There are some valid reasons not to embrace Queen in the 21st century.
But if fans are ever going to accept the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act without the dearly departed vocalist Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 from an AIDS-related illness, then there's really no time like the present. It probably won't get any better for the band than the current Queen + Adam Lambert configuration.
The former "American Idol" runner-up, who lost to the far less intriguing Kris Allen during the TV show's eighth season in 2009, is a good fit to lead Queen in concert. Lambert's obviously no Mercury -- and he doesn't pretend to be -- but he's a lot closer to the mark than Paul Rodgers, the former Bad Company vocalist who worked with Queen from 2004 to 2009.
Apparently, the public agrees.
The Queen + Adam Lambert tour is one of big hits of the summer. The trek's local stop Tuesday night in San Jose reportedly sold out in just one day.
The 12,000 fans who filled SAP Center seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, grinning widely, applauding enthusiastically and singing with gusto through much of the roughly 2 ½-hour show.
The 24-song set list was performed by two of Queen's original members -- guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor -- with Lambert handling lead vocals and two (sometimes three) other musicians fleshing out the sound.
Did it ever seem like I was watching anything more than a Queen cover band? Maybe in a few spots -- such as when May burned through that famed guitar spot at the end of "We Will Rock You." Mostly, however, the answer was no.
That leads into the whole argument of whether Queen is still Queen without Mercury. Similar debates rage around other acts that have soldiered on without their most famous members.
All that aside, though, the fact is that Queen -- which is also missing longtime bassist John Deacon, who left the fold in 1997 -- is still rocking in 2014.
The group opened the show with a strong statement -- "Now I'm Here" -- and then quickly followed with a solid take on "Stone Cold Crazy." After that double-shot from 1974's "Sheer Heart Attack," the troupe posted mixed results on the 1980 hit "Another One Bites the Dust," with Lambert struggling and the rest of the band rocking.
Lambert handled most of the more operatic moments just fine, especially the high notes. Yet he wasn't able to go the other direction -- and get down and dirty -- nearly as convincingly. He lacks Mercury's supreme swagger, which helped drive such cuts as "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."
Yet Lambert certainly got more things right than wrong. He wisely opted not try to copy Mercury but rather to put his own shiny pop brand on the lyrics. The result often sounded like we were listening to Muse, a group that has drawn Queen comparisons for much of its career.
The staging was simple, but effective, with a large video screen in back conveying the action to those in the rafters and a catwalk running about a third of the way across the arena floor to a small second stage. The swirling, colorful light show was the most important part of the presentation.
The group would utilize that second stage, located in the midst of the crowd, on several occasions. May sat there on a stool, playing guitar and sharing vocals with the crowd on "Love of My Life" (from 1975's "A Night at the Opera"), which included a video segment of Mercury singing as well. That was also the setting for a decent drum solo by Taylor, which led directly into a stellar version of "Under Pressure," Queen's collaboration with David Bowie that was eventually released on 1982's "Hot Space." Taylor handled Bowie's lines, while Lambert sang Mercury's part.
Lambert and Queen brought the main set to a close in fine fashion with the fan favorite "Bohemian Rhapsody" and then returned for the expected encore of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions."