rodgers, who was a hero of ours, and I remember coming off stage and Paul's lady said, ‘Oh, you guys seem to really have a great chemistry. All you need is a drummer’. And I went, ‘well, I think I know a drummer!’”

Queen announced a planned collaboration with Rodgers in October 2004, then appeared together when the band was inducted into the U.K. Hall of Fame the following month performing Queen's "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" that night, along with the Free classic, "All Right Now."

The group's first public performance was at a concert in George, South Africa, in March 2005, Queen’s second concert in support of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS awareness campaign and shortly after announced a world tour.

“Brian and I find that we still have the magic on stage,” explains Taylor. “So it's great to be doing this with a different singer, but the magic of Queen is absolutely still there.”

Their first tour comprised of 41 dates across Europe, the USA and Japan – seeing Queen return to famous venues such as London’s Hyde Park and the Hollywood Bowl in LA. This was followed a year later with another North American tour.

“He enjoyed playing a lot of the Queen stuff,” recalls May. “Not all of it, you know, not all of it suited him, but it was a good combination for a while. We ended up going all around the world a couple of times with Paul."

“He was his own man and he belonged in the sort of blues soul field, which there is no, no-one bette,”
Taylor adds.

As the three rockers continued to tour, they would use downtime to enter the studio to record new material, which would be released as the 2008 album, “The Cosmos Rocks.”

More touring followed before the trio decided the time was right to go their separate ways, having achieved far more than imagined at the outset.

“And again, I think Roger and I thought, ‘OK, that's it.’ You know, we've done that, and we've done this, and there is nobody out there,” explains May. “We don't want to employ someone to copy Freddie. Why would we do that? It just wouldn't make sense.”

As Queen and Rodgers went their separate ways, another singer was soon to enter May and Taylor’s orbit…

See also:

Queen revisit Nelson Mandela connection on The Greatest
Queen launch We Will Rock You musical on The Greatest
Queen revisit John Deacon’s final performance on The Greatest
Queen revisit Made In Heaven on The Greatest
Search Queen at hennemusic