“We are here tonight to celebrate the life, work and dreams of Freddie Mercury. We are going to give him the greatest farewell ever!” On April 20, 1992, when Wembley Stadium was packed, a nervous Brian May took the stage and presented what would become in one event. The concert ‘The Freddie Mercury Tribute’, goes down in the annals of world pop and rock. For the incredible cast of stars who proudly agreed to be there that day, because 1 billion people from 76 countries saw it live, because 72,000 tickets were sold in 3 hours, because 20 million pounds were collected for the fight against AIDS (Mercury Phoenix Trust)… and because, ultimately, it was necessary to remind the irreplaceable leader of Queen howwith the biggest tribute concert ever organized for a deceased musician.

We go ‘behind the scenes’ of this unforgettable show. In Queen discussions to choose the artistson Brian May’s nerves or on the ‘Our Father’ improvised five minutes earlier by David Bowie. Also in The door slammed in the face Axl Rose’s bodyguard gave Elton Johnin the terrible situation facing George Michael French Robert Plant’s Problems Trying to Memorize the Words of Insinuation…something he didn’t understand.

The whole world mourned the death of Freddie Mercury on November 24, 1991. That same night, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon made the decision.: “We should say goodbye to his purest style”. A tribute like no other. He organized in five months. And had great difficulty in choosing artists which would constitute the poster. “We argue a lotbut we follow a basic criterion: we select them given its relevance to Freddie“May explained on Classic Rock.

For the group, this meant “a huge weight on our backs”. They weren’t just going to act, “we also organized everything”. They made calls… “and all of a sudden, we acted with the the most incredible artists of our lives!”. “I was very nervous… I felt like it was an unknown situation, and I was afraid that I would not forget the names of the artists that I was to present. The guests were also nervous. They were going to cover for one of the best rock singers in the world. “The fact that Freddie was so incredibly talented on so many levels it was very difficult for one of them to sing their songs“, manifested John Deacon.

Roger Taylor, Queen, John Deacon and Brian May at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert / Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty

In the first part of the three-hour concert, groups and artists influenced by Queen’s music came out: Metallica, Extreme, Del Leppard, Guns N’Roses or even U2 (pre-recorded performance in Oakland, California). And already in the second part, the three members of Queen have not left the stage and have become the backing band for the many celebrities who put themselves in front of the microphone.

It seems undeniable that george michael gave the best performance of the evening. Specifically, his version of Someone to Love. “Probably, This is the moment of my career that I am most proud of, Why I was living a childhood fantasy: singing one of Freddie’s songs in front of 80,000 people.”. However, he was also going through a bitter moment. Your partner, Anselmo Feleppa, who was in the audience, was sick with AIDS (He will die just a year later). “It was awful. Absolutely awful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

George had said for a week: “It was like I was at school, with Brian, John and Roger, there every day. I couldn’t be wrong about that.” Not only was he right. He sang better than ever: “On television, I never had the courage to hit that high note. Live, in front of millions of people, It was probably the bravest note I’ve ever struck.”

David Bowie performed Under Pressure with Annie Lennoxwho replaced Freddie on the hit he recorded with Bowie in 1981. Before saying goodbye, the ‘White Duke’ shocked the audience when he spontaneously bent his knee on the floor and began to recite the Our Father. After the initial confusion – some even laughed – many joined in the prayer. Later, he explained that he only decided five minutes before going on stage. and admitted that he wasn’t sure what he was doing: “I felt like the situation was transporting me,” revelón in classic rock. “I was very scared while I was doing it. Two of my friends who were sitting there, their jaws dropped.”

Elton John he was a friend of Freddie’s and one of the few people who visited him until the end of his life. Openly gay, he sang with Axl Rose, who was at the center of a controversy over his alleged homophobia. His presence was a big problem. There were gay activist groups saying Guns N’ Roses shouldn’t be on the show.

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Elton John and Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert / Michael Putland/Getty

According to Joe Elliott, lead singer of Def Leppard: “Axl was in the next room. Elton told us he knocked on his door and a burly bodyguard answered him and said “Axl is sleeping.” Elton replied, “Well, I’m going to duet with him in a few hours!” And the guy shrugged and slammed the door in his face.. Elton told us:What’s wrong with this guy? » They performed Bohemian Rhapsody. Each a verse, separately. In reality, their duet was limited to less than a minute, at the end of the topic. A few days later, Axl wrote a letter to Brian May telling him how proud he was to be part of the event.

Robert Plante, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, had trouble remembering Innuendo’s lyrics. Coincidentally, Freddie Mercury had composed the theme as a tribute to Led Zeppelin. “I tried to learn it when I was on vacation in Morocco, but I ended up with a huge lyric sheet on stage.”

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Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert / Michael Putland/Getty

We are the champions was the terrific ending reserved for Liza Minnelli, accompanied by almost all those who had participated in the tribute When left alone, Brian, Roger and John performed a God save the extremely emotional queen.

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