At The O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 2, 2021

Roger Taylor (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 2, 2021)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Having three lead vocalists in a band opened up a whole world of creativity for Queen allowing them to venture into genres no other band could enter. Whether it was the Baroque, operatic vocals of front man Freddie Mercury; the smoother, melodic tones of guitarist, Brian May or the husky, powerful voice of drummer Roger Taylor, their opportunities to innovate were endless.

Tonight was the opening night of Roger Taylor’s biggest solo UK tour in over two decades and with a new album, Outsider, nestling in the Top 3, this was one unmissable show.

Dressed in a smart black suit and shades, Taylor cut a dashing figure, looking much younger and fitter than his 72 years would suggest.

Opening with the title track from his 1984 solo release Strange Frontier, it was immediately clear what a strong voice Taylor still possessed compared to many of his peers with his trademark gritty rasp sounding every bit as potent as back in his Queen heyday.

Dipping deep into the Queen catalogue “Tenement Funster”, from the Sheer Heart Attack album received a very warm welcome but the plaintive “We’re All Just Going To Get By” from his current album, with its heartfelt melody and poignant lyric, stood proudly alongside the Queen material.

Of course, a generous helping of Queen was served up including “Under Pressure”, a beautiful “These Are The Days Of Our Lives” and “A Kind Of Magic” and the crowd responded accordingly.

This wasn’t all about Queen though as Taylor took us through his impressive solo catalogue. “Gangsters Are Running This World” an ode to a troubled world and “Surrender”, a song about domestic violence where Taylor duetted with keyboardist/violinist Tina Keys, showed a more serious side to Taylor while “A Nation Of Haircuts” was altogether more tongue in cheek and “Man On Fire’s” driving Rock hit home with confidence.

With an impressive band featuring long time Queen keyboardist, Spike Edney and Christian Mendoza on guitar with bassist Neil Fairclough with all contributing to the stunning, layered, harmony vocals, this was a band who could do more than justice to Taylor’s legacy past and present.

As Taylor only occasionally took his traditional seat behind the drums, it was left to Tyler Warren to lay down the groove and at one point take the lead vocals on Queen’s ‘(Rock It) Prime Jive’ from The Game album to give Taylor a brief breather before returning for a sublime “Say It’s Not True” and his ode to his beloved motor vehicle, “I’m In Love With My Car”.

The hulking riff and punchy Rock of “More Kicks”, featuring some fine interplay between Edney on Hammond organ and Honky Tonk piano and Keys on violin, preceded a fun drum duel between Taylor and Warren before “Radio Ga Ga” caused a spontaneous raising and clapping of every single pair of hands in the hall.

Neat covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Heroes” by David Bowie rounded off a 2 hour show in party style showing that Taylor is more than just the drummer in Queen and can stand as an artist in his own right. Quite simply brilliant.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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  1. Great review and absolutely agree with the comments. I also saw the Norwich gig and believe me…this was one awesome show! Roger actually has a great back catalogue of solo material and he cherry picked the best to add to the mighty Queen tracks and create a stunning setlist. The band were sublime, two drum kits, great harmonies and Tyler Warren a total revelation on the main drums and ‘Freddie’ vocals. Roger – you are a true legend!

  2. Echoing the review and the previous 2 comments.
    I attended Liverpool O2 Academy on the 8th.
    It was a great performance from a true great, a well rounded performer and his multi-talented band.
    Most of all, I believe they all enjoyed performing as much as we all loved taking in the show!

  3. I went to see roger taylor in Norwich last night, and he was awesome. It’s strange to see a man’s performance peak at 72 years of age. I’ve only manage to see roger taylor solo work once before (in 1999) and his personal performance last night showed how much he has raised his game. I felt Roger, really wanted to be there.

    In the news roger recently mentioned this could be his last solo tour and I think he was really taking in this experience and enjoying it…. Which really came across in his performance.

    The set list mixed old, new with a few covers versions. The band complimented the performance and showed great synergy despite not being together long.

    Great gig
    Great performance

    Thank you Roger Taylor and his band

  4. I went to watch Taylor last night at Manchester Academy. I was absolutely blown away. I was pleased to read this excellent review. I think it would be easy to have a pop at an ageing middle class millionaire rock star but at the end of the day this guy is world class.

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