The Show Must Go on | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 15.12.2001
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The Show Must Go on

And it will. Ten years after his death, the legendary Freddie Mercury is back with his rock group, Queen in the form of a spectacular multimedia show at the planetarium in Munich.


The great "Pretender"

"Queen in Heaven" – a homage to Freddie Mercury and an unforgettable experience for the group's fans.

The 60 minute multimedia show based on the comprehensive Queen music-, picture-, and video archives premiered on December 13 at the planetarium in the Bavarian capital of Munich. 86 slide projectors beamed the unique symbiosis of music elements, laser, panorama and video sequences through the whole 20-meter-high dome.

After getting approval from the band, musicians, directors, a laser and multi media programming team, computer animation and graphical art specialists worked together to set up the sensation in just five months.

The expectant fans got more than just an electrifying hour with their rock idol in life-size form. They even got a look at former Queen guitarist, Brian May, who helped produce the show and flew in to Munich just to be at the premiere.

The show included several mega hits by Queen, world premieres as well as lesser known numbers by the British rock group. The event will be running in Munich for the next six months.

Queen had fond memories of Munich: the band lived here for a while. So it’s no coincidence that the premiere was held in Bavaria.

Flashy Freddie would have liked it

Freddie Mercury would have approved of the show if he were alive today. After all, the spectacular event was very much in keeping with the singer’s flashy and theatrical style on stage.

Known as one of the greatest showman in the field of music, Freddie relished the attention his outrageous clothes drew and performed with gusto.

He strutted around on stage dressed in tight white or silver leotards, hot pants or velvet trousers with a diamond-studded crotch, baring his hairy chest and dripping in jewelry.

His most famous pose was standing in front of the stage, arms akimbo, legs spread, his head cocked to one side – screaming into the microphone and sweeping his fans with him in a frenzied emotional roller coaster.

Zanzibar, India, England...

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946 on the island of Zanzibar, off the east coast of Africa. His parents were Zoroastrians from Persia. In 1947, the family moved to India, where Freddie attended a boarding school in Panchgani, a small town just outside Bombay.

He formed his first band, the Hectics, while at school and performed at school dances and fetes. Freddie developed an interest in Indian classical music as well as a smattering of rock and roll that had become a rage in the West.

In 1964 Freddie arrived in England with his family. Here Freddie attended the Ealing art school and is remembered by class mates as the guy with the goofy teeth, who strutted around with a ruler pretending he was Jimi Hendrix playing the guitar.

The beginnings of Queen

In 1968, Freddie went to a gig by a group called "Smile" and first met up with Brian May and Roger Taylor who played with "Smile". Two years later they formed a group. The name "Queen" was Freddie’s idea. He thought it was regal.

The band did the usual round of pubs and were relatively obscure to begin with. Till 1972, when they were spotted by the right people from a music production company and landed a deal with record industry giants EMI.

First success and then cult status

Their first success came in 1974 with "Seven Seas of Rye". Next came the phenomenon, "Bohemian Rhapsody", a song six minutes long which became Britain’s number one single. After that Queen became the last word in Rock and the group reached a cult-like status. The group recorded an average of one album a year from 1973 to 1991. They toured the globe and sold 200 million records.

Freddie made Queen the band what it was. He composed many of the lyrics of the group’s smash hits including, "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We are the Champions" and "Another one bites the Dust". Freddie was the charismatic face of the band with its sing-along and foot-stomping lyrics. He described their bombastic music as junk pop – songs that didn’t pretend to be political or hold some great pearls of wisdom.