Roger Taylor set the tone as soon as he started banging out the familiar “We Will Rock You” drumbeat behind the rising curtain. Moments later, Brian May walked to the front of the smokey stage for some of his signature shredding before Adam Lambert’s voice sang out the lyrics that everyone knew.
Best Actress nominee Glenn Close, Queen Latifah, and Lady Gaga were sufficiently rocked, meanwhile Rami Malek — who played Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the Best Picture-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody — danced along from the front row.
The trio then transitioned into a blue-lit somber tone with “We Are The Champions,” probably a not-so-subtle nod to all of the champions who made their way into the room on Hollywood’s biggest night. Appropriately, the entire orchestra section waved their arms along with the anthem.
As the performance reached its end, sparks rained down on the stage and images of Freddie filled the screen behind the band, honoring the late musician. The whole opening was history in the making as Queen and Adam Lambert became the first rock band to ever open the Academy Awards.