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Radio X Chilled with James Hall 12am - 1am
5 September 2020, 15:00
The legendary band played their final show with Freddie Mercury in the summer of 1986 - but what did they bow out with?
Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, climaxes with s show-stopping set at Live Aid in July 1985. The film ends with this amazing moment - but the band’s career didn’t end there.
Queen would continue recording right up until four months before Mercury’s death on 24 November 1991. However, their time as live performers was cut short when the singer was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987.
One of the factual alterations to the Bo Rhap movie meant that the Magic Tour of 1986 was to be the last featuring all four original members of Queen: Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor. So how did this glittering live career end?
Queen’s final show was titled A Night Of Summer Magic and took place at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire on 9 August 1986. It was the final date of a European tour in support of the band’s A Kind Of Magic album, which was released in June.
Freddie and co had played two nights at London’s Wembley Stadium in July, followed by one night at Manchester’s Maine Road a few days later. By the time Queen reached Knebworth, they were past masters of the stadium rock show.
For the ticket price of £14.50 (or £16 on the door!) you could have a day of music that included Scottish rockers Big Country and denim-clad veterans Status Quo.
Queen’s set opened with their 1985 single One Vision, which was written and released in the aftermath of the band’s performance at Live Aid. The epic intro was the perfect opener and the recording from Knebworth was later used to kick off the album Live Magic, released at Christmas 1986.
The opening track from the 1976 album A Day At The Races, written by Brian May.
An epic singalong song from 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack, written by Freddie Mercury.
Queen’s first hit single from February 1974 and still a crowd pleaser 12 years later.
A big tune from the massive album The Works, from 1984.
The title track of Queen’s then-current album. Currently selling sofas on a TV set near you.
Aka the classic “daaaaay-oh” call and response that made such an impression at Live Aid. One of Freddie’s finest moments as a frontman
The collaboration with David Bowie that made Number 1 in October 1981
Bassist John Deacon’s monster of a tune, from 1980’s The Game and a US Number 1.
The Kind Of Magic album was sort of unofficial soundtrack to the film Highlander, and this anthemic ballad concerns the immortal heroes and villains that feature in the movie.
One of Queen’s most famous singles, taken from the 1984 album The Works.
An improvised live piece that showcases Mercury’s incredible vocal range. The rest of the band are pretty tight, too.
After that wig out, now it’s Brian May’s turn to show off. And with talent like that, why not?
Taken from the band’s 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack, this was a Top 20 hit when released as a single. The song concerns Queen’s tour of the US supporting the group Mott The Hoople.
One of the greatest singalongs ever - Freddie Mercury’s emotional love song, taken from the classic 1975 album A Night At The Opera.
Written about the famine and poverty then sweeping Africa, this was a genuine tears-in-the-eyes moment when it was played at Knebworth and performed a similar duty at Knebworth
The traditional Queen “50s rock ’n’ roll” medley makes its final outing with Mercury, taking in songs by Elvis Presley, Gene Pitney and Little Richard.
The ultimate Queen song, performed with Mercury on vocals for the last time. As usual, the band nip off stage during the opera section, but re-appear with a bang once the heavy rock segment kicks in. Powerful.
“Give it to me one more time!” One of the rockier tracks from 1984’s The Works album.
Freddie croons away on this boisterous rockabilly-style single from 1979.
The first encore was a huge spectacle. As per the legendary Live Aid performance, the crowd joined in with the hands in the air/clapping as seen in the video.
The second encore kicked off with the stomping 1977 classic. Unusually, the track segued into this track rather than We Are The Champions…
Arms in the air for this track from A Kind Of Magic.
The only way the final show could end - with the triumphant single taken from 1977’s News Of The World album. Thanks Freddie.
The traditional end to a Queen show - Brian May’s guitar version of the National Anthem. Now try and find your car.