It’s been almost 30 years since Freddie Mercury died and just a few months later in April 1992, the remaining members of Queen put on a charity concert in his memory. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness took place on Easter Monday at Wembley Stadium, with an audience of 72,000. Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon’s show in their friend’s memory was kicked off by artists influenced by Queen including Metallica and Extreme.
While the second half of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert saw Queen perform with different stars on the vocals from David Bowie to George Michael.
The charity gig was shown on Sky Arts over this Christmas and Queen guitarist May was rewatching and enjoying the nostalgia.
Posting a clip of Paul Young singing Radio Ga Ga, the 73-year-old rock legend wrote on his Instagram: “Who’s watching SkyArts TV right now ? We’ve been all over the TV this Christmas – lucky us.
“I‘m watching our Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – so strange for so many reasons. Already so long ago now – we look so young – and all those lovely performers with us (this is Paul Young) – many of them now gone to the place where Freddie went before.”
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May continued: “And of course we were only just beginning to get used to the fact that Freddie would no longer be able to do this wonderful thing with us any more. Of course it felt like he was with us on this amazing night.”
The Queen guitarist then went on to pay tribute to other late stars who were performing at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
The 73-year-old wrote: “Dear George Michael, so young and full of life, David Bowie so suave and immortal-looking … and we three … lost in the haze of an emotional river filled with tears and joy at the same time.
“But strangest of all – look at the audience – you guys – all of us – bathing in a sea of human proximity – touching, singing together, without the slightest shadow of a suspicion that one day this kind of amazing concert experience would no longer be possible.“
The 61-year-old said: “You know what’s really weird? Some American TV show did a documentary about Bohemian Rhapsody the movie and also about Adam Lambert taking over. And the guy interviewing me said something that’s pretty obviously never ever occurred to me.”
“He said, ‘Do you realise you were the first person to sing with Queen after Freddie Mercury passed away?’ And I just sat there going, ‘Holy s***, I was wasn’t I?’
“Of course, they hadn’t played together since Fred died and I did Tie Your Mother Down. I mean, wow, it is an honour but just as a historical footnote; it’s a great quiz question! Pub quiz here we come, y’know.”
Elliott, who is great friends with Brian May, revealed how Def Leppard got involved with The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
The Def Leppard frontman said: “Basically when Roger [Taylor] announced they were going to put this concert together I got a call from Brian the next day.”
May said: “I take it you’ve heard, I want you in. We both want you in. Will you perform at Freddie’s tribute gig?”
Elliott said how he didn’t even have to contact the rest of Def Leppard because of course, they’d do it.
The band performed Now I’m Here with May, as well as Animal and Let’s Get Rocked in the first half, before Elliott had the honour of being the first person to sing with Queen since Freddie’s death.