It was a boring summer and for some reason, I was taking an elective summer course in Latin (of all things!). I was between Grade 10 and 11 in high school in Toronto. On Tuesday, August 3. 1982, another kid wore a Queen concert t-shirt to class, apparently having been at the concert the night before. I thought the t-shirt looked cool and I wanted one as well. So I decided to go to the second of the two Queen shows that night. The Latin-studying geek that I was... had no friends who were willing to dish out $12.50 for a ticket, so I went alone to Maple Leaf Gardens.
I wouldn't say that I was a huge Queen fan - yet. But I certainly knew their music despite the advent and dominance of synthesized tunes on the radio.
At the concert, I had a Red Section seat which was about 8 rows up from the floor. I remember the classic tunes being played as well as tunes I had never heard before, like Tie Your Mother Down. Then in the second half, Freddie Mercury made a gesture and suddenly there was a stampede toward the stage, so I ran along as well. I found myself right up against the stage, but I couldn't see very much because I was a petite little girl. My disappointment lasted for no more than a minute, when a guy offered me his shoulders to sit on. Normally I would not have considered doing such a thing, but the euphoria and great energy of the concert made me forget that I was only 16 yrs old and by myself.
Hoisted up on the stranger's shoulders, I could immediately feel the cold air conditioned stage. Freddie Mercury was running back and forth with great energy. Brian May stood still under a spotlight.
Then Freddie Mercury ran by during one of the last songs/encores. As he did, he looked me straight in the eyes, with a great smile, and slapped my hand "high five". Then Brian May came by and handed me a long stem red carnation from a loose bouquet that somebody threw on stage. He distributed all of the flowers to others as well, but it seemed so personal when he handed one to me.
What a great concert experience. I could still feel the smack of Freddie's hand on mine 31 years later. I still have the ticket stub and pressed red carnation in my box of fond memories. Sigh.