Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert April 1992
It was on this day, April 20 1992, that the world’s best musicians assembled at Wembley stadium for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, to pay tribute to Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, and at the same time raise awareness about HIV and AIDS through the newly formed Mercury Phoenix Trust.
Freddie Mercury died on Sunday 24th November 1991, only 24 hours after publicly admitting that he was living with HIV/AIDS. After Freddie died, the remaining members of Queen along with with their manager Jim (Miami) Beach to organise a tribute concert to celebrate the life, legacy and music of Freddie Mercury, Less than 5 months after his passing, the music world along with 72,000 fans filled Wembley to pay tribute to the lover of life, singer of songs, one Freddie Mercury. The Easter Monday event was broadcast live on BBC2 television and was also simulcast on radio to 76 countries around the world, reaching an estimated total audience of up to one billion. (Just imagine what that would have been like today with global streaming etc)
Artists such as George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, Seal, Guns ‘n’ Roses,Paul Young, Metallica and many others joined the remaining members of Queen to perform a huge selection the Queen hits. The band’s collaboration with George Michael with his performance of Someone to Love became a chart topping hit via the Queen Five Live EP. At that stage many people actually thought that George Michael would be the new lead singer of Queen, he was that good.
The show started with Brian, John and Roger on stage together. Brian May opened and said “Good evening Wembley and the world. We are here tonight to celebrate the life, and work, and dreams, of one Freddie Mercury. We’re gonna give him the biggest send off in history!” … and they did just that.
Great Performances at the Freddie Mercury Tribute
There were fantastic performances from Extreme and powerful renditions from Metallica who did Stone Cold Crazy. The show was also remembered for a very interesting duet with Guns ‘n’ Roses lead singer and Elton John and performed Bohemian Rhapsody.
Other great Highlights of the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert included Annie Lennox and David Bowie performing a wonderful rendition of Under Pressure (along with Annie Lennox’s fantastic makeup), Lisa Stansfield performing I want to Break Free (hoover in-tow) and Extreme who did a Queen Medley.
This was also the last full concert for Queen’s bassist John Deacon who stepped away from performing after this show.
One thing which was obvious was that many of the stars had to transpose the songs down, because they couldn’t reach the high notes of the songs … one performer said “I just couldn’t do a Freddie !”
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert will live long in the memory of those who were either lucky enough to be at it, or who atcually saw it live on TV. A fitting tribute to a frontman, singer, song-writer, musician and lover of life.
What’s your facourite Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert memory … leave a comment below…