Live Aid is, more often than not, viewed as the Ultimate “Battle of the Bands”
Queen certainly had their work cut out for them; the Live Aid concert on the 13th of July, 1985 was arguably the biggest concert in rock n’ roll history. Amongst the other performers were Led Zeppelin, the Who, Sting, Phil Collins, Black Sabbath and Crosby, to name a few. Their set was preceded by that of U2, and was to be immediately followed by David Bowie, the first Who performance in three years and of course, Wham! featuring special guest, Elton John.
Wembley Stadium was packed to the rafters with an audience of 72,000 people. Another 1.9 billion people around the world watched, in what was one of the largest television broadcasts of all time. It didn’t seem likely that Queen would stand out amongst all the excitement. But then, something incredible happened.
Legendary lead singer and frontman Freddie Mercury took to the stage and set it aflame. He passionately pounded the keys of the piano to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and marched the length of the stage, equipped with his sawed-off mic stand as the band played “Radio Gaga”. The twenty-minute set left the audience spellbound. The band and the crowd were united as they were consumed by raw emotion. Queen walked off of that stage as Champions, outshining every other big name on the line-up list.
It was, in the words of guitarist Brian May, “the greatest day of our lives.”
Queen was all set to stage what would have been the greatest comeback tour of all time- regretfully, it would also be their final journey with the enigma that was Freddie Mercury, who had begun to lose an ongoing battle with AIDS.
The band grabbed the moment and left everybody else Biting the Dust. Freddie Mercury attained his abiding title of the greatest frontman of all time with his command over the audience. It truly was a magical day. Some of the biggest acts in recent history have acknowledged their inspiration from Queen, and their astounding performance at Live Aid will go down forever in the history books.
Watch the performance in its entirety here: