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September 7, 2022

Queen at Wembley: Extraordinary Photos of Freddie Mercury Performing on Stage at Wembley for the ‘Magic Tour’, 1986

The Magic Tour was a 1986 European concert tour by Queen, supporting the album A Kind of Magic. The tour featured 26 shows playing to over 990,000 fans across Western Europe and the UK, as well one show in Sweden and one in Hungary. The two shows at Wembley Stadium on July 11-12 sold out and saw Queen play to 150,000 fans; the second concert was professionally filmed and recorded and has been released several times.

An even bigger stage was specially designed for the two Wembley Stadium shows. But the crew hit some roadblock upon discovering the architect’s plans for the stadium were wrong (they were four feet out). The stage had to be redesigned, and it was finally finished just before soundcheck was due to start. Queen were one of the first bands to use a Jumbotron screen at a rock concert. Nine miles of cable were utilized for the shows.

In response to the Queen break-up rumors, Freddie said: “I can tell you straight from my bowels that we’re not gonna do it.”

“The Wembley concerts in 1986 were the pinnacle for us,” Brian May said years later. “We were at our height band-wise, and Freddie had developed this phenomenal way of dealing with stadium audiences. Being back home in London playing two sell-out nights was such a big, big occasion for us. None of us realized that this would be almost the last time we’d play together [live].”

Following the tour, Mercury told his bandmates that he did not want to do any more large-scale shows. In spring 1987, he was diagnosed as having AIDS. When the group reconvened to record The Miracle in 1989, the press were informed that Mercury wanted to “break the cycle of album, tour, album, tour” and consequently the album would not have any accompanying live performances. He died on November  24, 1991. Queen did not undertake another full tour until 19 years later, when the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour began in March 2005. By then, John Deacon had retired from music, and did not take part.


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