"It's going to be chaotic!": Brian May shares amazing rare footage of Queen rehearsing for Live Aid, and being interviewed ahead of their iconic Wembley Stadium performance

Queen rehearsing for Live Aid
(Image credit: Brian May Instagram)

Brian May has shared rare footage of Queen rehearsing for their iconic, career-defining performance at Live Aid, and admitted "I had no idea this footage was out there."

The guitarist shared the footage of the band's rehearsals, and an interview with the BBC, to mark the latest anniversary of the legendary event, which took place on July 13, 1985.

In the footage, May reveals that Bob Geldof approached the group at the 1985 BPI Awards [held on February 11, 1985 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London], and asked if they would be interested in appearing at the event: Geldof and his Band Aid/Live Aid partner Midge Ure were at the ceremony to receive a special award for their work on the 1984 Band Aid single Do They Know It's Christmas? Candidly, the group admit to the BBC interviewer that their motivation for accepting Geldof's invitation was partly due to the cause, and partly due to not wanting to miss out on the landmark concert.

"We would have liked to have taken part in the Band Aid single," admits Freddie Mercury, "but I think we were in separate parts of the globe. And so the second bash at it was this thing, and also the fact that some of the biggest and best-known groups  around the world are taking part, why not us? It makes me personally proud to be a part of it."

Speaking just days before the concert, the quartet admit that they are still "squabbling" over the choices for their mini-set, and laugh aloud when the BBC interviewer suggests that "there aren't meant to be an egos involved" in the concert, and wonders how things will pan out with so many superstars sharing the same space.

"It's going to be hilarious," Brian May predicts.

"It's going to be chaotic, yes," adds Mercury. "We're not all wonderfully well-behaved kids, are we? That's sort of going to actually be the nice part of it: there'll be lots of friction, and we're all going to try to outdo each other I guess."

The footage also includes scenes of the band rehearsing Hammer To Fall, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Radio Ga Ga.

In his caption accompanying the footage, Brian May writes: "Fondly remembering LIVE AID at this time of year, I was pretty amazed to see this - an amazing find - thanks to @iswearshesvintage and apparently somebody called Chief Mouse on YouTube.

"Here you see us rehearsing for the Queen Live Aid appearance - and talking about how we think it’s gonna be. And the rehearsal footage, captured raw, shows us in a completely different, relaxed state of mind, from the hypervibed way we will be on that extraordinary night in 1985. All sorts of adventurous variations in how we’re playing - which now seem like a precious capture by the BBC - a whole different ‘lost’ performance. In particular, listen to Freddie’s beautiful high notes in Bohemian Rhapsody.

"Lots of other rare details to spot, too. I had no idea this footage was out there. Enjoy!"

Watch the footage below:

Brian May talks about the creation of his Star Fleet Project collaboration with Eddie Van Halen in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which also features an in-depth look at the making of Queen's debut album, plus features on Tina Turner, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Yes and more. Read more about the issue here.

Classic Rock 316 front cover

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.