Went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last weekend. Phenomenal piece of rock history and wonderfully built up to the finale of Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985. What always stuck in my mind was how Bob Geldof was concerned that Queen would not exactly be able to wow Live Aid, which by his estimation was more of a Boomtown Rats or U2-type crowd. It is something that does not come out in the movie that much where the focus is more on Queen’s demise in 1985 and the question if Freddie Mercury could pull of a live performance. He could and he did and wrote history, it was voted as one of the best live rock performances ever and you can watch the original here. I do it regularly, it is 24 minutes well spent.
Of course, there is always a personal memory and Queen grew on me after this performance. I never forget the devastation when Mercury announced he was suffering from AIDS in late November 1991, followed by the news of his death only about a day later. What I did not know was that he lived and died at Logan Place, which was less than a block a way from where I lived at the time on Lexham Gardens in London’s Kensington neighbourhood. It felt weird knowing he was that close to where I was when he passed away.
The summer after Wembley hosted ‘The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness’ which similar to Live Aid saw a phenomenal line-up of artists perform classic Queen songs (with Queen) to a huge crowd. Lisa Stansfield’s rendition of “I want to break free” is one for the books.