This Day In 1992: Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

It was nineteen years ago today that "The Freddie Mercury Tribute: A Concert For Life" was held at London's Wembley Stadium to celebrate the life and music of Freddie Mercury. It is ironic that such an event would take place on the same stage where Queen had performed their legendary Live Aid set seven year prior, as no concert since had featured such a cross-section of major artists of the day, all paying tribute to the Queen front-man who had passed away in November 1991.

In addition to sets by the likes of Metallica, Def Leppard, Extreme, Bob Geldof, and Spinal Tap, the surviving members of Queen would perform some of their best-known tracks with a rotating door of guest vocalists that included David Bowie, Annie Lennox, George Michael, Elton John, Axl Rose, Robert Plant, and Roger Daltrey, among others.

While more than a few of the same acts that had appeared at Live Aid also appeared at this show, their appearance on this particular day served only to amplify the one figure that was sorely absent from the proceedings - that of Freddie Mercury himself. It had been Mercury who had held the Wembley Stadium audience, and the rest of the world, in the palm of his hand during Queen's Live Aid appearance. On this fateful day in 1992, though, his way with words and gestures was sorely absent as surviving band mates Brian May and Roger Taylor proved just how hard it was to command a stadium's attention.

Let's face it, there's just something disconcerting about May asking the sold-out crowd, "Are you having a good time tonight?" The crowd applauds, of course, for lack of a better response.

Despite such somber circumstances, the concert was not without a number of highlights. The duet between David Bowie and Annie Lennox, of course, would be our personal favorite:

A close second would be Robert Plant's reading of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", which, now that we think about it, might have worked wonderfully on that first Honeydrippers album.

While Queen's influence on many a metal band cannot be ignored, the appearance of such acts as Extreme and Def Leppard seemed like a bit of a stretch - although it did allow fans to take a few sorely-needed pee breaks over the course of the day-long concert.

Of course, Axl's Rose's debt to Mercury was becoming stunningly obvious ("November Rain", anyone). Thus, it was his performance of "We Will Rock You" with the remaining members of Queen that brought about the evening's thrilling, albeit unofficial, finale (Liza Minnelli would follow with "We Are The Champions").

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