Friday, September 22, 2023

Freddie Mercury develops Queen stage show on The Greatest Live

Queen singer Freddie Mercury talks about the development of Queen’s stage show on the latest episode of the weekly series The Greatest Live.

Mercury’s flamboyant stage presence was a vital factor in Queen’s status as one of the greatest live bands in the world. In this week’s archive interview, the singer routinely crowned rock’s ultimate showman provides some fascinating insights into how entertaining visual theatrics played a vital part of any Queen show.

“People want to be entertained,” says Mercury. “How boring if we reproduce note-for-note what was on the album. People might as well just sit at home and listen to the album. It's a show, it's entertainment, and our songs take on a different meaning when we do a stage show. Visual theatrics have always been there from any kind of theatre entertainment. All the greatest acts have used it, in one way or other, like Jimi Hendrix or the Stones. It has to be there. It's a form of entertainment. It's like, you do your music and then entertainment plus. And I, sort of personally, you know, I just like doing that anyway. I'd hate to go on stage and just sit and sing my songs. I have to move. It depends on each song. If there's an aggression in some song I have to show it.”

Right from the start, Freddie pushed the visual theatrics further than any rock ’n’ roll singer before him. As he reflects, during Queen’s ascent in the early-’70s, you might find him dressed as a harlequin, fluttering amongst the dry ice in a Zandra Rhodes-designed batwing tunic or even pirouetting onto the stage as a ballerina.

“At that time, to introduce a certain kind of balletic look into rock ‘n’ roll was sort of outrageous,” he explains. “And I thought, you know, what’s a real funky rock ‘n’ roll audience going to say to this prancing ballerina coming on? I thought, Fine, I'll sing my rock ‘n’ roll songs with a tutu on – I don't care.”

As the scale of Queen’s live shows grew through the 70s and into the 80s, the need to innovate and evolve became even more important. Similarly, Freddie also felt it was vital to pay attention to every last detail.

“We're learning a lot after every show,” says the rocker, “and I personally do a lot of research after every show to find out what's going right, especially like the lights, they're very sophisticated lights and they can do so much more. I think every day I learn something, you know, ask the lighting man to do something new. We're interjecting the show with new songs. So, every time we do a new song, we have to have a new light thing. The light cues can be different, you know, forever. I mean, you can have a new show every day if you wanted to.”

Pick up your copy of Queen’s best-selling “Greatest Hits” here.

See also:

Queen revisit Radio Ga Ga on The Greatest Live
Queen play vocal games with fans on The Greatest Live
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Queen salute the fans on The Greatest Live
Search Queen at hennemusic