Queen guitarist Brian May shares video of the band rehearsing for Live Aid

GBR: Live Aid for Africa at Wembley Stadium
GBR: Live Aid for Africa at Wembley Stadium / Georges De Keerle/GettyImages

Queen was just one of the 1985 Live Aid concert performers, but their performance stood out as they did a medley of six of their hit songs. Their performance was voted the greatest live performance in rock history in a 2005 industry poll of more than 60 artists, journalists, and music industry executives. Guitarist Brian May shared an amazing rehearsal video on social media  which gives fans a look behind the scenes of that iconic performance. 

Queen’s Live Aid performance was 21 minutes long and featured six songs, which began with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and concluded with “We Are The Champions.” Singer Freddie Mercury would captivate the audience with his charisma and draw them into the performance. This performance showed the world that Queen was an extremely talented band, and they stole the show.

Live Aid, organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, was established to raise money for Ethiopia's 1983–1985 famine. This movement began with the release of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” performed by Band Aid, a global supergroup. Live Aid was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, attended by 72,000, and at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended by 89,484.   

Organizers didn’t expect anything extraordinary from Queen that day, but Ure stated that “from the moment they walked on, you knew you were watching something special.” The band knew exactly what they were doing with this performance. Mercury had the 72,000+ crowd singing and clapping in unison, making it something to behold. You can watch the rehearsal video below to see that Queen's rehearsals are better than some bands' live shows.

Queen’s performance would be recreated in the 2018 biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody. The film’s performance accurately matches the original, a treat for fans who never saw the original version. In 2020 Queen + Adam Lambert would reuse the Live Aid setlist for the Fire Fight Australia charity concert.

Channel 4 created The World’s Greatest Gigs, which polled over 60 artists, journalists, and music execs to compile the top 20 gigs of all time. Queen's Live Aid performance came out on top, and rightly so. This special aired on British Channel 4 in 2005, and you can find many videos of the documentary on YouTube.

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