Entertainment :: Movies

The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Wednesday Oct 23, 2013
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On April 20th, 1992, Wembley Stadium in London was the site of a star-studded tribute to one of rock and roll’s most treasured performers, Freddie Mercury. The frontman for Queen had died less than six months previous from AIDS, and the evening was put together by the group’s surviving members to not only commemorate their dear friend, but also as an opportunity to raise awareness for the disease. To date, the Mercury Phoenix Trust, of which the concert supported, has donated over $15 million to charities worldwide on behalf of AIDS research and to increase HIV education.

The concert was presented in two halves, and now both are available on one Blu-ray disk for the first time. With over four hours of material, "The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert" features performances from a range of mega-stars from the 80’s and 90’s, from Guns ’n’ Roses, Paul Young, and Lisa Stansfield to Extreme, Seal, and Def Leppard.

It’s appropriate that a tribute to the flamboyant singer should have been a major spectacle, with Metallica ("Enter Sandman") and Extreme ("More Than Words") opening the day with sets of original songs and Queen hits. Once Queen took the stage, however, the concert excitement elevated exponentially. Listening to Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) sing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is intriguing, but it becomes a true classic when joined by Brian May on guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, and John Deacon on bass (this would be one of the final times that Deacon would be seen performing live, retiring from the music business soon after this show). The same can be said of Roger Daltrey’s signature vocal style on "I Want It All" and Seal’s cover of "Who Wants To live Forever." "Under Pressure" still remains one of the band’s most recognizable songs, and here it was performed by co-writer David Bowie and Annie Lennox.

The pinnacle of the band’s repertoire gets saved for the climax of the lengthy event with Axl Rise and Elton John delivering "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the company finishing with "We Are The Champions." Bonus features include rehearsals of some of the evening’s songs, as well as a documentary from the 10th anniversary of the concert.

The package is a strong reminder of the void left when the music world lost such a talented superstar.

"The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert"
Queen
Blu-ray and DVD formats
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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