Brian May Shares Queen Rehearsing For Live Aid
via Brian May / Instagram
Live Aid, the iconic benefit concert that took place on July 13, 1985, remains etched in the annals of music history as one of the most extraordinary events ever held. Queen’s electrifying performance that day has become legendary, leaving an indelible mark on the world. Now, guitarist Brian May has delighted fans by sharing rare rehearsal footage of Queen preparing for their momentous Live Aid set. This footage offers a unique glimpse into the band’s candid thoughts and excitement as they prepared to take the stage for a cause they deeply believed in.
An Unexpected Invitation
In the newly unveiled footage, Brian May reveals the intriguing backstory of how Queen became part of the Live Aid concert. It all began when Bob Geldof approached the band at the 1985 BPI Awards, asking if they would be interested in participating in the event. Geldof and his Band-Aid/Live Aid partner Midge Ure were at the ceremony to receive an award for their work on the 1984 Band-Aid single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Queen candidly admits that their decision to accept the invitation was partly driven by the cause and partly by the desire to be part of this landmark musical gathering.
“We would have liked to have taken part in the Band Aid single,” admits Freddie Mercury, “but I think we were in separate parts of the globe. And so the second bash at it was this thing, and also the fact that some of the biggest and best-known groups around the world are taking part, why not us? It makes me personally proud to be a part of it.”
Expecting Chaos and Friction
As the Live Aid concert approached, the quartet engaged in good-natured “squabbling” over the song choices for their mini-set. In an interview with the BBC, they openly acknowledge the presence of egos among the superstars sharing the same stage. Freddie Mercury humorously admits that some of the biggest and best-known groups worldwide were participating, prompting them to ask themselves, “Why not us?” He expresses his personal pride in being part of this global endeavor.
“It’s going to be hilarious,” Brian May predicts.
“It’s going to be chaotic, yes,” adds Mercury. “We’re not all wonderfully well-behaved kids, are we? That’s sort of going to actually be the nice part of it: there’ll be lots of friction, and we’re all going to try to outdo each other I guess.”
Raw and Relaxed Rehearsals
The rehearsal footage captures Queen in a completely different light than the hypervibed performance on the Live Aid stage. Brian May’s caption accompanying the footage expresses his amazement at discovering this gem. He highlights the precious capture by the BBC, featuring adventurous variations in their performances. In particular, May draws attention to Freddie Mercury’s beautiful high notes in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The footage showcases Queen in a relaxed state of mind as they fine-tune their act, cherishing this rare glimpse into their preparation.
“Fondly remembering LIVE AID at this time of year, I was pretty amazed to see this – an amazing find – thanks to @iswearshesvintage and apparently somebody called Chief Mouse on YouTube,” writes Brian May in the caption. “Here you see us rehearsing for the Queen Live Aid appearance – and talking about how we think it’s gonna be. And the rehearsal footage, captured raw, shows us in a completely different, relaxed state of mind, from the hypervibed way we will be on that extraordinary night in 1985. All sorts of adventurous variations in how we’re playing – which now seem like a precious capture by the BBC – a whole different ‘lost’ performance. In particular, listen to Freddie’s beautiful high notes in Bohemian Rhapsody. Lots of other rare details to spot, too. I had no idea this footage was out there. Enjoy!”
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