I was a night when legends walked the stage...and soared above it.
April 20, 1992, about a year after the passing of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury due to AIDS, the surviving members of the band, along with many friends, put on a spectacular tribute to one of the most flamboyant vocalists in the history of rock. Performed in front of over 70,000 people at Wembley Stadium, this concert was also broadcast on television and later released on VHS. This new Blu-ray release from Eagle Rock contains the majority of what was seen on TV and included on the VHS release, with a few exceptions, such as Robert Plant singing "Innuendo" and a few songs from Def Leppard, Spinal Tap, & Extreme. Otherwise the bulk of it is here.
Having watched the original TV broadcast, this was the first time I have seen this concert in 21 years, and my emotional reaction was very similar today as it was all those years ago. Many of us Queen fans were still mourning the loss of Freddie, so when this concert aired it was a very special night, and those same feelings came to the surface again viewing in on Blu-ray over two decades later. The star power that graced the stage that evening was simply mind boggling, and the show produced some superb performances. I'm not going to go into all of them, but the standouts have to be the medley of Queen classics by Extreme, who were quite hot at the time and really did a fantastic job. Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi saddled up next to his pal Brian May while The Who's Roger Daltrey belted out "I Want it All", while May joined Def Leppard for a spirited rendition of "Now I'm Here". George Michael delivers a stunning "Somebody to Love" with the rest of Queen behind him, but for me it's the heart wrenching "Under Pressure", complete with a sensational duet between David Bowie and Annie Lennox that steals the show. If it doesn't bring a tear to your eye, well, maybe you're just not a fan. Other highlights include Metallica's James Hetfield grinning like a school kid singing "Stone Cold Crazy" in front of his heroes May & Iommi, an emotional Elton John doing "Show Must Go On" justice, and Seal fronting the band on a poignant take of "Who Wants to Live Forever".
Of course, there are plenty of oddities included too, like Elizabeth Taylor's rambling speech about HIV, Bowie's odd choice to kneel down and say the 'Our Father' prayer, Axel Rose running around the stage like a man possessed during the closing of "Bohemian Rhapsody", and the appearance of the members of the Scorpions as well as Billy Squier during the finale of "We Are the Champions", who otherwise never showed up in any of the broadcasts, though perhaps did perform that day. The quality of the concert is decent from both a video & audio standpoint, and there are some rehearsal footage cuts included as well as a 10th Anniversary documentary. It would have been nice to get some recent feedback from the band or guest musicians now that it's been over 20 years since the concert, but that aside this is a wonderful document of a very special night in the history of rock music.
Oh, and all net proceeds from the sale of this release will be paid to the Mercury Phoenix Trust-Fighting AIDS Worldwide.
2) Brian May / Roger Taylor / John Deacon Introduction
3) Metallica – Enter Sandman
4) Metallica – Sad But True
5) Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
6) Freddie Montage (Insert)
7) Extreme – Queen Medley including: Mustapha / Bohemian Rhapsody / Keep Yourself Alive / I Want To Break Free / Fat Bottomed Girls / Bicycle Race / Another One Bites The Dust / Stone Cold Crazy / Radio Ga Ga
8) Freddie Montage (Insert)
9) Def Leppard & Brian May – Now I'm Here
10) Queen – I'm Going Slightly Mad video (Insert)
11) Bob Geldof – Too Late God
12) Guns 'n' Roses – Paradise City
13) Guns 'n' Roses – Knocking On Heavens Door
14) Elizabeth Taylor Speech
QUEEN + SET
1) Joe Elliott, Slash & Queen – Tie Your Mother Down
2) Roger Daltrey, Tony Iommi & Queen – I Want It All
3) Zucchero & Queen – Las Palabras De Amor
4) Gary Cherone, Tony Iommi & Queen – Hammer To Fall
5) James Hetfield, Tony Iommi & Queen – Stone Cold Crazy
6) Robert Plant & Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
7) Brian May – Too Much Love Will Kill You
8) Paul Young & Queen – Radio Ga Ga
9) Seal & Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever
10) Lisa Stansfield & Queen – I Want To Break Free
11) David Bowie, Annie Lennox & Queen – Under Pressure
12) Ian Hunter, David Bowie, Mick Ronson & Queen – All The Young Dudes
13) David Bowie, Mick Ronson & Queen – Heroes
14) George Michael & Queen –'39
15) George Michael, Lisa Stansfield & Queen – These Are The Days Of Our Lives
16) George Michael, London Gospel Choir & Queen – Somebody To Love
17) Elton John, Axl Rose & Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
18) Elton John, Tony Iommi & Queen – The Show Must Go On
19) Axl Rose & Queen – We Will Rock You
20) Liza Minnelli & Ensemble – We Are The Champions
1) Rehearsal performances of Queen:
David Bowie and Annie Lennox 'Under Pressure'
George Michael and Lisa Stansfield 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives
George Michael 'Somebody To Love'
2) 10th Anniversary Documentary
3) Photo Galleries
4) Mercury Phoenix Trust Facts