As we’ve already seen in previous episodes of Queen’s ‘The Greatest Live’ series, Freddie Mercury was the master of crowd interaction – and the bigger the audience, the better. In “Vocal Games,” this week’s clip from Queen’s famous 1982 show at the U.K. Milton Keynes Bowl, the singer challenges the vast crowd to match his vocal acrobatics. You can check “Vocal Games” out below.
Of all the qualities that routinely see Freddie Mercury crowned the greatest frontman of all time, his ability to connect with a crowd was paramount. As we’ve seen in recent episodes of ‘The Greatest Live,’ the band intentionally built a call-and-response element into many of their best-known tracks. But that wasn’t enough for Freddie, who often bantered with the fans between songs – and even challenged entire stadiums to keep up with his a capella vocal ad libs.
“That’s part of my role – I have to win the audience over, otherwise it’s not a successful gig,” the singer once explained. “It’s my job to make sure I win them over and make them feel that they’ve had a good time. I’m very frivolous and I like to enjoy myself – and what better way to do it than onstage in front of 300,000 people?”
The most obvious example of Freddie’s vocal games might be the joyous ‘ay-oh!’ section of Queen’s show-stealing performance at 1985’s Live Aid. But for Queen Connoisseurs, this week’s episode focuses on a lesser known but equally charming moment from a little earlier in the decade, as the frontman interrupts the band’s summer ’82 show at the U.K. Milton Keynes Bowl to put the capacity crowd through their paces.
“I’m gonna make you sing like Aretha Franklin!” promises Freddie as he sits on the edge of the stage to play choirmaster – and with the crowd doing its best to match his gravity-defying vocal acrobatics, the singer ends with a playful endorsement: “Alright, you can join the band…”