Posts Tagged ‘Queen’

Footloose, 1984

Imagine moving to a small town where dancing was illegal. No way to let loose, destress, have a good time. Well that’s exactly what happened to Ren McCormack (played magnificently by Kevin Bacon,) in this 80s classic. What makes it one of the best- aside from the incredible moves – is how the entire movie is spent convincing people about the power of music and dancing. That’s something we should never forget.


Bohemian Rhapsody, 2018

A biopic of Queen, and lead singer Freddie Mercury (played perfectly by Rami Malek.) The amount of time, energy and detail that went into these characters was incredible. Malek was able to match Mercury’s mannerisms flawlessly and even though I never saw Queen perform live, but after seeing this movie, it felt like I had.


La Bamba, 1987

The story of the life and times of 50s rock musician Ritchie Valens (played iconically by Lou Diamond Phillips,) who quickly rises to fame, and – spoiler alert – just as quickly dies tragically in a plane crash, at age 17. This was one of my favourite scenes because I got my first glimpse at the overwhelming process of recording a track in a studio.


Empire Records, 1995

A movie about a group of teenagers working at a record store spoke to me on so many levels, but mostly because my dream job at that time was to work at a record store. Plus, it has a killer soundtrack.


Selena, 1997

This movie about Latin American popstar Selena Quintanilla (played beautifully by Jennifer Lopez) is one of my favourite biographies. You feel like you really knew her by the end of it, so when you find out – spoiler alert – she dies, your’e just as devastated as her entire family. I fell in love with her and her music after watching this movie, and am sure you will too.


Straight Outta Compton, 2015

I learned so much about the history of rap music, and the political backdrop that served to inspire and influence N.W.A.’s music. I’m admittedly not well versed in rap music, but I was intrigued by this film and engrossed the entire time. It was very well done; an instant must-see classic in my books.


Detroit Rock City, 1999

The story about a group of teenage boys, who do whatever they can to get tickets to a Kiss concert in 1978. If you idolize any band, this movie will resonate loudly. It’s full of heart, humour, friendship, and that pure love of rock ‘n roll.


Almost Famous, 2000

As another shout out to my dream job. In 1973, an innocent 15-year-old William (played remarkably by Patrick Fugit,) gets the opportunity to go on tour with a band to interview them; as assigned by Rolling Stone magazine. He gets wrapped up in road life, groupies, partying and basically gets to live like a rock star. Who wouldn’t want to be him?





In this part of the Live Series, I take a look at the concerts that got away. Those shows that somehow eluded me, and now I’ll always be left in the world of what could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve been.

Michael Jackson

This is obvious. I always assumed I would see him, but alas.


There is something so comforting about these guys. I have many memories attached to their music, and their classic sound is filled with nostalgia, making them feel like lifelong friends. The familiarity in their music never fails to warm me up inside. Yet, between 1994 and 2008, they played 12 live shows in Toronto, and I couldn’t find the time in my busy, self-absorbed life, to go see them live. They broke up in 2009, and I will never forgive myself for missing out on something that should’ve happened.


I’ll start right away with admitting that I have seen Coldplay live. Once in either 2006 or 2008 for either the X&Y or Viva La Vida tour; once accidentally in 2011 at Lollapalooza. Here’s the thing: everything Coldplay did post- X&Y isn’t worth listening to. That’s when they sold out, changed their sound to appeal to the masses, and lost what truly made them unique, truly made them Coldplay. I didn’t really fall for them until their sophomore album A Rush of Blood to the Head, released August 2002. In September 2002, they breezed through Toronto, and I was offered a free ticket. I could’ve seen them at their peak, but like an idiot, I declined. By October 2002, I was obsessed with them, and I haven’t stopped kicking myself since.


Also, an obvious one. They played such a huge role in my musical upbringing, my childhood/adolescence, my pre-teen angst. Since their career was short-lived due to Kurt Cobain’s untimely death, I always wonder how amazing it would’ve been to witness them live. They only came to Toronto 3 times between 1990 and 1993; the Nevermind tour happened at the Opera House. Can you even imagine how historic that would’ve been?


Queen played a total of 7 live shows in Toronto from 1977-1982, making it impossible for me to have ever attended. But man, it would’ve been a dream. Their music alone would be reason enough to go, but with Freddie Mercury on the mic, his showmanship on display, and the band’s music live, all amongst a giant crowd: that would’ve been music at its best.

Live shows give fans a front row seat to the passion, the focus, the energy of their favourite musicians. Live shows can also be unpredictable. Bands can change the album version of a track by making it louder, slowing it down, playing it acoustically, or doing it a cappella, for example. To elevate the show further, some bands will call on other musicians to perform with them on stage, giving fans a rare glimpse into the true art of collaboration. Here are some of my favourites.

“Under Pressure” – Queen, David Bowie and Annie Lennox. Wembley Stadium, London. 1992.

Queen and Bowie originally recorded this track in 1981. In 1991, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury passed away. He was most well known for his eccentricity in his stage presence, in his fashion, in his music. In 1992, the remaining members of Queen held The Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, where all proceeds went to fund AIDS research. They teamed up with a number of musicians, including Bowie and Lennox, who are both quite unique in their own right. From Lennox’s theatrics, to Bowie’s really green suit and oddly mismatched eyes, they gave one hell of a performance.

“Stan” – Eminem and Elton John. Grammy Awards. 2001.

Eminem surprised fans and I’m pretty sure the entire industry when he agreed to do a duet with Elton John. It was such a big deal because at the time, Eminem was being heavily criticized for his homophobic lyrics/attitude. To quiet all the naysayers, in lieu of Dido, he chose openly gay piano-playing Elton John to accompany him on his track “Stan,” at the 2001 Grammy Awards. It was a big moment for everyone, and they even hugged it out and held hands at the end. Take that haters.

“All Along the Watchtower” – Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. St. Paul, Minnesota. 2004.

In 2004, a slew of musicians got together for the Vote for Change Tour. The purpose was to play in all the swing states to encourage them to vote. The line up was different in every city, and St. Paul was the only one lucky enough to see these two rock Gods tackle rock legend Bob Dylan’s eternal classic. They share a mic, play guitar facing each other, and just seem like they’re having the best time ever. It’s kind of bromantic. Not to mention, they’re both over the age of 60, and manage to rock out like they’re still teenagers. Impressive.

“Crush” – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. Radio City Music Hall, NYC. 2007.

Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band is a genius on the acoustic guitar. Tim Reynolds is even better. He can master that instrument like nobody’s business. When you put the two of them together at Radio City Music Hall, what you get is pure ecstasy. Reynolds’ solos are fantastically fanatic, yet it’s as if he’s not even trying. Possibly one of the best versions of this DMB track I’ve ever heard; gives me chills every time.

“Glycerine” – Bush and Gwen Stefani. Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles. 2012.

Gavin Rossdale of 90s post-grunge band Bush married Gwen Stefani of 90s rock band No Doubt. He was probably the sexiest man alive at the time and she, the sexiest woman. They created two gorgeous children, and after a ten year hiatus, Rossdale reunited the band and went on tour to support 2011’s The Sea of Memories. At a stopover at the Gibson Amphitheatre in L.A., the darling Gwen Stefani joined them on stage and she and her dear husband performed together. And it was adorable. They gushed over each other but it wasn’t gross; it was just so darn cute because everything about this couple is perfect. For someone who grew up in the 90s, this is a treat and a half.