“Queen The Greatest Live” The Greatest series returns with a year-long celebration of Queen Live.
A 50-week YouTube series going behind the scenes to reveal what goes into creating a Queen show, featuring moments from iconic performances and demonstrating why the band is regarded as the ultimate live act.
Queen The Greatest Live: Under Pressure (Episode 16)
A compilation of four performances of Under Pressure from some of Queen's most spectacular concerts throughout the ’80s. It was a decade that saw Queen at the peak of their powers, and as this episode demonstrates, the sound and vision of their live act continued to astound audiences around the world.
Creatively and commercially, Queen spent the ’80s on the top of the world. Throughout that imperious decade, the band’s fearless studio work flowed into their most ambitious live shows, as the lineup embraced the stadium league with production that pushed the limits of sound, lighting, visual effects and stagewear.
In this latest episode of Queen The Greatest Live, we revisit four vintage performances of Under Pressure, the fan-favourite single that rose to UK#1 in October 1981 and proved a live highlight in this period. Led by John Deacon’s instant-classic two-note bassline, and featuring dovetailing vocals by Freddie Mercury and a guesting David Bowie, the song had been recorded during a marathon wine-fuelled 24-hour session at Montreux’s Mountain Studios.
“You already had four precocious boys, and David, who was precocious enough for all of us,” recalled Brian May in Mojo. “Passions ran very high. I found it very hard because I got so little of my own way. But David had a real vision and he took over the song lyrically.”
On the stage, however, Queen claimed Under Pressure as their own, right down to the head-turning stagewear that gave the song an added dimension. The first performance in the compilation sees Freddie take command of the Milton Keynes Bowl on June 5th, 1982 of the band’s Hot Space tour (a show later released as Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl). Fast-forward to May 1985 and we find the lineup rocking Japan as part of a six-date visit by an increasingly global band. Almost as far-flung is Queen’s historic Hungary show at Budapest’s Nepstadion on July 27th, 1986, offering a rare release to the 80,000-strong crowd in a nation still held in the grip of Communist strongman György Lázár.
The final section sees Queen return to their home turf of Wembley Stadium, where on July 11th and 12th, 1986, Freddie rose to the occasion in his iconic Diana Moseley-designed military-style yellow cropped jacket – for what would prove to be his last-ever performances in the capital.
Photo © Queen Productions Ltd