Queen‘s Brian May and Roger Taylor delivered a star-studded, five-song performance at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum on Tuesday night for the second of two tribute concerts dedicated to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
The English rockers, bolstered for the duration of their set by Foo Fighters, delivered the same hit-filled set they played at London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this month for the first Hawkins tribute show but with a different variety of guest performers. They opened the set with a triumphant rendition of “We Will Rock You,” featuring the Darkness‘ Justin Hawkins on vocals instead of the Struts‘ Luke Spiller.
From there, Taylor assumed vocal duties for “I’m in Love With My Car,” handing the drumsticks off to his son, Rufus Taylor. Taylor stayed up front for Queen’s third song, “Under Pressure,” which he performed as a duet with Hawkins.
The band shook things up again on its fourth tune, “Somebody to Love” — which Foo Fighters regularly performed with Taylor Hawkins on vocals — welcoming pop star Pink to the stage. (TikTok star and Eurovision Song Contest 2022 contestant Sam Ryder occupied the guest spot at Wembley.) The power-packed set ended on a poignant note with May delivering an acoustic rendition of “Love of My Life.”
May told the audience he hadn’t planned on performing “Love of My Life” until “I got a message from [Taylor’s wife] Allison Hawkins. She said, ‘Brian, I want you to do this song, and I want everybody to do this song, for me. I want you to do it for me and Taylor because it was our song. It was played at our wedding. … Get everybody to sing it as my gift to the love of my life.'”
Watch Queen Perform at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in Los Angeles
It was another appropriately spectacular tribute from a band that played a pivotal role in a young Hawkins’ life. The late drummer was a noted Queen devotee, gushing to Kerrang! in 2021 about seeing the band perform at the newly constructed Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif., in 1982. “After that concert, I don’t think I slept for three days,” he recalled. “It changed everything, and I was never the same because of it. It was the beginning of my obsession with rock ‘n’ roll, and I knew that I wanted to be in a huge rock band after seeing Queen. I was just starting to get into the drums, and Roger Taylor became my hero. I remember telling my mom that I’d play there one day.”
May told SiriusXM earlier this year that he and Hawkins “instantly bonded” when they first met during Hawkins’ pre-Foo Fighters stint as Alanis Morissette’s drummer. “Taylor has been the best publicist for Queen ever,” the guitarist said (via People). “He’s been so good for our image because he kind of regarded us as cool, whereas a lot of people at that time didn’t.”
“Taylor was very close to us, and he’s been in my studio a few times and in my life, I talked to him often,” May continued. “I talked to him just a week ago from when we lost him, talking about stuff, talking about Dave [Grohl], talking about what it’s like and Taylor’s joys and frustrations and whatever. … Taylor was like family to us, he really was.”
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We’re not crying. You’re crying.