Friday, July 18, 2014

Best Date Ever

It started probably close to thirty years ago. Somewhere, in our basement, in the rack of cassette tapes, there was a pirated copy of Queen's Greatest Hits. My eldest brother had recorded it from somewhere and penciled in the names of the songs in his block handwriting.

Occasionally, we listened to this cassette and the songs became part of my childhood. Part of the MTV generation, I remember watching bits and pieces from Live Aid. I listened to my other brother's Iron Eagle soundtrack just to hear 'One Vision.'


By 1991, I was a Queen fan. I owned the album, Innuendo, and played the shit out of it (the cassette tape, of course). My brother had given me the VHS of Queen Live at Wembley '86 for my birthday. I killed time in my sophomore English class by writing out all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. It was more entertaining than paying attention (sorry Mr. DiPrimio). Then, I remember with heartbreak, coming home from school one Monday in November to hear that Freddy Mercury had died. I wept that day. I was a naive child (just shy of 16) and could not fathom how he could just be diagnosed with AIDS one day and die the next.

I was heartbroken because I would never get to see Queen.

But my love of them did not die. I stayed home on a Saturday that following April and recorded the whole tribute concert. While I know they did a good job, it was not the same. No one could ever compare to Freddy Mercury in my book. I was very involved in summer theater, and was thrilled to find people there who loved them as much as I did (again, being naive, never really made that connection). The cassettes stayed on high rotation in my beat-up old Ford Escort's tape player.

Fast forward a few decades. I have replaced my cassettes with CD's. I make my kids listen to them. They make my father listen to them. And then, on my Facebook feed, it appears. Queen is touring with Adam Lambert. I know, without a doubt, that I have to go. I mentally marked the day in my head that tickets would go on sale--February 28th--and informed my husband.

Now, he's a bit older than I am. He knows many of the older songs, and I even catch him singing along. We've watched several Queen biographies on TV together, so I never even questioned whether he would want to go to this concert. I went online on February 28 and (after consulting with him about Madison Square Garden or Mohican Sun), bought the tickets.

It's been at the back of my mind recently, that this concert was coming up. Well, it finally got here. Last minute, we decided to drive to NYC. It was great until we hit the Lincoln Tunnel, which took us about an hour to get through. We found out hotel without difficulty, including the parking facility across the street. We were only two blocks from MSG, so it was perfect. It never really occurred to me until, after listening and singing along to Greatest Hits I and II on the way down that the hubs is not really a huge Queen fan. But he is a good sport.

The show was phenomenal. Adam Lambert is certainly a gifted vocalist. To me, he lacks some of the stage presence that Freddy Mercury possessed, but no one will ever replace Freddy.


I tried to record this song for my friend, as it is her favorite. I'm going to blame my crappy phone for letting me down, but know it probably had more to do with my beer consumption.


I knew most of the set list, but the most touching moments were when Brian May and the audience sang 'Love of My Life' and got teary eyed at the end of it. It contained some of this video which made the crowd roar.


Also, Roger Taylor singing 'These are the Days of Our Life' from Innuendo had me in tears. This is not from the MSG show, but is from the tour. I was crying during this one, for sure.



It was just such a great show. I'd go and see it again and again if I could. We couldn't have asked for a better day, which included perfect weather, a clean hotel with a free breakfast, a leisurely stroll around Chelsea and the Village and an uneventful drive home.

So, after a good twenty years, I've now had the perfect date. Seeing the band of my dreams with my partner in crime. It's going to be hard to top this one. I don't even want to try. 

(But I do have to put in one more video from last night, just because I love the song so much.)



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