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Rolling Stone: Flashback - Queen Steal the Show at Live Aid

Flashback: Queen Steal the Show at Live Aid

By ANDY GREENE FEBRUARY 5, 2013 11:40 AM

Queen had a pretty tough task when they took the stage at Live Aid in July of 1985. This was arguably the biggest concert in rock history, featuring reunions of Led Zeppelin, the Who, Black Sabbath and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in addition to performances from pretty much every big name in rock. How could they possibly stand out? Freddie Mercury insisted to the press that the show wasn't any kind of competition, yet they slyly requested to go onstage at Wembley Stadium at 6:00 p.m., knowing viewership in England was likely to begin peaking around then. 

They had their work cut out for them. "Money for Nothing" was the song of the summer, and Dire Straits had just played it with Sting before wrapping up with "Sultans of Swing." Their set was preceded by U2, who absolutely destroyed the place with a two-song set that culminated with a 12-minute version of "Bad." Queen also knew they were to be immediately followed by David Bowie, the first Who performance in three years and Elton John with special guest Wham! 

Freddie Mercury: His Life in Pictures

Given 20 minutes, Mercury's band did everything possible to cram a full concert into it. They opened with an abbreviated "Bohemian Rhapsody" that went right into "Radio Ga Ga." Their newest single, "Hammer to Fall," came next, followed by "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the finale of "We Will Rock You" into "We Are the Champions." Many bands were swallowed up by the enormous Wembley stage (on loan from Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA tour), but Mercury worked it like an absolute pro.  

Their task was made easier by the simple fact that the big reunions (Zeppelin, The Who, Sabbath, CSNY) fell completely flat. Those bands were woefully under-rehearsed and, in the case of Led Zeppelin, out of tune. Queen never sounded better and many critics said they stole the show, even though U2 put up a very good fight. Buoyed by the goodwill, Queen booked a stadium tour for 1986. It was another triumph, but sadly, it was to be their final outing with Mercury. 

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13 Comments

Rolling Stone: Flashback - Queen Steal the Show at Live Aid

Elshad

http://pedsovet.su/publ/56-1-0-3744
Mariam Akhundova " Freddie Mercury Stolen Life " new book in russin language

Wioletta Skoczylas

tak niesamowity występ, dali czadu, wciąż budzi wyobraźnię i wciąż oglądam, i wciąż , i wciąż...

Leslovell

I can remember people of all ages commenting after the Live Aid event and everybody talked about Queen. it was like the country or the world had woke up. I was almost jealous that everybody else had discovered Queen.

Just on another note, Bono must be sick as a parrot, blown away by the masters and then had to slag Freddie off after the gig, sorry he showed no class at all, or was it just sour grapes.

Gavin James

''Mercury's band'', shows how much they know about Queen.

A. Murray

I hate Rolling Stone, they think Queen are cool now, they weren't always kind to the band back in the day. It's easy for Rolling Stone to remark on how great Queen were at Live Aid. We all know they were the best band that day and we don't need Rolling Stone to tell us that!

ramos nadine

Rolling stone
led zeppelin groupe que j'aime pas
j'accroche pas .
ramosnadine.artosmose.fr

Beck-Ola

"Those bands (Zeppelin, The Who, Sabbath and CSNY) were woefully under-rehearsed"

Even at their best (with as much time to rehearse as needed), none of these great artists could match Queen in a live venue as large as Wembley.

Queen had an uncanny ability to reproduce complex music and vocal arrangements in a live setting (and they larger the audience, the better).

In addition to their great musical ability, they had the greatest front man of all time at the helm. From the second they took the stage, you could see Freddie’s face smiling with delight; savoring the crowd and the pportunity for Queen to blow away every other band that took the stage for this event.

And that’s exactly what they did.

Way to go guys!

John

I felt sorry for everyone who had to come on after Queen, they where simply the best live band ever!

ellens.

Moderate praise from Rolling Stone but regardless, widely conceded Queen were the best.....& "Mercury's band"?, really?

Przemek

amazing show my dear :)

Wioletta Skoczylas

Faktycznie, raz jeszcze oglądając live aid utwierdzam się tylko w przekonaniu, że Queen skradli show i to w 100%. Dla mnie byli i są wciąż najlepsi, głos Freda najlepszy, wszyscy wspaniali i niedościgli, mogę słuchać ich bez końca, wciąż i wciąż.

Graham

@Michael Bonnelly New Job - drinking during your break?! You were pretty serious about it then?!!

I was 15 and watched the whole show on a black and white portable telly and it was magic. I was so proud to be a Queen fan that day. I also love hearing the tributes paid by fellow artists towards them on that performance especially the likes of Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Bob Geldof, Axl Rose...guys you'd imagine are pretty hard to please or impress and they are just blown away by what they have just seen.

Michael Donnelly

Simply Thee Greatest 22mins of music EVER. When I'm ever feelin down I just play The Boys at Live Aid and it always puts a smile on there. Unfortunately I had just started a new job and couldn't get off but I took half hour break between 6.30-7.00pm and sat back relaxed with a beer and watched Queen take Live Aid apart. I was lucky enough to see Queen seven times, something I will never forget. X

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