The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

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The AIDS charity concert staged by the surviving members of Queen on April 20, 1992, at Wembley Stadium was an appropriate send-off for the band's late lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who had succumbed to the disease five months earlier. The flamboyant Mercury was always in his element before gigantic crowds like the one that filled Wembley one last time, and his stand-ins for the occasion -- Gary Cherone (then of Extreme), Roger Daltrey, Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), James Hetfield (Metallica), Elton John, Annie Lennox, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Robert Plant, Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses), Seal, Lisa Stansfield, Paul Young, and Zucchero -- were artists who both knew how to work such audiences and also had at least some of his flair for performing. Some, indeed, went too far, with Cherone, for example, turning in a hyperactive display during "Hammer to Fall." All brought their personal styles and interpretations, sometimes to telling effect, such as Minnelli's wry reading of the line "Mistakes, I've made a few" in "We Are the Champions." (David Bowie, who appeared on three songs, can't really be called a Mercury stand-in, since he only sang his own part in "Under Pressure," followed by his own songs "All the Young Dudes" [featuring Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter] and "Heroes.") In the hour-long documentary accompanying the 105-minute concert on this double DVD released to mark the concert's tenth anniversary, Plant notes that none of the performers could sing Queen's songs as well as Mercury -- and in the right keys -- but they often provide interesting glosses on those songs, making this a valuable document for Queen fans, apart from the charity aspect. They may, however, long for more of Mercury himself than the brief video collages used to tide the Wembley crowd over during set changes that are included on the second disc.

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