We Will Rock You

That's what the B-side was on the then new Queen 45rpm single "We Are The Champions".
That's also what instantly became the hard rock anthem for a whole generation of music loving kids.
And that's also the sound that reverberated off of the arena-shaped walls inside the temple of Forest National in Brussels, on the lovely spring evening of April 16th 1978.
That night, Queen were to give their first of two planned concerts in Belgium (a third one was added a few days later due to the first two gigs being sold out in mere hours) of their "World News Tour" - and what later turned out to be their most memorable concert on Belgian soil.

I remember it well for a couple of reasons. The first being that it it was a sight and sound to behold the almost 10.000 people attending, clapping their hands and stomping their feet in the 'boom-boom-clap' rhythm of "We Will Rock You" -a feat also registered by the seismographic sensors of the Belgian Meteorologic Institute in Uccle, just down the road.

The second thing I remember well was that the stage had a circular shape mounted on it somewhere in the middle. Or at least, we surmised as the whole area of the stage was veiled by an enormous black curtain which hung from a rail on the ceiling, some 15 metres/50 feet up.

At around nine pm, the main lights dimmed and a roar went through the crowd -a crowd which even increased the enthusiasm of their "boom-boom-clap", now thundering across the expectant attendees.
Another five minutes of tension and unseen in the dark, the curtain opened and in an almost blinding flash, the band started playing a sped-up version of the song the crowd had been vibrating through the early eveing.

The lights revealed what the curtain had been hiding: a massive Queen's crown, lifted hydrolically in the air. Seven tonnes of steel and spotlights, glittering and shining, high above the band's head...
But something was amiss, as all of a sudden, the right hand side of this massive prop descended a few feet to stop and make the Crown tilt in an awkward way.

Mercury and cohorts sprinted off to the backstage area again, afraid the crown might come down. Roadies and technicians swarmed the stage and scaffolds, colorful arms out of black sleeves, and started straightening the Jewel of this evening's Queen.
Once the crown hung steady in a horizontal position again, the lads continued with their second song, but again the seven tonnes crown budged and threathened to give way.
Again things were literally straightened out -for good this time, as the Crown stayed in place for the duration of the gig.

After the second almost-disaster, Freddie Mercury came to the front of the stage and in his polite and eloquent ways, apologized to the crowd for the failure of the crown's mechanics and the delay this had caused, and in one breath announced that Queen were going to make up for this by playing an extra long concert.

And they did. Two hours and thirty minutes, without the encores. Marvellous. Can't remember exactly what songs they played that night- after all, it's been almost 33 years to the day, but it was Kinda Magic already.
One of the better gigs I saw in my entire life and a memory I cherish, for it was the only time I would see Queen and Freddie Mercury.
But no-one can take that away from me...
jimmyrudyjump jimmyrudyjump
56-60, M
5 Responses Apr 8, 2011

My favorite group, ever, and Freddie Mercury, wrote the best songs..<br />
<br />
I watch his memorial service concert, with Axl Rose, all of the time..<br />
<br />
So.,who wants to live, forever, anyway?<br />
<br />

I had that single. Possibly I still do. Great Story BTW Thanks for sharing.

Wow, great memory! Thanks for sharing it Jimmy. I like a lot of their songs.

Hehehe.. Yes... And all that for just 7,5 dollars!!! :D<br />
Ahh, the good ol' days...

ahhhh~! what an awesome trip down memory lane... and you had the good fortune to see Queen and Freddie Mercury making history! :D ...would LOVE to have been there~! *boom-boom-clap!* *boom-boom-clap!* *boom-boom-clap!*