Freddie Mercury exhibition opens at Sotheby’s
The latest episode of Queen the Greatest Live focuses on an unforgettable moment from Freddie Mercury and Brian May.
This took place during the band’s final tour as a four in 1986, which took them to a sell-out show at Budapest’s Népstadion.
Three years before the Berlin Wall fell, this was the first live performance by a stadium-league Western European rock band behind the Iron Curtain.
At the time the guitarist noted, “We like going to places when it’s a challenge”, as they’d already experienced in Argentina earlier in the decade.
Communist leader György Lázár held a tight grip on power but his government’s “lenient restriction on audience behaviour” allowed singing and clapping, if not smoking and drinking.
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Aside from Queen bringing out the hits, Freddie and Brian performed their usual acoustic mini-set which included a big surprise.
The singer broke out into a rendition of the traditional Hungarian folk song, Tavaszi Szél Vizet Áraszt (its title roughly translating as Spring Wind Floods Water).
If you watch closely, during the video clip you can see Freddie reading the lyrics written phonetically on the palm of his hand.
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Freddie coped well and the heartfelt performance, which was watched by 80,000 fans and heard by 45,000 outside the Népstadion, proved to be a great unifying moment between the East and West.
Brian noted: “The reaction at that point was f***ing deafening. That night was amazing, with the Hungarian folk song and the whole atmosphere. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it was like we took a step into infinity that night.”
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