June 20, 2017. I noticed a post in a Queen forum about a new event called “Innuendo - Back to the Tapes”. Not a lot of information is offered at this point, only that a masterclass with the original engineers for the session would be done, it seems interesting…
I think about it for a minute, but realise it is really close to my third child’s due date. Would love to go, but unfortunately, can’t make it. Besides, I live in Argentina, that would be really crazy.
Fast forward to September 19th, 2017. I get an email from Queenonline with details of the day and tracks that will be played…Now I can’t resist it any longer, I HAVE TO go! But what about the baby? Negotiations and discussions with my wife about possible outcomes take place, and statistics are calculated as to chances of the baby being born on the exact dates that I would be away, so if I actually travel, I have to limit the dates to the minimum. Things are getting tense and time is not on my side. So on Monday 24th I can’t hold it any longer and buy the air tickets and event attendance ticket, with the papal blessing of my beautiful wife, on the only condition that I bring some clothes and toys for my children. Sounds reasonable to me! Deal.
Arrival to London is on Friday the 29th, and I get straight out of the plane to get the gifts so I avoid a death sentence on my return. Having slept only 2 hours in the last two days, of course, I can’t sleep much that night anyway…This is it, Saturday is the big day!
I get to Metropolis 1:30 pm, and right behind me comes another fan from Denmark, and then some more from the UK, and then another one from France, and from Italy, and from Mexico…. There’s a lot of crazy Queen fans out there!!! In the end, we were 46 people totally devoted to Queen and their music. All waiting to see and hear what they had prepared for us.
3 pm the doors open and we are received with a special bottle of Moet champagne with a Freddie logo on it. Nice detail. Lots of conversations between fans, and what we can expect today. At 3:45 pm the head of Metropolis Studios introduces the event and explains there will be no phones or cameras allowed into the studio room. Understood. We all hand in our phones and cameras at the door.
Once inside Studio A (we all recognise this place, right?), the host Matt Everitt introduces Justin and Noel, to a deafening applause. They both talk about their work with Queen and how they met them for the first time. You can tell they both have an incredible respect for the band and lots of vivid recollections. Fans can´t resist and questions start to arise, but then someone points out that it would be great to listen to some music! What do YOU think?
Now, this is where my jaw started to drop… we were first treated to a set of different takes of Innuendo, how the song started off as a jam session, how they got the structure together, some studio banter, incredible creative moments…. The creation of a masterpiece, step by step. By this time almost 2 hours had gone by and we just had only listened to ONE song!!!!
So, The Show Must Go On, Days Of Our Lives and Slightly Mad had to be slightly pushed to get to a reasonable 8 pm time end for the event. Versions with Brian and Roger singing different arrangements of the songs and much more was played. I won’t go into much detail here since the forum is already full of people giving their recollections and that is the best place for a detailed summary and debate, so please go there to know more.
Once out of the studio, some drinks are exchanged at the Mercury bar, and some of us get our pictures taken at the bookshelves where the Headlong video was shot!
In the meantime, Justin and Noel reply to fans questions as best as they can, Greg Brooks (Queen Archivist) is there too to offer comments about this event and the forthcoming Queen releases, which was also great.
My God… hasn’t this been an amazing day?!?! At 11:30 pm I return to my hotel, totally exhausted but with a HUGE smile on my face. Things are still fresh in my memory about the music, track sheets, digital box tapes, the memorabilia, the friendliness, everything!
My special thanks go out to Emma from QPL and The MPT who thought about this event and saw it through. Time is always an enemy in this kind of situations, but we got a lot out of it.
On Monday I travel back home to my lovely wife and children, and yes the baby is still in there…I am safe. Phew…
I am so glad that I made the trip. I will certainly have to work extra hours now, and probably take a second job for a while… but was it worth it? OF COURSE, IT WAS!!!
(Photo: Emma Donoghue)