Friday, January 27, 2023

Queen revisit Live Aid rehearsals on The Greatest

photo: Neal Preston

Queen revisit rehearsals for their iconic performance at Live Aid on the latest episode of their weekly series The Greatest.

On July 13, 1985, many of the world’s biggest music stars came together in London and Philadelphia to stage a global charity concert – organized by Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof and Ultravox frontman Midge Ure – to raise awareness and money for a devastating famine in Ethiopia.

In front of a worldwide audience of 1.9 billion people, Queen delivered what has since been widely regarded as the greatest live gig of all time – in just 20 minutes.

As the band believes preparation is the key to their live shows, it turned out that Queen was one of the only acts to put serious time into rehearsing to get the maximum out of the short set time, and they allowed cameras to capture a quick glimpse of those historic rehearsals in progress.

Cutting between rarely seen rehearsal footage and the band’s live performances of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Hammer To Fall” and “Radio Ga Ga”, the episode presents in close-up the casually clad band members warming up for the event, which was praised by all - despite guitarist Brian May recently telling Total Guitar magazine he initially left the stage nervous that the set was one of the band’s weaker performances.

“We didn’t go there to [steal the show]. We went there to do our bit,” explains May. “I didn’t think when we came off that it was our best performance or anything like that.”

May credits Freddie Mercury’s confidence during the performance as the reason why Queen were seen as having ‘stolen the show’.

“The adrenaline that was flowing in Freddie was pretty magnificent,” says Brian. “Freddie, when you watch him now, he looks so full of confidence. And he is … He knows that he can get the audience on his side, in spite of the fact that nobody had bought tickets to see us. We weren’t on the bill when people bought all those tickets. So that was a step into the unknown. But I don’t think Freddie ever had any doubts.”

"From the word go, he (Freddie) came out of the traps like a champion,”
adds Roger Taylor. “I remember looking up and seeing the whole place going completely bonkers in unison and thinking 'Oh, this is going well'."

See also:

Queen launch second season of weekly video series The Greatest
Queen guitarist Brian May knighted by King Charles III
Queen smash Bohemian Rhapsody tops 2 billion Spotify streams
Queen stream The Miracle Collector’s Edition box set
Search Queen at hennemusic