Imagine being there in the crowd when Freddie said; “I think most of you know this is the last stop on our tour. You know that don’t you? And such a beautiful way to end it. I mean look at the lot of you.” Nobody knew at the time that it really was the end. Queen would never play a major show again with the original line-up. What makes it even more powerful is seeing how playful and joyful Freddie was backstage, just being himself in his small ready room.
Live Aid in 1985 may remain the most iconic moment in Queen’s long and glorious history, although they had already played to much larger live crowds earlier that year at Rock in Rio, Brazil.
One of their biggest ever shows, however, was back at home on August 9 the following year. It was the closing night of the Magic Tour. The outdoor concert at Knebworth had an official capacity of 120,000 but some estimates put the crowd at up to 200,000.
The video shows the band boarding a helicopter emblazoned with the artwork and words for the album A Kind Of Magic from a helipad on the banks of the Thames in Central London. They fly over the enormous crowds at Knebworth and Freddie walked to their dressing rooms he joked that it wasn’t bad for “a slightly small gig.”
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Incredible intimate footage of the singer in his private area shows him doing physical and vocal warm-ups with just five or ten minutes to go until they hit the stage.
His phenomenal energy and irrepressible spirits are on full display as he stretches and crouches and then starts showing off that fabulous voice.
It’s just a little spine-tingling when another voice can be heard singing back and then Roger Taylor wanders in. The two have a vocal duel and then collapse in grins and giggles.
And then it’s time to walk to the stage. Freddie can’t stop bouncing up and down, all that energy searching for a way to release.
Watching it is both wonderful and terrible, the confirmation of a unique entertainer and the reminder of what has been lost.
His unique bond with the fans shone through when he paid tribute to them one last time on that stage: “I might also add that this has been the best European tour for us, thanks to all you f***ers out there.”