Watch: Episode 2 of New Series ‘Queen – The Greatest’ Revisits a Spectacular London, 1974 Performance
It seemed like it was forever in the making – and yet now it’s been two-and-a-half years since the release of the much debated Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. But nearly 33 years after his death, the exalted Queen vocalist is yet still very much having his way with the cultural zeitgeist.
The latest? The band have undertaken a (gasp) 50th anniversary celebration, with a totally riveting new series titled, appropriately, Queen – The Greatest. Launched on March 19, it’s a sequence of 50 episodes – one released each week – that capture the most glorious moments in the band’s glittering history. Debuting today, Episode 2 is an absolute killer, catching the boys in 1974 at their first headlining gig at The Rainbow in London – a stage that had previously hosted the considerable likes of Clapton, Hendrix and Bowie. It was a truly watershed moment for them.
The live footage is to say the least spectacular, with Freddie decked out in his finest velvets and chainmail wrist coverings, commandingly prowling the stage and howling out those heroic words, “By flash and thunder fire I’ll survive (I’ll survive, I’ll survive)” like the true immortal that everyone believed him to be back then. That the action goes from the glam-prog bombast of ‘The Seven Seas of Rhye’ to the proto-punk-metal of ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ only serves to reaffirm that no style or genre could have ever contained their magnificence. Included is an archival interview with Roger Taylor, and one from 2020 with Brian May. A voiceover also amusingly (or perhaps depressingly) reveals that a ticket to said concert would have set you back just £1.75 back then.
May recalls, “We’d done our support tour and then promoter Mel Bush came to us and said ‘I think you guys can headline the next tour,’ and we were surprised. I remember thinking ‘Wow, that’s very quick,’ because normally you would support a few acts and build a following and then you would go on your headline tour. He gave us a big list: Newcastle City Hall, Manchester Free Trade Hall, all the sort of classic gigs that rock bands did, and he said ‘you can fill all these, and at the end we’re going to do the Rainbow.’”
Bush was exactly right, history was made…and now it’s captured once again in a few truly breathtaking moments. Stay tuned for more Queen – The Greatest moments.