QUEEN

THE FRED­DIE MER­CURY BIOPIC ‘BO­HEMIAN RHAP­SODY’ CROWNS THE EN­DUR­ING MAJESTY OF QUEEN.

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - CONTENTS FOCUS - ROBIN MIL­LARD WRITES

The Fred­die Mer­cury biopic “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” pre­miered in Lon­don in grand STYLE ON OCT. 23, RElECTING the en­dur­ing ap­peal of Queen and their leg­endary front­man 27 years on from his death.

Fans watched the film in the 12,500-ca­pac­ity Wem­b­ley Arena — op­po­site the sta­dium where the iconic Bri­tish rock band gave a fa­mous per­for­mance at the 1985 Live Aid con­cert.

Ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the group’ s legacy and Mer­cury’s unique tal­ent has only grown since his death in 1991 of bronchial pneu­mo­nia, brought on by AIDS.

Among the world’s best-sell­ing artists ever, most of the band’s sales have come since the singer ’s pass­ing at the age of 45.

And Queen gui­tarist Brian May and drum­mer Roger Tay­lor, now 71 and 69, are still rock­ing are­nas world­wide, resur­gent as a live act pro­pelled by the flam­boy­ant US vo­cal­ist Adam Lam­bert.

Now hits in­clud­ing “We Will Rock You”, “An­other One Bites The Dust” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” are set for a fur­ther lease of life through the movie.

In the pipe­line for eight years, the iLM COULD DE­LIVER AN­OTHER SMASH hit, with Egyp­tian-Amer­i­can ac­tor Rami Malek win­ning rave re­views for his per­for­mance as Mer­cury.

Malek has talked about tack­ling a com­plex char­ac­ter — a pub­licly bom­bas­tic yet pri­vately shy in­di­vid­ual with a highly un­usual path to star­dom.

“Fred die Mer­cury is syn­ony­mous with be­ing oth­er­worldly,” the ac­tor said on the red car­pet.

“The guy knew ex­actly what he was do­ing. That’s why we’re cel­e­brat­ing him.

“He was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary.” Born Far­rokh Bul­sara in 1946 to a Parsi In­dian fam­ily liv­ing on the East African spice is­land of Zanz­ibar and ed­u­cated at an English-style board­ing school in In­dia, he ar­rived IN LON­DON WHEN HIS FAM­ILY lED THE 1964 Zanz­ibar revo­lu­tion. The movie fol­lows Mer­cury’s rise to fame and com­pli­cated love life, from Queen’s for­ma­tion in 1970 to the band’s star turn at Live Aid.

Their 20-minute set at Wem­b­ley STA­DIUM WAS THE BAND’S iNEST HOUR, of­ten cited as one of the great­est live per­for­mances ever.

Mer­cury’s demise seemed like the end for Queen — a band of four equal part­ners who each wrote chart-top­ping hits.

Bassist John Dea­con re­tired in 1997 and has van­ished from the pub­lic eye.

As­sum­ing Queen was a chap­ter closed, May and Tay­lor tried to move on with solo ca­reers.

How­ever, they grad­u­ally came to em­brace rather than re­sist the grav­i­ta­tional pull of their band’s legacy.

And Mer­cury’ s leg­end only grows with time, yet to be eclipsed by a more cap­ti­vat­ing sta­dium show man.

Even dur­ing his life­time, Mer­cury was stunned that no­body had writ­ten a hit to over­take “We Are The Cham­pi­ons”.

But 41 years on, his 1977 sin­ga­long an­them re­mains the GO-TO TUNE AT SPORT­ING iNALES, AND 1975’s “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” is still reg­u­larly voted the great­est rock song ever writ­ten.

With Dea­con’s bless­ing to carry on as Queen, May and Tay­lor joined forces with bluesy for­mer Free singer Paul Rodgers from 2005 to 2008 and played sell-out con­certs.

Af­ter­wards, the pair as­sumed their re­vival was done.

Then in 2009, on the tele­vi­sion show “Amer­i­can Idol”, they met Lam­bert — some­one May de­scribes as a “gift from God”.

Early brief per­for­mances snow­balled into a Euro­pean tour in 2012 and world tours in the years since.

May and Tay­lor are vis­i­bly re­ju­ve­nated by Lam­bert’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to han­dle Mer­cury’s dra­matic range and camp touch.

Queen fans have em­braced the 36-year-old, who does not try to mimic or re­place their lost front­man.

Lam­bert ac­knowl­edges be­fore au­di­ences that he’s “no Fred­die”, and asks their per­mis­sion to cel­e­brate Mer­cury with them by singing his lines.

Billed as Queen and Adam Lam­bert, they played 26 arena shows in North Amer­ica and an­other 26 in Eu­rope in 2017.

But such is the de­mand that they were back out again this year, tour­ing Ocea­nia and Eu­rope and hold­ing a res­i­dency in Las Ve­gas.

Con­cert­go­ers in­clude those old enough to have seen Queen’s last tour with Mer­cury in 1986, but also younger gen­er­a­tions thrilled at the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the band live.

Their tours have rocked We mb ley Arena twice in the last 10 months. May and Tay­lor were back at the in­door venue for the movie pre­miere.

“I think we have done Fred­die proud,” said May.

Bri­tish mu­si­cian and drum­mer of the rock band Queen, Roger Tay­lor, (left), US ac­tor Rami Malek, Bri­tish mu­si­cian and lead gui­tarist of the rock band Queen, Brian May, US ac­tor Joe Mazzello and Bri­tish ac­tor Gwilym Lee at the world pre­miere of the film ‘Bo­hemian Rhap­sody’ at Wem­b­ley Arena in north Lon­don.

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