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Are you Baby Knebworth?
February 29, 2012 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Queen is looking for very special twenty-five year old. On August 9, 1986, Queen played their what would end up being their very last concert with Freddy Mercury at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England. It marked the end of an era for the band, but the beginning of a new one for a rock-and-roll baby born at the show.

Queen drew a record crowd of 120,000, their biggest ever UK audience. Coming on the back of two stunning shows at Wembley Stadium – to this day regarded as among their finest performances – anticipation was high.

Queen delivered the goods, winding up the crowd by arriving above their heads in a custom decorated helicopter, and then going on to perform a Queen textbook set to a deliriously enthusiastic audience, winding up with an emotional "God Save the Queen" and Freddie wishing his audience "sweet dreams".

A quarter of a century later, Queen is returning to Knebworth, with American Idol alum Adam Lambert fronting the band. And they want to include the person who made their debut at Freddy's last show.
posted by kimdog (65 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Queen delivered the goods

Well, that's really going above and beyond the call of duty.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:06 AM on February 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


If they're gonna have someone fronting them, fuck an American Idol guy ...

GET THIS GUY!
posted by symbioid at 7:14 AM on February 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


Point 1: Freddie Mercury was the most rock and roll frontman of all time.
Point 2: Seriously, brahs. He was so the best.
Point 3: This guy should be fronting the band, not Lambert.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:16 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


(hi-fives symbioid)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:16 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was all set to hate on Adam Lambert fronting Queen when I heard about the reunion, but then I hit pause on my auto-hate-everything-American-Idol and listened to him singing with Queen, and have to admit that since Freddie's not around to do it, he's decent. And props to his gumption; that takes grit.

On preview, yeah, symbiod & (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oats, that guy's really good!
posted by smirkette at 7:17 AM on February 29, 2012


He was definitely Freddie, not Freddy.

Also, don't forget Brian May's star turn on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Golden Jubilee in 2002. Keeping the dream alive, man.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:18 AM on February 29, 2012


GET THIS GUY!

I...can't believe they didn't. I was so sure it was gonna be him I didn't even click on the American Idol link.

This is why we can't have nice Queen.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:20 AM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


That guy was awesome, but he wimped out right at the really awesome part near the end.
posted by DU at 7:21 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF? He also nixes that section in the Ellen appearance. Does he just not have the bass end of the range?
posted by DU at 7:22 AM on February 29, 2012


There can be only one!
posted by Artw at 7:22 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not only is Brain May a certified guitar god, he is also is a certified PhD in astrophysics. :bows down to supreme awesomeness:
posted by smirkette at 7:23 AM on February 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


So is this rock-and-roll baby born at the show considered to be the reincarnation of a long line of rockers who are believed to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of rock?
That's why they're looking, right?
posted by Floydd at 7:32 AM on February 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


smuggled in using Trojan like tactics

I see what they did there...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


More on the awesomeness of Brian May.

He makes me feel small.
posted by chairface at 7:56 AM on February 29, 2012


This is depressing. Brian May is 65 years old and instead of being able to retire on all the money that Queen generated during its heyday, he's gotta go out on tour and flog tickets and tee-shirts in his old age.
posted by three blind mice at 8:10 AM on February 29, 2012


If you love to play, three blind mice, it's not depressing at all. My own father is a musician, he's just over 60 himself, and he still loves playing. In recent years he's gotten to play blues festivals in Switzerland, in Belgium, all over the US -- something that his day job would have never allowed him to do. And besides, it's not like Brian May's being crammed into the back of his mom's minivan or something, I imagine touring as a member of Queen is quite a bit more comfortable.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:17 AM on February 29, 2012


Well, that just goes to show that science jobs don't pay. Kids, practice your music lessons!
posted by Xoebe at 8:24 AM on February 29, 2012


GET THIS GUY!

Wouldn't you rather have someone new and a little different than a straight-up Freddie impersonator?
posted by hermitosis at 8:27 AM on February 29, 2012


No.
posted by SharkParty at 8:30 AM on February 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


They are always issuing press releases about which poor hate-antenna is going to unsatisfactorily take on the challenge of singing these songs live, but it's not so easy to find info on the touring bassist. John Deacon was no slouch, man!! Let's hear some controversy about whatever sap is gonna screw up the most critical aspect of "Another One Bites The Dust"!
posted by SharkParty at 8:34 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


symbioid: "If they're gonna have someone fronting them, fuck an American Idol guy ...

GET THIS GUY!
"

OK, so that's the power of Queen's (nee Freddie's) music. At first I wasn't really into it. Then I watched him sing and I'm like "huh, he's pretty good". And by the end he's somehow a sex god. What is that?
posted by This Guy at 8:40 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Queen is looking for very special twenty-five year old.

Totally disappointed by this bait-and-switch headline. Was really happy for QE2.

he's gotta go out on tour and flog tickets and tee-shirts in his old age

Yes, that's the only reason a person so good at what they do they were able to bask in the love of millions would go back and do it again.
posted by yerfatma at 8:41 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you love to play, three blind mice, it's not depressing at all.

It's not depressing that he's playing, it's depressing that he has to work so hard at 65 after having so much success in his professional career.

But i guess since the trend is that people are going to be forced to work longer before retiring, we all might as well get used to it.
posted by three blind mice at 8:41 AM on February 29, 2012


Was I the only one hoping it would be Mika?
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:48 AM on February 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


Wouldn't you rather have someone new and a little different than a straight-up Freddie impersonator?

I agree. I mean I've seen cover bands at the local pub where people do great impressions and it's cool but it's a novelty. Freddie's dead baby. Freddie's dead.
posted by solmyjuice at 8:48 AM on February 29, 2012


He works hard
(He works hard)
Every day of his life...
posted by ShutterBun at 8:48 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't you rather have someone new and a little different than a straight-up Freddie impersonator?

I'm inclined to agree with "no", but upon reflection, I remember seeing Bowie perform Under Pressure on his 1995 tour with Gail Ann Dorsey and I still got chills.

But still, when someone's got the timbre and range of Freddie's matched *so* accurately, it would be hard to resist going to see them, and just squint and pretend.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:56 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


May is a millionaire many times over. If he is doing this for the money, it's not because he's run out.
posted by Optamystic at 8:59 AM on February 29, 2012


I still prefer the early stuff.
posted by philip-random at 9:05 AM on February 29, 2012


Also, is this where I can put this? Don't stop me now! (Accompaniment)
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:06 AM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If he is doing this for the money, it's not because he's run out.

He's doing it so he can secure a seat on Richard Branson's rocketship, which will be leaving the earth forever mere seconds before the entire planet explodes.
posted by philip-random at 9:07 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Weirdly enough, I had just ordered this shirt before coming to the thread to second a 'get Mika to sing with Queen!' movement.

Also, am I the only one slightly creeped out by the math involved in the last sentence here?

"Queen are returning to Knebworth this July and as part of the celebrations we are looking to locate the baby that was born back in 1986.

Do you know the person? Are you friends of the parents? Are you the child of that rock 'n' roll baby?"

Are they expecting a two year old to respond to their blog post, or are they expecting the concert kid to have sired progeny like 12 years ago, at the age of 13?
posted by FatherDagon at 9:10 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just can't hate Adam Lambert. The guy went from wondering how he was going to afford diapers for his kid to singing with fracking Queen in two years.
posted by COD at 9:23 AM on February 29, 2012


Wait - Adam Lambert - not the metal guy. Shit - wrong American Idol guy that can wail on a rock song. Never mind....
posted by COD at 9:24 AM on February 29, 2012


I was seriously wondering how this "Adam Lambert has a baby" thing had escaped my notice.
posted by This Guy at 9:29 AM on February 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, I followed links, and don't see anything about the aformentioned trojan horse attendee in any of them. How do we know they didn't just make this up?
posted by MikeWarot at 9:32 AM on February 29, 2012


Maybe there's a secret society of now-grown babies born at famous, or infamous, rock concert. Or maybe there ought to be.
posted by mareli at 9:36 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy fuck, I was at that show. I still have the ticket. They were fucking awesome that day, and Freddy was on top form.
posted by Decani at 9:38 AM on February 29, 2012


Freddie. Gah.
posted by Decani at 9:39 AM on February 29, 2012


Do you know the person? Are you friends of the parents? Are you the child of that rock 'n' roll baby?"

Are they expecting a two year old to respond to their blog post,


If I were the person born at that show, and if I had a two-year old, I would totally respond to this with a crayon note "from" my daughter saying, "Deer, Mistor May. My Daddy is the babby your looking for. LUV ELIE. P.S. -- Would you autograph my copy of your dissertation on startdust?"
posted by straight at 9:53 AM on February 29, 2012


That MIKA kid just nails it. Some of those lines he's practically channeling Freddie. But he's a little fey for fronting Queen. The thing with Freddie he could be cooing to the audience and calling them "my darlings" and then flip a switch to just ROARING "Tie Your Mother Down". Not many singers can sing ornate pop, music hall, and then just go into metal god mode with the complete and utter conviction like Mercury could.
posted by Ber at 9:56 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's doing it so he can secure a seat on Richard Branson's rocketship, which will be leaving the earth forever mere seconds before the entire planet explodes.

That raises quite a dilemma. On the one hand, stuck on a rocketship for the rest of forever with Brian May - and hopefully a guitar or two. On the other hand, stuck on a rocketship for the rest of forever with Richard Branson and what I can only assume would be an entourage of several of the most insufferable prima donnas in the universe.
posted by The World Famous at 10:14 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there was anyone born or conceived at Woodstock.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:29 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not depressing that he's playing, it's depressing that he has to work so hard at 65 after having so much success in his professional career.

I just assumed this was hamburger. If Brian May so desired, I've no doubt he could afford to light a cigar with £100 notes for the rest of his life.

As to Woodstock, three died and two were born by this account.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:57 AM on February 29, 2012


Figured this would happen when Lambert and Queen played "We Are the Champions" on the American Idol finale. Technically Kris Allen played it as well... but if you saw it or have seen the video, May couldn't take his eyes off Lambert and had a huge smile plastered on his face. Allen might as well not have been there. (Which is why I'm glad Simon Cowell decided just to finish his contract out and quit when Allen won.) But if you saw that performance you know why this happened; there was obviously something clicking between Lambert and the other guys from Queen.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on February 29, 2012


Wait, Faith No More are touring now? I never should have canceled my subscription to Gen-X Quarterly. It's so hard to keep up with the retro trends.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:58 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm inclined to agree with "no", but upon reflection, I remember seeing Bowie perform Under Pressure on his 1995 tour with Gail Ann Dorsey and I still got chills.

God, that was one of the highlights of the Bowie concert I saw. Gail did a fantastic job singing Freddie's parts. After the song, Bowie said "Freddie couldn't make it tonight, so in his stead we've got Gail Ann Dorsey." Some dust just happened to land in my eye at that exact moment; funny how that works.

I love Gail. I wonder what she's been up to now that Bowie's on indefinite hiatus? Hell, Queen should've asked her to be the frontperson instead of Adam Lambert (I can appreciate his talents, but I'm really not a big fan of how he sings). And recruiting Gail would've taken care of the need for a singer and a bassist, as she's more than capable of both. Ah well.
posted by kryptondog at 12:58 PM on February 29, 2012


Queen, the band whose utter, disgusting cynicism finally buried rock music, digs up its corpse to fuck it one more time for a fee.
posted by howfar at 2:41 PM on February 29, 2012


Yeesh... I'm not a huge fan of the resurrected Queen but I can't let that be that last comment.
posted by SharkParty at 7:51 PM on February 29, 2012


Queen, the band whose utter, disgusting cynicism finally buried rock music,

Link is to a 2005 Guardian article that dares to remind us that back in the 80s, about a year before their big deal Live Aid performance (and it was amazing), Queen were one of a handful of big deal rock acts to ignore concerns about Apartheid in South Africa and play a series of gigs in an artificial paradise called Sun City.
posted by philip-random at 8:00 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was a tory, wasn't he?

Anyweay, shitty, shitty thing to do. But these days people get Oscars for playing Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan is a saint, so good luck getting anyone to care about folk who only did a little to prop up the Apartheid regime.
posted by Artw at 11:31 PM on February 29, 2012


Yes, no-one else cares about Queen at Sun City. I do. I think other people should do too. Queen wanted the money then, they still do. No matter the number of Live Aids, no matter the number of degrees Brian May earns, Queen will always hold a special place in my hate as the band who, in a crowded field, did the most to make cynical careerism the highest value of rock.

But your views on this are up to you. I feel no need to have a nigh on 30 year old argument again, but I do feel the need to mention it. Enjoy the tunes.
posted by howfar at 4:43 AM on March 1, 2012


I find I can hate an artist's politics and still be blown away by their art. It's actually one of those things that gives me hope -- the idea that buried in the heart of some loud mouth bigot is a reservoir of unlimited beauty. We humans are complicated beasts.

Which doesn't mean we shouldn't call people on their bullshit. We should. Let's just not condemn them absolutely. Or as Freddie himself put it, "Leave it in the lap of Gods"
posted by philip-random at 12:40 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't disagree with that sentiment. In the end, my anger is personal, and connected as much with my political history and hang-ups as anything about the Sun City gigs as a particular act of wrongdoing. I also don't know how any member of Queen feels, and in the end it's up to them to make their own peace with the universe. They didn't harm me, and it's not my place to forgive or condemn, if it is ever the place of anyone to condemn anyone else. But the anger is real, and it remains, and I feel justified in expressing it.
posted by howfar at 2:55 PM on March 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, no one can deny they played Sun City and, judging by that Guardian article, no one can deny they knew the moral implications of that*, so I guess - as a Queen fan (a group in which I'd include myself) you have to make your peace with those facts as best you can.

*"We've thought a lot about the morals of it a lot," claimed Brian May at the time, long alleged to be one of the cleverest men in rock, "and it is something we've decided to do. The band is not political - we play to anybody who wants to come and listen." "Throughout our career we've been a very non-political group," said bassist John Deacon (aka The Other One). "We enjoy going to new places. We've toured America and Europe so many times that it's nice to go somewhere different ... I know there can be a bit of fuss, but apparently we're very popular down there ... Basically, we want to play wherever fans want to see us."
posted by stinkycheese at 3:06 PM on March 1, 2012


Queen wanted the money then, they still do.

I think one can condemn Queen's decision to break the boycott without making the silly assertion that they did so "for the money," as if they were unable to make lots of money playing everywhere else.

Similarly, the idea that this latest tour is motivated primarily by Queen's desire for more money is a bizarre and extraordinary assertion that requires some evidence.
posted by straight at 5:25 PM on March 1, 2012


I think one can condemn Queen's decision to break the boycott without making the silly assertion that they did so "for the money,"

The alternative is unthinkable. The idea that they thought playing in apartheid South Africa was somehow a moral decision means we give Ph.Ds to morons.
posted by howfar at 8:02 PM on March 1, 2012


Maybe they didn't agree that the boycott was an effective way to end apartheid. They probably didn't think playing there or not playing there would actually have a significant impact on apartheid one way or the other.

I think they like playing music for crowds of enthusiastic fans and they'd never been to South Africa so they thought it would be fun to go there and do that. Yes, they make money from touring, but I seriously doubt the decision to go to South Africa instead of say Australia or Japan was primarily a financial one.

It's possible that if enough artists had done that, the boycott would have unraveled, which might possibly have delayed the end of apartheid. But that didn't happen, so what Queen did, while maybe thoughtless and reckless, doesn't seem to have actually hurt anyone.
posted by straight at 9:56 PM on March 1, 2012


Check out Adam Lambert performing with Queen at the 2012 EMAs before making a final opinion. I'm a bit of a fan, but I think he did a great job for just a day's rehearsal. And obviously Brian & Roger felt that he was up to the task since they've asked him to perform with them at select additional concerts as well.
posted by lychee at 10:47 PM on March 1, 2012


I find myself wondering if Bebe Neuwirth is suddenly experiencing an uptick in interest.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:59 PM on March 1, 2012


In the end, straight, my feelings about Sun City and Queen's feelings are separate things. Maybe they thought it didn't matter, I think they were wrong in that, and the SA government at the time appeared to too. Certainly musicians were making their feelings well known internationally. Apartheid was a defining issue of the era, perhaps particularly in Britain, and the idea of being ambivalent to the political implications of breaking the cultural embargo seems almost implausibly naïve. It actually seems more likely that May, good Tory that he was, shared the view of many in his party, including our current Prime Minister, that apartheid itself was no big deal. Hell, many Conservatives openly supported it. Members of the Conservative Students used to wear "Hang Nelson Mandela" badges and put up posters to that effect. The "did it for the money" interpretation really is the charitable one.

Just to add, the key thing about cultural embargoes is that they are a form of sanction that have a disproportionate effect upon the rich. They may not be much of a weapon, but look at the alternatives.
posted by howfar at 6:00 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Leaving aside the Sun City issue, I think there are few ideas odder than that people who play in rock bands are, or should be, otherworldly saints, devoted to their Art. It's just weird. As far as I am concerned, rock has always been about getting asses moving on the dance floor, and leaving with a suitcase full of cash, and that's OK.
posted by thelonius at 12:56 PM on March 2, 2012


The "did it for the money" interpretation really is the charitable one.

I just can't think of how it could be true. Was South Africa so desperate for foreign artists that they paid Queen vastly more money than they would have made at any other live show?
posted by straight at 1:19 PM on March 2, 2012


The idea that they thought playing in apartheid South Africa was somehow a moral decision means we give Ph.Ds to morons.

I take it you don't know too many Ph.Ds....
posted by Floydd at 2:00 PM on March 2, 2012


Well straight, I think I've explained quite clearly what I think the other motivation for thinking it was a OK to play Sun City might be, and it is not the sort of motivation I'd like to impute to anyone without evidence, so I give Queen the benefit of the doubt in assuming they were merely avaricious.

I've also made clear that my anger is my own issue, and that, while I stand by my feelings about Queen, I'm not going to tell anyone else how they should feel. If you think what they did was fine then, well, you think that. I don't.
posted by howfar at 2:16 PM on March 2, 2012


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