A Classic Performance from Queen: Live Aid 1985

I've been wanting to write at least a little something about Queen for the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll really since I first started the site, but through my own editing process I felt a tribute article was best left until I had completely collected exactly what I wanted to say. Still, I thought something that might give a glimpse of why this band was/is so huge would be nice and seeing I cannot offer every track off of every album up to be listened to as proof, the best way seemed to be to include a clip from their now infamous performance at Live Aid in 1985.

There are lots of clips from this show available on YouTube, so feel free to watch them there if you haven't already, I did a little searching and found the majority of the set though in a single video... Why watch clips when you can watch the set straight through?

There is a fair amount of other live footage online of Queen, all of which I consider worth checking out if you're a fan, but the Live Aid show has special significance for a few reasons. 1) It has rock and roll historical significance from being from the Live Aid event; 2) It's a far more stripped down set than other Queen sets. Songs are shortened and melded together, but also sound a bit more spontaneous and raw than some other concerts (don't get me wrong, I think all the footage of Queen live is great, but this set is direct and to the point, like a musical punch to the gut); 3) Their performance was hailed by many as the performance of the day, and there were some far bigger bands on the bill; 4) It's just a great powerful set.

One of the things I think anyone who got to see Queen live during their heyday, or has at least seen clips or footage of them playing live can attest to is that no one, and I mean no one, could command an audience like Freddie Mercury, in all his flamboyant, theatrical glory, and this is a great example of that. The crowd just can't help but be into the music, just drawn in and urged on to rock out. Along with Mercury's incredible stage persona, the band is hooked up, hits hard and as always features some great guitar work from Brian May. Overall, a great little rock and roll set from a great band. I can't say if this was indeed the best performance from the 1985 Live Aid show because I haven't seen all the footage, but the attitude of the band on stage, confident, muscular and rockin', certainly makes that believable as it would have taken a lot to top this set for impact.

I'm a big fan of Queen, and have been since probably I first heard their music, way back before I was really even following the rock and roll scene. This show was an absolute must for me to watch as I consider it as much a part of the rock and roll legacy and necessary research along with other legendary performances like Hendrix at Woodstock, the Beatles at Shea Stadium and the farewell concert from Cream.

If your in anyway a fan of Queen I think you've got to see this performance if you haven't already. If you're passionate about rock and roll I think you've got to see this performance. I think it is one of those shows that will remain infamous in rock and roll history probably forever not necessarily for being the band's best, but for the impact they had on people that day.

You can find the majority of the set here, but they came back to play at least one other song later... Again, clips of that on YouTube... AND the sound quality is definitely not spectacular, but after all, it is on the Internet: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7002417054368545663

These performances should be on the Live Aid DVD set, although I can't be certain, and sources have indicated that the box set does not contain EVERY performance that happened. I'd try that set first if you're searching at add this footage to your concert DVD collection. You can buy that set directly from Amazon here: Live Aid (4 Disc Set)

If this is your first real impression of Queen (I'd be shocked if it was) and you found this pretty interesting, go check out their albums... just a great band that has influenced thousands... And in the future, check back here at the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll as I'm sure to do a full fledged tribute article eventually.


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