News > Live Aid Unexpurgated

Added on 04-Jun-2005

Daily Mail,Saturday, june4 2005. by David Thomas.'One of my greatest images of Live Aid is seeing Elton, in his apron, serving up impromptu burgers for Bowie and Freddie Mercury.'

The flamboyant Queen singer was one of the most notable presences at Live Aid, using the concert as a golden opportunity to indulge in a series of wild flirtations. No sooner had Status Quo come off stage than Francis Rossi found himself caught in Freddies's embrace.

'He gave me a big hug, picked me up and swung me around,' Rossi recalled. 'He was so strong that I suddenly thought that if he'd wanted to have his wicked way with me right there, he could. Thankfully, I wasn't his type and he soon put me back where he'd found me.'

Ninety minutes later, after Ultravox had performed, it was Midge Ure's turn. In his autobiography, If I Was, he recalls:'I was sitting back-stage and I saw Freddie Mercury. I shook hands with him, and he wouldn't let go of my hand.

' After he'd been holding my hand for two minutes, he said:"You're that lovely boy from Boomtown Rats, aren't you?" I gasped: "No, I'm the lovely boy from Ultravox. And I've just got to go and talk to my girlfriend. Look!She's right over there."'

The photographer David Bailey was shooting portraits of the Live Aid stars. He received an even more direct approach.'At one point I got a tap on my shoulder and spun round. Suddenly there was a big tongue down my throat! It was Freddie Mercury.'

Undoubtedly the band who gained most from Live Aid were Queen. In Bob Geldof's own words: ' Queen were absolutely the best band of the day.'

Ironically, they were also at a low point in their career. As drummer Roger Taylor explains: 'We were so jaded by that point, we'd just had it. But we thought we'd better rehearse a bit, and we ran the whole 17 minutes into one medley of hits: why bore them with something they've not heard before?

'We also sent our brilliant engineer to check the sound-system and set all the controls for us. So we were a lot louder than anyone else. Live Aid was a real shot in he arm for us.'

The following year, Queen set off on a triumphant European tour that culminated in a sell-out show for 120,000 people at Knebworth House. Their position as one of Britain's all-time best-selling bands was assured.

Yet unknown to the crowds in the stadium or the global TV audience, the event continued to teeter on the brink of collapse.

During the Dire Straits set, the sound on stage was so loud it made the drummer, Terry Williams, physically sick. He staggered off-stage at the end of the set and vomited into one of Queen's equipment cases.

Submitted by: Brimon

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