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With rock legends Queen in the midst of yet another sold-out world tour, guitarist Brian May recalls life on the road down the ages, tells SIMON BRADLEY how the experience has changed and reveals that modern technology has improved his tone……

The touring life of Queen dates all the way back to a gig at Truro Town Hall on 27 June 1970 – one, so the story goes, that was arranged by drummer Roger Taylor’s mum – and monumental success soon followed. As they increased in size over the ensuing years, so did the venues they would play. For example on 20 March 1981 a staggering 131,000 rabid fans came to see them at the Morumbi Stadium in São Paolo, and the classic line-up’s last show, the now revered Knebworth Park extravaganza that took place on 9 August 1986, was witnessed by an estimated throng of 160,000.

An obvious, and some would say insurmountable, obstacle to the continued momentum of this touring juggernaut was the passing of the incomparable Freddie Mercury in 1991 and whether the band should have been laid to rest alongside that most wonderful of singers remains a hot-button online topic. However, now comprising just Taylor and guitarist Brian May after the retirement of bassist John Deacon, Queen undertook three subsequent tours with Free vocalist Paul Rodgers before joining forces with a vocalist far closer to the Mercury mould, Adam Lambert.

“I often think that Freddie would both love him and hate him!” asserts the everfriendly May. “Adam’s a great showman and he can hit those top notes without losing any quality or power. The things he pushes himself into are just breathtaking – he’s amazing, I have to say.”

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About Guitar Magazine

The polls are closed, the votes have been counted and in the new issue of The Guitar Magazine we reveal the winners of 2017’s Gear Of The Year awards, as chosen by you! But we’re not going to spoil the surprise just yet – to find out which products have won you’ll have to pick up a copy of this special collector’s edition and rip open the bag! Inside you’ll also find a stellar set of artist interviews as we catch up with Queen legend Brian May, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and indie darlings The National. We also put an incredible Eric Clapton-spec ES-335 under the microscope in Vintage Bench Test, bust a few myths about guitar cables, review new gear from the likes of Marshall, Fender and Lowden and whole lot more besides. Get your special collector’s edition of the January 2017 issue of The Guitar Magazine now!