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Brian May hopes the collaboration of Queen + Adam Lambert can “pull off something epic” when opening the Platinum Party At The Palace concert this evening.
The 74-year-old guitarist created a classic moment 20 years ago, during the 2002 Golden Jubilee celebrations, when he performed God Save The Queen on Buckingham Palace’s roof.
The event being broadcast live on the BBC to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year Jubilee will also feature Diana Ross, Alicia Keys and Nile Rodgers.
Speaking backstage, May told the PA news agency: “We’re exceedingly honoured and exceedingly happy to be here; it means a lot to us.
“We were here 20 years ago for the Golden Jubilee and it’s great to be asked back.
“And we like to bring something special every time, so we’ll see if we can pull off something epic tonight.”
May said he feels a “little bit of pressure” this time around, but said the band enjoys the challenge of creating memorable events.
Sam Ryder, who was runner-up in the recent Eurovision song contest while representing the UK, is among the star-studded line-up who will entertain a live crowd of 22,000 people and a television audience of millions.
Reflecting on the monarch’s 70 years on the throne, the 32-year-old singer told PA it is “so selfless to give your entire life to that service”.
He said: “How many of us could say that we could do that? It’s breathtaking. The way that she carries herself, it reminds us that strength can be gentle.
“I think that’s so important, to me all the time. To carry yourself in a way where you’re bringing so many people together in unity and solidarity but doing it with such a subtle kindness.”
Ashley Banjo is also performing with his dance troupe Diversity, teasing that in honour of the historic occasion they will be doing “something special” and “different” which reflects across history while also looking to the future.
He told PA describing the Queen as an “icon” would be an understatement, adding: “She’s just an extremely special person, such a unique human for the country and the world.”
Also among the line-up is George Ezra, who hailed the Queen’s reign as “admirable” and “mind-blowing”.
The singer, 28, said he feels “very flattered” to have been asked to perform, saying the event will be a career highlight, alongside playing the main stage at Glastonbury.
Broadcasters Roman Kemp and Kirsty Young will lead the BBC’s live coverage, which is being broadcast on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 2.
Reflecting on the Queen’s reign, Kemp, 29, told PA: “People don’t understand the actual service that gets put in sometimes, I think.
“Over that amount of time, the things that she’s done for the country, in terms of bringing awareness to certain causes, bringing awareness to things that need to be shouted about and being able to back it up, whether it be finances or press or whatever, it’s been amazing.”
The concert, being held outside Buckingham Palace, also features performances from Duran Duran, Craig David, Alicia Keys and Sir Rod Stewart.
Other famous faces from the worlds of sport, stage and screen who are part of the event include Sir David Attenborough, tennis star Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Dame Julie Andrews, with the evening also featuring a specially recorded performance from Sir Elton John.
The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge will also take to the stage to pay tribute to the Queen.