The Freddie Mercury tribute concert: A guide to the greatest gig of the ‘90s

1 March 2021, 17:56 | Updated: 1 March 2021, 18:02

The Freddie Mercury Tribute concert saw the George Michael and Lisa Stansfield (top) join stars including David Bowie and Annie Lennox in celebrating the life of the Queen frontman.
The Freddie Mercury Tribute concert saw the George Michael and Lisa Stansfield (top) join stars including David Bowie and Annie Lennox (bottom) in celebrating the life of the Queen frontman. Picture: Getty

Where the gig took place, who performed, how many watched and the legacy it left behind: Everything you need to know about one of the greatest concerts in living memory.

Freddie Mercury's death from AIDS on November 24, 1991 was mourned the world over.

The Queen frontman's untimely passing lead to such an outpouring of grief across the globe that his bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon decided Freddie needed a memorial like no other.

See more: Freddie Mercury vs Crowd: When the Queen frontman challenged his fans to a spine-tingling sing-off

Within six months of Freddie Mercury's death, a tribute concert was arranged where the greatest performers from music and stage were invited to give tribute to the Queen star for one last time.

The concert celebrated the life and legacy of the star and was also a benefit concert for AIDS Awareness, with proceeds going to raise money for AIDS research and spread awareness about the disease.

See more: Queen: Freddie Mercury sings to 'soulmate' Mary Austin in touching footage from 1986 - video

Here we bring you everything you need to know about 1992's sensational Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert...

Performers from across the world descended on London for the special one-off Freddie Mercury tribute gig, pictured.
Performers from across the world descended on London for the special one-off Freddie Mercury tribute gig, pictured. Picture: Getty
Within six months of Freddie Mercury's death, a tribute concert was arranged where the greatest performers from music and stage were invited to give tribute to the Queen star for one last time. Pictured, Queen.
Within six months of Freddie Mercury's death, a tribute concert was arranged where the greatest performers from music and stage were invited to give tribute to the Queen star for one last time. Pictured, Queen. Picture: Getty
  1. Where and when did the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert take place?

    A handful of months after Freddie Mercury's death on November 24, 1991 the remaining band members of Queen decided on a date to pay tribute to the late frontman.

    See more: Freddie Mercury's death: Longtime assistant shares beautiful untold stories of the star's final days

    At the annual Brit Awards in February 1992, the band mates announced the plans for a tribute concert to take place on April 20, 1992.

    Queen's John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May on stage at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert
    Queen's John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May on stage at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert. Picture: Getty
    The concert was to be held at Wembley Stadium, the scene of one of Freddie Mercury's most outstanding and memorable performances; Live Aid in 1985 (pictured).
    The concert was to be held at Wembley Stadium, the scene of one of Freddie Mercury's most outstanding and memorable performances; Live Aid in 1985 (pictured). Picture: Getty

    The concert was to be held at Wembley Stadium, the scene of one of Freddie Mercury's most outstanding and memorable performances; Live Aid in 1985.

    See more: Queen: This side-by-side Live Aid comparison with Freddie Mercury and Rami Malek is incredible

    All 72,000 tickets were sold within three hours of going on sale, despite the fact no line-up of artists had yet been announced.

  2. Who performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert?

    The line-up at the concert was a veritable who's who of rock and pop music paying tribute to Freddie Mercury, with poignant tracks and covers of some of his greatest hits.

    Elton John and Axl Rose performing live onstage at Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
    Elton John and Axl Rose performing live onstage at Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Picture: Getty

    The show also marked the last time bassist John Deacon would perform a full-length concert with Queen before he left the band in 1997.

    See more: Roger Taylor explains why John Deacon quit Queen

    Highlights on the night included George Michael and Queen performing 'Someone To Love', (with the singer later revealing he was singing the song to his partner in the audience who was dying of AIDS), David Bowie and Annie Lennox singing 'Under Pressure' and Queen, Elton John and Axl Rose giving a stunning rendition of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

    Lisa Stansfield and George Michael perform on stage with Roger Taylor of Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 20th April 1992.
    Lisa Stansfield and George Michael perform on stage with Roger Taylor of Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 20th April 1992. Picture: Getty

    Other notable moments saw Queen and Paul Young performing 'Radio Gaga', Seal singing 'I Want To Break Free', Elizabeth Taylor giving an AIDS prevention speech and David Bowie reciting the Lord's Prayer.

    See more: George Michael impressing David Bowie and Seal with Freddie Mercury song is so powerful - video

    The huge list of other stars who gave performances or contributed to the concert included: Roger Daltrey, Spinal Tap, Bob Geldof, U2, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Robert Plant, Metallica, Lisa Stansfield, Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Gary Cherone and Tony Iommi.

    The incredible show culminated in Liza Minnelli leading the full line-up of stars in a  moving rendition of 'We Are The Champions'
    The incredible show culminated in Liza Minnelli leading the full line-up of stars in a moving rendition of 'We Are The Champions'. Picture: Getty

    The incredible show culminated in Liza Minnelli leading the full line-up of stars in a moving rendition of 'We Are The Champions' before the remaining band members of Queen led the crowd in a hugely emotional final chorus of 'God Save The Queen'.

    See more: Jaw-dropping moment Brian May played 'God Save The Queen' on the roof of Buckingham Palace

    Full list of performances:

    1. Metallica – "Enter Sandman", "Sad but True", "Nothing Else Matters"
    2. Extreme – Queen Medley, "More Than Words" (Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt)
    3. Def Leppard – "Animal", "Let's Get Rocked", "Now I'm Here" (with Brian May)
    4. Bob Geldof – "Too Late God"
    5. Spinal Tap – "The Majesty of Rock"
    6. U2 – "Until the End of the World" – played via satellite from Sacramento, California
    7. Guns N' Roses – "Paradise City", "Only Women Bleed", "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
    8. Mango Groove – "Special Star" – played via satellite from Johannesburg, South Africa
    9. Elizabeth Taylor – AIDS Prevention Speech
    10. Freddie Mercury – compilation of various interactions with the audience
    11. Queen + Joe Elliott and Slash – "Tie Your Mother Down"
    12. Queen + Roger Daltrey and Tony Iommi – "Heaven and Hell" (intro), "Pinball Wizard" (intro), "I Want It All"
    13. Queen + Zucchero – "Las Palabras de Amor"
    14. Queen + Gary Cherone and Tony Iommi – "Hammer to Fall"
    15. Queen + James Hetfield and Tony Iommi – "Stone Cold Crazy"
    16. Queen + Robert Plant – "Innuendo" (including parts of "Kashmir"), "Thank You" (intro), "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
    17. Brian May + Spike Edney – "Too Much Love Will Kill You"
    18. Queen + Paul Young – "Radio Ga Ga"
    19. Queen + Seal – "Who Wants to Live Forever"
    20. Queen + Lisa Stansfield – "I Want to Break Free"
    21. Queen + David Bowie and Annie Lennox – "Under Pressure"
    22. Queen + Ian Hunter, David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – "All the Young Dudes"
    23. Queen + David Bowie and Mick Ronson – "Heroes"
    24. David Bowie – "Lord's Prayer"
    25. Queen + George Michael – "'39"
    26. Queen + George Michael and Lisa Stansfield – "These Are the Days of Our Lives"
    27. Queen + George Michael – "Somebody to Love"
    28. Queen + Elton John and Axl Rose – "Bohemian Rhapsody" using the same light show as The Magic Tour from 1986 for the opera section, and vocals played from a tape using the original 1970s’ studio recording featuring Freddie Mercury.
    29. Queen + Elton John and Tony Iommi – "The Show Must Go On"
    30. Queen + Axl Rose – "We Will Rock You"
    31. Queen + Liza Minnelli, supported by everyone else who performed at the concert – "We Are the Champions"
    32. Queen – "God Save the Queen" (taped outro)
  3. How many people watched the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert?

    The concert was organised by Queen and their manager Jim Beach in a bid to raise awareness for AIDS research to and to reach as many people as possible.

    On the night the concert was watched by the 72,000 strong audience in Wembley Stadium and broadcast live on TV and Radio to 76 countries worldwide.

    The concert was watched by the 72,000 strong audience in Wembley Stadium (pictured) and broadcast live on TV and Radio to 76 countries worldwide.
    The concert was watched by the 72,000 strong audience in Wembley Stadium (pictured) and broadcast live on TV and Radio to 76 countries worldwide. Picture: Getty
    On May 15, 2020 Queen streamed the concert for 48 hours on their website in a bid to help raise funds for the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 relief fund. Pictured, David Bowie performing at the concert.
    On May 15, 2020 Queen streamed the concert for 48 hours on their website in a bid to help raise funds for the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 relief fund. Pictured, David Bowie performing at the concert. Picture: Getty

    Produced for television by Ray Burdis and directed by David Mallet, the show reached an estimated one billion people on the night and has been watched by countless more in the 29 years since its live broadcast.

    On May 15, 2020 Queen streamed the concert for 48 hours on their website in a bid to help raise funds for the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 relief fund.

  4. Where can you watch the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert?

    Whilst there are various short clips of the concert on YouTube, the full gig is three hours long and can be watched in high quality online.

    To watch the whole thing you can buy or rent the show from a selection of streaming platforms.

    The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is available on both YouTube and Google Play to rent or buy with prices starting at just £2.49.