Back in 2019…
…ya know, a thousand years ago, a.k.a. pre-COVID…
…it kinda seemed like the whole world suddenly discovered Freddie Mercury & Queen when the smash hit movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” came to the big screen.
I can certainly understand that phenomenon as he hadn’t really performed since the late ‘80s.
Besides, anyone under 45 probably wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate his greatness…unless it was listening to the oldies.
But they’ve been a great group for a looooong time & I truly believe that Freddie was the greatest frontman ever!!!
My personal experience with Freddie & Queen (other than constantly listening to their music) occurred in late 1977 at their sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The whole city was already pretty buzzed as the Yankees had just beaten the LA Dodgers in the World Series. Surely you’ve heard of (or seen) Reggie Jackson’s dramatic 3 home runs on 3 consecutive pitches in Game 6, right?
“Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!”
And the MSG crowd was well stoked to welcome this great band…and the incredible Freddie Mercury…to the stage. Seriously, you could just feel the anticipation in the air!
Well, Queen did not disappoint in the least.
They were their usually-tight selves musically & Freddie was, well, Freddie…and at the very top of his game!
You can always tell how popular a musical act is by how many songs the audience sings along with the performer(s). Sounded as if everyone in the 20,000-strong throng joined in on every single tune they played.
And just like with most bands (the most notable exception being Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band who play without a warm-up act for a good 4 hours straight!), Queen took a short intermission break.
For themselves AND the crowd.
But the Queen fans began to grow more & more restless with each passing moment.
“Freddie!!! Freddie!!! Freddie!!!” reverberated throughout “The World’s Most Famous Arena”! (Note: That’s not just a personal opinion from an very opinionated NYer 🙋🏻♂️…just Google that phrase yourself & see.)
They continued chanting until the house lights were finally turned down.
And then the crowd, the entire Madison Square Garden complex & at least half of midtown Manhattan SIMPLY EXPLODED!!!
Freddie came out singing “We Are The Champions”!!!
And he was wearing a NY YANKEES JACKET!!!
The crowd went absolutely berserk! A thousand levels beyond crazy!
Lemme tell ya, I’ve been to dozens & dozens of incredible concerts with most rabid fans alive (Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, etc.) in my life…
…attended a few World Series games at Yankee Stadium…
…was a spectator at several NBA & ABA championship finals…
…sat up in the MSG blue seats when the NY Rangers hosted the Montreal Canadiens & the crowd cheered “Let’s go Rangers!” throughout the entire playing of the National Anthem…
…I was even there, in our camper, up at Jellystone Park in upstate NY, in the middle of the night when my wife, Laurie, discovered the dead mouse in the coffee pot (Man, what a shriek!) & then again, when she saw a live one scampering around right where our not-yet-two-year-old daughter Heather was sleeping…
…but I have NEVER, EVER seen…nor heard…nor experienced…a more raucous, thundering, insane mass of humanity than I did during those next few minutes!!!
People just seemed to be completely losing their minds!
It was surreal.
Beyond any doubt, it was the most memorable experience I’ve ever had at a live event, regardless of who was playing, where I was sitting & what was happening!
Even better than the movie.
As always, thank you so very much for listening!
P.S. Oh, BTW, we slept at a nearby Ramada Inn that night with the mouse.
Not WITH the mouse at the actual Ramada, silly…the “night with the mouse”.
Besides, they prefer the Holiday Inn with the free continental breakfast.
Lots of free cheese.
Next day, we stopped by the campground’s office & put our trailer up for sale…lock, stock & barrel.