By: Meghan Burgos
I always knew I was a star, and now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." -Freddie Mercury
On July 13th in the year of 1985, Queen played Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. None of the 1.5 billion people who watched worldwide had any idea that this would be the last of Freddie Mercury. After the last announcer uttered the name Queen, it would be uttered by the millions of fans long after the music fades.
Freddie Mercury is more than a household name. So much so in fact, he was barely tolerated in his own household under the disapproving glares of his father. The power Freddie had and still has rings in the atmosphere every time Bohemian Rhapsody is played or someone is caught defying all odds like Freddie did not so long ago. It is those kind of things, being a somebody to a nobody and daring to carry a red umbrella on a sunny day that gets movies made based off of them, and millions of people passing the lyrics that whispered sweetly in their ears to the ears of their children. It is November 4th, 2018, almost 50 years since the band formed in 1970 and just about 26 years since Freddie Mercury walked the earth. “Bohemian Rhapsody” a praise to Queen, has been out for a mere couple days, and has already been viewed by the fans who fell in love with them in the very beginning.
Anyone who watches the film who wasn’t a fan of Queen by the time it starts, will be by the time it ends. Already within the first five minutes, audiences get a glimpse of Freddie's personality showing his cats all in a row and his various paintings as he struts out the door like he knew he was the biggest rockstar of the century. Seeing what the band turns out to be by showing the millions that attended Live Aid, we then go back to the very beginning. The beginning where long haired Freddie was his own queen, and not anybody else's. The future for Freddie was blurred to everyone but him. It goes without saying that Freddie had a vision of what he would become, and did anything to get there. Freddie was a go-getter, he refused to sit around at home waiting for something good to come knocking on his door. He followed the same band around until they became his bandmates, and soon enough, Queen was born. The name itself meant whatever Freddie wanted it to mean. As he says in the film, it was outrageous (for the time, now everyone drops the word on anything even the tiniest bit miraculous) and there was no one more outrageous than him. When it came to Queens sound, no one back then and no one today would ever come close to being on the same playing field as the band. They simply played all positions and experimented with each one. Anyone with a guitar who can sing what they were put on this earth to say seems to “make it” in one way or another, but Queen didn't just make it, they defined it. Genre mixing and using everyday items on basic instruments to make musical masterpieces will always be known as Queen for years to come, and music, as they knew it, would never be the same again.
Despite being the biggest talked about name, Freddie didn’t know his. Throughout the film he struggled with his sexuality and the people around him. He found himself caught between what he was expected to be and what he actually was in society. Everyone knew there was no individual like Freddie Mercury, but who was he? It's easier to say what he wasn’t rather than what he was, and Freddie Mercury did not fall in line. Of course like most rockstars, he let the spotlight blind him until he isolated himself with the wrong people. Going blind into things was common for the band, but the problem with not seeing is that it could lead you in the wrong direction, and for Freddie, it did. The film describes him leaving in unlikely ways, and reconnecting later on. The one thing about Freddie that is common throughout the whole film is that he always knew deep down who he really was, and he never let it go. For a while, being lost was part of Freddie's look. He was a misfit who didn’t belong singing to other misfits who felt that they didn’t belong either. He embraced how he was through style and through music. But with human nature comes pain, and it was often difficult to navigate through loneliness. Between finding the love of his life Mary, and his soulmate Jim, he lingered with faceless men looking for a feeling. He shows us that anyone could be the most famous personality in the world and still feel like they’re under it. The darkness always finds a way to seep back into someones life, and even when Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS he chose to make the most of it. After all, he didn’t have any aspirations to become 70. He thought dullness was a disease, but continued to be far from dull. In the films entirety, Freddie Mercury was truly lost and found.
After the bands break and getting back together just an odd week short of the biggest performance of their careers, they proved what they could really do. As if all the albums and tours leading up to this moment was just a small added summarization of what they accomplished. Live Aid wrapped all of it up, and topped it with a bow after “We Are The Champions” ended the set. Queen has always had the energy and potential to be the greatest band in the world. Any pretty face can get up on stage and sing their hearts out. But it takes a band like Queen to make them more than what anyone has ever imagined. It was never just a band and their fans. It was a family.
“We’re four misfits who don’t belong together. We’re playing for other misfits. And the outcasts right in the back of the room, we’re pretty sure don’t belong either. We belong to them.”