In my opinion, Queen blew every other act out of the water that day. Many rankings rate this set as the best live show of all time, and I think they are right.
For Live Aid, Freddie planned as usual. He spoke less than normal as with all performance days. He was having vocal issues and was advised by his doctor against performing but Freddie never listened to direction and went ahead anyway to prove he could.
He always drank his hot lemon with honey. That particular day he downed a couple shots of vodka prior to hitting the stage.
Freddie wanted to look as normal as possible for this show, but he couldn’t resist a bit of elegance and found this leather strap at Cartier. He wore it on his right bicep.
He kept his outfit low key with a simple white vest paired with Wrangler jeans and a black studded belt. He wore his favourite Adidas Hercules boxing shoes. He always worried about the comfort of his shoes. When he was on stage, he required comfort and security. The sneakers gave him a safe step on stage so that he could invest more in his performance and voice presentation.
I was sent ahead early to Wembley that afternoon to check the layout of the dressing rooms, etc. The atmosphere was electric because of the sheer size of the show.
One thing that made Freddie apprehensive about performing this gig, was the band had to perform in daylight. He disliked the light because you have to work so much harder for people to see anything. The daylight bleaches the performance, making the spotlights that were working redundant. Even make-up became a useless artifice to communicate the intensity of his personality.
This daylight aspect, no one else seem to have quite worked out, for they all gave good but unenhanced shows. Freddie knew he had to compensate for this bleached-out effect, he also knew he had to channel his two-hour show energy into a mere twenty minute performance. But, it wasn’t long before he had everyone in the stadium — not only the crowd but everybody backstage — in the palm of his hand.
The available television footage doesn’t quite capture the excitement nor the feeling backstage. Even the other performers gladly conceded that Freddie and Queen gave the best show. In fact, they stole it! ♥️
Peter Freestone (Freddie Mercury’s Personal Assistant for the last 12 years of his life)