I never had the opportunity to see Queen or any of the Queen members on stage, so I had to take my chance this time to see Queen (Roger and Brian) at the Pavarotti & Friends event in Italy...
On Tuesday, May 27th, I had to get up at 5 am and left for the six-hour journey to Mantova. After I had a little rest in the hotel, I went on to Modena. About 3:15 pm I arrived there, as the gate was opened at 5:30 pm, I strolled around the area of the Park Novi Sad (this is where the concert took place), I even found a Queen poster in a record shop. Then, at 6 pm I entered the Park Novi Sad and got a quite good place - as I was afraid to loose it, I stood there for 7 hours! Like all the others I had to wait till 9 pm. Before the concert you could hear very well where the (mostly Italian) Queen fans stood; it sounded like this: 'EEEEEOOOOOHHHH' or 'We are the champions'. Most of the Queen fans wore Queen-related T-shirts - of course me too - and had a lot of great banners.
9:00 pm: the concert finally started. On the stage first Jamie Moses, Spike Edney, Neil Murray and the backing singers appeared. For me it was sure that now a Queen song would be played. In fact Brian, who wore the famous Flash T-shirt, followed by Roger, dressed in white, entered the stage and played 'We Will Rock You', which Brian did the lead vocals for - with great support of all the Queen fans and non-Queen fans. First I couldn't believe that I saw THE Brian May with HIS Red Special and THE Roger Taylor. After WWRY other bands/artists played (Bono, Ricky Martin, etc. and of course Pavarotti) but I didn't really realize them 'cause I was in a kind of 'trance' (because of Brian and Roger)! Again Jamie Moses, Spike Edney, Neil Murray and the backing singers followed by Brian, now dressed in a nice violette suit instead of the Flash T-shirt, and Roger still dressed in white. Now Roger sang Radio GaGa. Soon after 'Radio GaGa' followed 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', which Brian sang with maestro Pavarotti. Luciano Pavarotti sang his part in Italian. I think Freddie would have been proud if he heard it - but somehow Freddie was there! When I heard 'Radio GaGa' and 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', I nearly was in tears - these songs were just soooo beautiful! And again followed other bands and artists (Deep Purple, Zucchero, Eric Clapton, etc.), my mind still was by Queen...
Towards the end of the concert came 'We Are The Champions', where Zucchero shared the lead vocals with Brian. At the end of the song Zucchero started to sing 'We Will Rock You' - the audience just loved to join it. Most of all people (a crowd of 15.000!) sang/stamped/clapped 'We Are The Champions' with Queen and Zucchero. This was THE Highlight of the whole concert. Finally nearly all the stars gathered on stage and sang the last song. Mainly Pavarotti and Laura Pausini did the vocals because the lyric was in Italian but also Brian often tried to sing with them but you couldn't hear him. So, he always raised his hand and the Queen fans joined him. Unfortunately Liza Minelli couldn't sing on stage because she broke her leg but she sent a video message which was projected on screens! I'm sure I'll never forget this event (in fact the 20 minutes that Queen played)!!
I was in Modena on 27 of May at the Pavarotti & Friends. It wasn't a real Queen concert, they sang only four songs: WWRY at the beginning of the show, Radio Ga Ga, Too Much Love Will Kill You with Mr. Pavarotti and We Are The Champions with the famous italian singer Zucchero. I have never seen them live and it was GREAT!!! Lots of hours waiting for the beginning of the show, it was really hot, but I'll never forget it!!!
Saturday 24/05/2003: Willy and me left for Sassuolo. We planned to go to Baglioni to meet otherss but due to lack of time we changed our plans and drank a bottle of vodka instead. A couple beers and let's go dancing...
Sunday 25/05/2003: we arrived to the Novi Sad to watch the rehearsal... we waited, waited and suddenly a girl arrived and told us she was lucky to meet Brian at the Fini hotel and get his signature". I almost got angry :-) Anyway, the rehearsal was great and it was a surprise to see WATC sung by Brian and Roger (in the end it was Zucchero who sang it). So a lot of emotions but also a disappointment of not meeting Brian.
Monday 26/05/2003: the D-day! We went to the highway to meet Mr.Scully and his friend from the Czech Republic (!!!), Your Valentine with her husband from Germany, Anto 1976 (for me you will be always dr anto... ;-)) and Giorgio Assassin and Fabio Farrok. And then we decided to go to the Baglioni Hotel in Bologna to catch Brian and Roger before the leave the hotel... BUT suddenly a phone call from Marco from Bologna: "they're already left...". A couple of four-letter words flew to the sky... ;-)
So we hurried to Novi Sad to see the rehearsal from the maxi screen... and now the adventure begins! Giorgio and Fabio succeeded to enter the area without pass and want to record the rehearsals inside the stadium. Soon they're leaving the stadium, accompanied by police officers and security guys. Shortly before the end of rehearsal we left for Baglioni... the last opportunity to meet Brian and Roger. We arrived there at about 9.30. The "audience" in front of the hotel is divided into two parts: Queen fans and Bono fans. The agreement is that "if Brian and Roger arrive, the U2 fans will move behind (and vice versa for Bono). We then sang and played various Queen songs such as '39, I Want To Break Free, Love Of My Life and Crazy Little Thing Called Love until the policemen asked us to stop.
Shortly after midnight a car arrives and somebody says: "this is the guitar player of Queen"... and yes, it's Brian... I got signatures on my Starfleet LP (dedicated to "Leo") and A Night At The Opera LP and managed to say to Brian happy birthday to Louisa. Brian then walked to the hotel stairs while we were singing the chorus of We Will Rock You, then he turned around and greeted us again. And then we waited for Roger... but he was with his daughter and went quickly into the hotel, signing only 2 items. Jim Beach arrived shortly after him, I asked him for an autograph with dedication ("to Leo") on my A night At The Opera LP and he smiled and asked "what? Leo?"
Tuesday 27/05/2003: We arrived soon (11:00) and already there was a lot of that had to wait with us the following 7 hours. We saw that unfortunately there were more fans of U2 than of Queen but only for this hour... I greeted all the persons who have recognized to me... by now I'm famous as George Clooney! ;-)
The came the moment we've been waiting for... We Will Rock You moves the Novi Sad like an earthquake! Queen live... The concert was beautiful (good Mana, moving Bono, super Deep Purple, great Bocelli). During the Pavarotti-Bocelli due Darja says: "Leo, I have a headache, I must drink some water". I asked if she needed some cold water on the back of her neck... no answer and she suddenly almost fell down. We had to leave the crowd for a while. Fortunately it wasn't anything serious and we only lost the Eric Clapton song but we had a problem: from where should we re-enter the crowd? Somebody told us to re-enter from the back - no way, we were in 5th or 6th row from the beginning and now we should return from the back? Finally a compromise is found and we stand under the maxi screen in the right. During Too Much Love Will Kill You I look to the right and guess whom I see? Jim Beach! I shouted "Jim!" and he replied "Leo!" - he has recognized me! I made a photo with him, asked when they return to Italy, he replied "maybe next year". Incredible! The concert continued... great performance of We Are The Champions and Too Much Love Will Kill You (the duet was really moving)... we leave the stadium really happy.
Between scream of joy I found again the other fans... Luca, Gackeen, Giorgio, Farouk, my cousin Willy, Alex, Stefano, Daniele and all the others that at the moment I'm forgetting... It was by far the greatest experience in my whole life... ;)