9 August 1986 – Queen’s final live performance ever with the Legendary Freddie Mercury @ Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, UK 🇬🇧 This show is christened ‘The Queen Tornado.’ It was officially billed ‘A Night of Summer Magic.’
For the last time, the four of Queen will perform a phenomenal concert packed with hits. 15 years of music – a bittersweet end to an era!
It’s so hard to believe it wasn’t professionally recorded!
Queen went out in style, playing for an estimated 120,000 fans (some sources claim it was as high as 200,000). At the time, it was the largest single paying audience for a UK rock concert in over ten years. Thousands of fans camped outside the park gates the night before. It was classed as one of their finest performances. Absolutely phenomenal!
This last date was added after the Wembley Stadium shows in July had sold out so quickly, (Brian later said how the band could have probably done 5 or 6 nights at Wembley). In fact, the promoter, Harvey Goldsmith, had already booked the park anyway, as he was sure the extra show would be necessary, and Wembley wasn’t available for more dates.[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”23″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]
People were stuck in severe traffic jams to and from this incredible show. It was reported the traffic was far worse leaving this concert. The carpark areas were without lighting and many fans were still trying to locate their cars in the acres of vehicles the next morning! Many gave up trying to leave the mess and slept in their vehicles.
A last epic show with chaos.. A young 21 year old Status Quo fan lost his life after being stabbed in the crowd…. He climbed a lighting tower to get a better view, but fell onto someone who was none too pleased and subsequently stabbed him. St. John’s Ambulance was called, but their fight through the crowd took too long and the victim died. Upon learning about the fan’s death, Freddie Mercury was recorded saying, “If people have to die because they wanna see us, I’ll never perform live again.” Devastating!
On a more optimistic note, a baby was born at some point in the audience. I mean, how can you find your way out of the ginormous sea of people?! Who is the famed Knebworth baby? No one has come forward. It remains a mystery.
John Deacon uncharacteristically tosses his Fender Precision bass away immediately following ‘Radio Ga Ga,’ (out of character for him.) He threw it pretty hard too! This can also be seen on the official Rare Live video. He hit the other basses on their stands in front of the amps, knocking them all over. The roadies then took them off stage, presumably to check for damage and retune them before the second encore. John ultimately doesn’t cause any significant damage to his P-bass, as he uses it for the final three songs. He was going through personal issues with his wife, it all caught up with him.
Wow! What a show and the travesty of it all, this final show wasn’t professionally filmed.
The cameras were rolling, and visuals of the entire concert were relayed to the Idaphore screens simultaneously with the show. All it needed was for someone to put a tape machine on the end of either the screen mix or the cameras themselves. No-one did.
Knebworth House’s current occupant, Henry Lytton-Cobbold, who attended the concert in his 20s, has made the almost-obvious comment that it’s utterly devastating Freddie’s final show wasn’t officially filmed.
“Can you believe that on Freddie Mercury’s last concert, the great showman, no one actually pressed record?” he asked, completely aghast at the notion. There’s a Dutch bootleg of somebody filming a screen at the back of the audience for the whole show, so there’s a record of it, but no proper film.”
Many bootlegs are floating around the Internet.
As people were leaving, an employee suddenly turned off all of the lights in the park (and ended up getting fired for it, as the intention was just to cut the power to the stage in case Queen wanted to play a third encore after the venue’s curfew), forcing an audience of this size to find their way out in pitch darkness..extremely dangerous!
Queen’s final concert?! No One Knew – Not Even the Band! Mary Austin made some interesting revelations during a BBC interview in 2011. She admitted both her and Freddie knew this was it. The pain of knowing. They looked at each other knowing this was it! This was his last concert. We can only imagine what went through Freddie’s mind, I’m sure this was absolutely difficult for him. A man who gave 1000 percent of his heart and soul. A man who lived for his music! We love him for it. We also know the whole band was tired of the grueling schedule and cycle of album, tour and so on.. but nothing would compare to what Freddie was going to face privately.
Brian May has since reflected on the concert being Freddie’s last, sharing the singer’s poignant last words about the show.
“Did we know it would be the last time?” Brian told Guitar World. “No. Freddie said something like, ‘Oh, I can’t f*g do this anymore, my whole body’s wracked with pain!’
“But he normally said things like that at the end of a tour.
“So I don’t think we took it seriously, really,” said Brian.
August 9, 1986, a date forever etched in our minds!
We will love you forever Freddie. You are in our hearts forever An incredible man – LEGEND0