Queen's Roger Taylor, Brian May In Royal Reunion

Queen drummer brings his former bandmate onstage during concert in support of solo album.

WOLVERHAMTON, England -- Former Queen drummer Roger Taylor made

a promise Tuesday night that spawned a regular glam-rock revival,

featuring half of the pioneering British band playing together again

onstage.

"We've got a great show for you tonight. We've got some surprises." So

said Taylor, as he took the stage at Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall in

England that evening.

And Taylor wasn't kidding. By the end of the night, he would introduce

his old friend and bandmate Brian May, the guitarist with whom he

started the pomp-rock group more than a quarter-century ago. The

platinum-selling band built a reputation on a glamorous hard rock

combined with intricate vocal harmonies; it produced such classic albums

as A Night at the Opera.

Taylor, who used to keep the beat for the late, lamented glam-rock band

extraordinaire, Queen, is not likely to do things by half, even if his

hair shows a little gray. So, the crowd listened as his promise echoed

through the hall, flicked back their unisex-cut, shoulder-length hair

and waited patiently for whatever surprises their idol should see fit

to provide.

"I was at Queen's last-ever concert," said Dave, 45, from Wolverhampton,

who did not want to give his last name. "Of course that was nearly 20

years ago now, and back then we were so broke we could only afford one ticket."

"Yeah, so I had to wait outside," chipped in Rhiannon, his wife, also 45.

"How dedicated of me. You should be so grateful."

"I am, but you know, it was 20 years ago ..." her husband said.

So went the marital bickering of two seasoned Queen devotées, who

had come more out of respect for the pioneering glam-rock outfit than

because of their devotion to Taylor, who released his first solo album,

Fun in Space, in 1981. Taylor was performing in support of his

new album, Electric Fire. And his recent releases, including the

subdued ballads "Believe in Yourself" and "Tonight," seemed, in the

crowd's eyes at least, totally eclipsed by the feel-good rock of Queen's

greatest hits.

Queen split up in 1991, following the death of their flamboyant frontman

Freddie Mercury. They have served as inspiration for the resurgence of

glam rock in the late '90s.

Aging Queen fans may be bogged down with mortgages and offspring these

days, but the show seemed to restore their youthful enthusiasm to rock.

And roll, scream, chant or headbang. Everything else seemed insignificant

beside the thumping beat of "We Will Rock You," the classic tune that

prepped the crowd for Taylor's entrance.

It didn't take much. All hands were clapping in the air along with the

rhythm, all mouths singing along. Get ready to return to the '70s was

the message.

As a member of Queen, Taylor penned such classics as "A Kind of Magic"

and "Radio Ga Ga"

(RealAudio excerpt) -- both of which he managed to fit into the evening's

setlist. But he left his usual spot at the drum kit, and took center

stage to sing and tap the tambourine, returning to the drums only to

duel with his backing drummer. In the spotlight, his every gesture and

eye movement incited huge cheers from the crowd.

But the real screams came when Taylor unveiled his surprise, on the

second encore of the night. "Ladies and gentlemen, joining us tonight is

Sir Brian May!"

Silhouetted against white light and smoke, May, Queen's lead guitarist

and the force behind much of their heavy-rock sound, strutted onstage to

thunderous applause and foot-stamping, his distinctive hair and profile

unchanged since the band's heyday.

Through the maze of waving hands, he grabbed a guitar, played a few

chords to warm up and then launched with Taylor into a stomping rendition

of Slade's "Rock and Roll Bolero."

They followed that with "Under Pressure"

(RealAudio excerpt), Queen's U.K. #1 hit with David

Bowie in 1981, which Taylor helped write. Even the supporting act took

to the stage to rock along, singing Freddie Mercury's lead vocal line.

This was one concert nobody wanted to walk away from. The room was filled

with the nostalgia of such tracks as "These are the Days," and amazement

at the appearance of May. The audience was hooked on the spectacle of

seeing onstage, together, half the band that had been Queen.

But when the last strains of "Radio Ga Ga" died away, and the band left

the stage for the third time that night, Taylor slipped forward to the

mic and said: "Thanks for coming. Let's do this again."

It's not likely these fans will decline the invitation.