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|The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness|
Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert poster
|Dates||20 April 1992|
|Location(s)||Wembley Stadium, London, England|
|Founded by||Brian May|
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness was a benefit concert held on Easter Monday, 20 April 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, England for an audience of 72,000. The concert was produced for television by Ray Burdis and broadcast live on television and radio to 76 countries around the world, with an audience of up to one billion. The concert was a tribute to Queen's lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS on 24 November 1991. The show marked bassist John Deacon's final full-length concert with Queen (save a short live appearance with Brian May, Roger Taylor and Elton John in 1997). The profits from the concert were used to launch The Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity organisation.
Following Freddie Mercury's death on 24 November 1991 from bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS, the remaining members of Queen (John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor) came together with their manager Jim Beach to organise a concert to celebrate the life and legacy of Mercury, and to raise money for AIDS research and spread awareness about the disease. In February 1992, at the annual BRIT Awards ceremony, May and Taylor announced plans for the concert. When tickets finally went on sale, all 72,000 tickets sold out in just three hours, even though no performers were announced apart from remaining members of Queen.
The concert opened with a message from the three remaining members of Queen in tribute to Mercury. The music then commenced with short sets from bands that were influenced by the music of Queen, including Metallica, Extreme (playing a Queen medley), Def Leppard (who brought Brian May onstage for a version of "Now I'm Here"), and Guns N' Roses. Between bands, several video clips honouring Freddie Mercury were shown while roadies changed the stage for the following act's performance.
The second half of the concert featured the three remaining Queen members – John Deacon (on bass), Brian May (on guitar) and Roger Taylor (on drums) – along with guest singers and guitarists, including Elton John, Roger Daltrey (of The Who), Tony Iommi (of Black Sabbath), David Bowie, Mick Ronson (of Spiders from Mars), James Hetfield (of Metallica), George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin), Joe Elliott and Phil Collen (of Def Leppard), Axl Rose and Slash (of Guns N' Roses), Liza Minnelli, and others. Via satellite from Sacramento, California, U2 dedicated a live performance of "Until the End of the World" to Mercury.
The concert was originally released in VHS form (usually in two tape releases worldwide), but due to time limitations, "Love of My Life" and "More Than Words" by Extreme, "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked" by Def Leppard, Spinal Tap's "The Majesty of Rock", U2's "Until The End of the World", Mango Groove's "Special Star" and Robert Plant's version of "Innuendo" were removed in the original release. The US release also omitted Bob Geldof's performance of "Too Late God", and Zucchero Fornaciari's performance of "Las Palabras de Amor".
In April 2002, for the 10th anniversary of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the second half of the concert featuring the performances by the surviving members of Queen was released on DVD and entered the UK charts at number 1. "Innuendo" was not included on the DVD, at the request of Robert Plant. In addition, the original 4:3 footage had been cropped down to widescreen.
On 24 June 2013, Queen announced on their Facebook page that a new remastered version of the concert would be released in late 2013 on DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD and Blu-Ray was released on 2 September 2013. Like the earlier, VHS release, this version excludes Extreme's "Love of My Life" and "More Than Words", Def Leppard's "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked", Spinal Tap, U2 and Mango Groove from the opening acts segment of the show, and Robert Plant's "Innuendo" from the Queen+ segment of the show.
Clips of rehearsals and of Metallica's set (as well as James Hetfield's performance of Stone Cold Crazy with Queen and Tony Iommi) were featured in the 1992 documentary A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica.
Several songs from the concert have also been released in audio-only format:
Queen were backed by the following musicians: