Friday, November 5, 2021

Queen share part 2 of look back at historic 1986 Magic Tour

Photo: Denis O'Regan / Copyright Queen Productions Ltd.

Queen are sharing part 2 of a look back at their legendary 1986 Magic Tour on the latest episode of their 50th anniversary video series The Greatest.

As the tour reaches its climax, and within just a few short weeks of each other, Queen play three of their most memorable and iconic gigs.

Having already blazed a trail with 14 sold-out shows around the UK and Europe setting milestones along the way, Queen returned to London in July 1986 to play two nights at London’s 72,000 capacity Wembley Stadium – the site of their extraordinary and historic performance at Live Aid the previous year.

These memorable nights were captured on camera and remain one of Queen’s best-loved live shows to this very day.

“I think Wembley was a tough gig, because of the actual physical size of it,” said Roger Taylor. “You’d better go down well there, you don’t want a quiet audience. I’ve seen people die there, because you won’t hear them. If it’s a ripple, a ripple really won’t register. So you need a roar. They call it the Wembley Roar. And it was OK for us. You knew you were going to have to work quite hard at Wembley.”

As Queen hit the road once again, they would get set to perform for the first time in Hungary.

“I like doing places that we’ve never done before, to see how they’re going to react,” explained Freddie Mercury. “Some places that we’ve already been before, we have a certain idea of how, what they’re going to do. But this is going to be great. It’s going to be great to see if they do the same things, if they have seen the films and whether they’re going to do the same things for 'Radio Ga Ga' and things like that. That should be very interesting, a good challenge.”

Making history as the first artists to ever perform anywhere behind the Iron Curtain, the band’s July 27 show would be played to an audience of over 80,000. Filmed using nearly every available 35m television camera available in the country, the concert would go on to further make history by being broadcast at the end of the year across the Communist Bloc including Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Yugoslavia as well as being shown in 59 Hungarian cinemas on New Year’s Day 1987.

Drawing to a close with only dates still to be played in France and Spain, the overwhelming demand back in the UK prompted promoters to hastily add one last massive show to the schedule – at the famous Knebworth Park, where the band would end their tour performing an open air show before an audience variously estimated at between 160,000 and 200,000. Since the start of the tour, June 7, Queen would end up playing to a fraction over one million people.

“We always believed that we had something special and that we could do anything that anyone else did,” added Brian May. “That’s the kind of thing, that’s the kind of belief that kept us going in the early days. But I don’t think we quite believed what would happen. I don’t think we even knew what was possible.”

“I think that in some form or another the music will always continue now, I think they’ve reached that status that their music will be remembered,” stated manager Jim Beach. “How much longer they record…goodness only knows. Nobody knows whether Mick Jagger will be singing when he’s 65, or Queen will be performing as Queen. I think that the Queen structure will continue on, and they will continue to make music. How it will be…nobody ever knows that, really.”

Signing off at the close of the band’s August 9, 1986, Knebworth concert, Freddie thanked the crowd saying: “Thank you lovely people, you’ve been a wonderful audience. God bless you. God bless you, goodnight, thank you.”

No one knew this yet, but this was to be Queen’s last-ever public performance with Freddie.

See also:

Queen prepare for 1986 Magic Tour on 50th anniversary series
Queen revisit the Highlander soundtrack on The Greatest
Queen to re-release vinyl box set The Studio Collection
Queen team up for 1985 hit One Vision on The Greatest
Search Queen at hennemusic