"I never thought I would be doing this again," said Brian May talking about Queen and Paul Rodgers' first tour in 2005. "I was always against the idea of putting someone in there trying to impersonate Freddie in any way. Then suddenly I'm looking at this guy who doesn't in any sense try to take the place of Freddie. He comes from his own place musically and we are able to reinterpret these songs with someone who understands us - the songs mean something new."
The collaboration between Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor and former Free and Bad Company founding member songwriter/singer Paul Rodgers was cemented in late 2004 when May, Taylor and Rodgers performed in public together for the first time in November of that year, bringing the house to its feet at the first annual UK Music Hall of Fame Awards in London. On the night when Queen was inducted into the very first UK Music Hall of Fame, they served up a blistering cocktail of anthems "We Will Rock You," "We Are The Champions" and closed the show with "All Right Now".
"There was a natural chemistry between us when we performed together that night," said Rodgers. "The idea took hold for us to do something together after that, and the momentum took on a life of its own."
Roger Taylor noted: "Paul is one of the people who have influenced many great singers out there at the moment, and Freddie was a great fan of his. I always hoped we would tour again and I'm thrilled we're doing it. After all, it's our profession. It's what we do and what we're good at."
In 2005 Queen & Paul Rodgers undertook their first tour together, playing 32 sold out dates across Europe and the UK, ending with a spectacular and enthralling concert at London Hyde Park.
The Independent in London reviewed: "All right now - even without their killer queen. There was a kind of magic in the air when Queen played their first concert since 1986...Rodgers gives good front-man...Queen remains a right royal treat."
"...a marvelous night that ranks as one of the gigs of the year," added The Guardian newspaper in the U.K.
Such was the success of the tour, Queen followed in spring 2006 with a 23-date tour of the USA and Canada and a handful of stadium dates in Japan.
The tour was followed by the release of the live concert DVD and simultaneous CD release, "Return of the Champions" which became a No.1 DVD in the UK.
Now, with their first album recorded together in the pipeline - the first new studio album to carry the Queen name since the Freddie Mercury sessions - Queen & Paul Rodgers are heading back on the road for an extensive tour which will take them to 14 countries in seven weeks and take in concerts in Northern Eurasia, Central, Southern and Eastern Europe, and the UK.. It is expected to be followed by a highly anticipated return to South America, the setting of some of Queen's most historic and record breaking tours in the early 80's.