In an age where large-scale music festivals seem to take place every weekend, iHeartRadio, the annual gathering of superstars from all genres in Las Vegas, manages to stand out by packing a wildly diverse roster of acts onto one stage. True to form, iHeartRadio opened its first night this year with Katy Perry and J Cole sharing the same stage as Tiesto and Keith Urban.
“I can’t think of any event other than Live Aid that has a lineup like this, in terms of such an eclectic mix,” Muse’s Matt Bellamy told Rolling Stone backstage. “I suppose it’s really the best of every sort of genre that’s out there, as well as these amazing historic acts.” Those historic acts this year included Elton John and Queen, who were fronted by Adam Lambert and joined by Fun for a stunning collaboration on “Somebody To Love” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.”
John opened with a stellar one-two punch of “The Bitch Is Back” and “Bennie and the Jets” that got the entire arena on its feet. He also dug into his new album, The Diving Board, though the upbeat classics like “I’m Still Standing” proved the crowd favorites.
Katy Perry also generated an audience frenzy with familiar radio hits like “Teenage Daydream” and “I Kissed A Girl,” closing to an equal level of fervor with her current single, “Roar.”
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Following Perry came the most anticipated act of the night: Queen with Lambert. Before their set, Queen’s Taylor and Brian May spoke to Rolling Stone about why Lambert is such a great fit for their music.
“He does bring his own approach and he has this amazing range, a gymnastic, beautiful tone and he really fits our material so well,” Taylor said of Lambert. “He has all the elements – he has the passion, he has the humor, a little bit of camp. And when the shots are down, he has the power. It’s incredible,” May added.
Lambert astounded the audience on songs like “We Will Rock You” and the closing “We Are The Champions” and “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” He frequently worked in unison with May, the two sharing the front of the stage as the guitarist reminded everyone of his considerable prowess by bringing his parts in “Bohemian Rhapsody” to life.
Fun’s Nate Ruess took over vocals on “Somebody To Love.” He then brought Lambert back out (praising him as “one of the best singers I know”) for the supergroup combo on the rollicking “Fat Bottomed Girls.” The night ended appropriately with a triumphant “We Are The Champions.”