Freddie: The Phenomenon Story is a celebration of the life of one of, if not, the greatest performers to every walk the earth, Freddie Mercury.
Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, was the son of Indian parents who had left British India to work in the consulate of Zanzibar. He attended boarding school in India, where he continued mastering the piano, along with is studies; even starting a school band at the age of twelve. In 1964, at the age of seventeen he and his family fled to England to avoid the turmoil of the Zanzibar Revolution. It wasn’t until 1970 when he and guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, who were formerly in a band called Smile, and Queen was born.
Queen’s music though loud and heart pumping, was the opposite of how the lead singer carried himself in private. His close friend and family relay that Freddie was a quiet, even shy man who was usually in the background. Yet like most singers, Freddie Mercury used the music as his own release. His life onstage and the “Mercury” persona took over his real life. Lavish parties, drugs and meaningless sex soon became a reoccurring theme in his life. In the documentary, band mates noted that these were “wretched excess”. His music never suffered, even in his later days, he still put on some of the best performances of his life.
One repeated theme in the film is about Freddie’s sexuality. While everyone who met him knew he was gay, Mercury never openly admitted to it. His close friend who spoke in the film not that it was because he never wanted to be the face of the gay movement that was occurring at that time. He didn’t try to hide it, yet he never spoke of his private life. Though there was speculation of when, it was noted in the film that in Easter of 1987, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS. He continued to deny the he was sick, but the public knew something was wrong: Mercury’s health was deteriorating. On the evening of 24 November 1991, Mercury died at the age of 45 at his home.
“ His biggest regret was that he still had music in him when he died.” Peter Freestone (Mercury’s personal assistant.)
While this documentary spent much time talking about Mercury’s life, it did touch on his performing talent. Apparently at the start if his life, his voice as a liked to that of a bleating sheep. This almost seems ridiculous. As a fan, one of the things that drew me to the band was the power of Mercury’s voice is so inhuman and almost Godlike. When he holds the note in “Somebody to Love” I still get goose bumps even to this day. Even in live performances, His voice never seemed to sound like it lost strength.
While his voice was second to none, so was his showmanship. Personally, I’ve seen artists perform from many genres of music, but never have I seen someone command an audience like him. The 1986 Queen segment in the Live Aid music show was the most powerful twenty minutes of music I have ever seen. Bands like Zeppelin, U2 and the Who put a strong effort, yet Queen stole the show under Mercury’s lead. During the closing of “We are the Champions” the entire audience was singing along and waving with the music. Freddie Mercury was simply a Rock God.
“I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend” Freddie Mercury
When I was growing up, I probably would have never listened to Queen. I was influenced by the area and the time I grew up so my taste was strictly into Rap artists like Eminem and Rock bands like Metallica and Nirvana. I happened upon someone doing a cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and when I watched the actually band perform it dulled everything I have ever seen in comparison. It is a pity I was never alive to see Mercury perform. I think todays artist are lucky with all the amplification and distortion of sound that the can do to make their voice, their instrument and their sound, better. Freddie Mercury put it all on the line when he performed. All he had been his voice, his talent, and his passion for music.