August 9: Queen’s Last Live Show With Freddie Mercury

It's A Kind Of Magic

On this day in 1986, Queen played the last date on their Magic Tour, a support tour for A Kind Of Magic. This would also be Queen’s last live show with frontman and lead singer, Freddie Mercury. 

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A Last-Minute Addition To The Tour

The last show of the Magic Tour was slated to be on July 12 at Wembley Stadium. But following two sold-out performances at the venue, Queen decided to add one last stop at Knebworth Park. 

During the Knebworth show, the band played for hundreds of thousands of fans. According to music journalist Mark Blake, “the official attendance was 120,000, but in reality, the audience was closer to 200,000.” This made it the biggest show Queen had ever played in the UK. There were 5,000 amplifiers on stage, 8.6 miles of cable, and a massive 20 by 30-foot screen. 

Unaware that the show would be a significant milestone in the Queen’s history, the last live show was not filmed, but there is an audio recording. 

After the Magic Tour, Freddie told the band he didn’t want to do any more large-scale shows. Then, in the Spring of 1987, he was diagnosed with AIDS. 

Following the release of The Miracle in 1989, the press was told that there would not be an accompanying tour. Freddie wanted to, “break the cycle of album, tour, album, tour.”

Queen would not play another live show until 1992 when they performed at Freddie’s tribute show at Wembley Stadium. 

Other Notable Rock Events From August 9

1963 – The first episode of Ready Steady Go! Aired on TV in the UK. The show would feature some of the biggest names in rock before it ended in 1966. 

1964 – During a Rolling Stones show in Manchester, 2 cops fainted and another went to hospital while trying to control 3,000 hyped-up teens. 

1967 – Officials ask Jerry Lee Lewis to leave the stage after riling up the crowd at the Sunberry Jazz and Blue Festival in England. 

1968 – Deep Purple, along with Traffic and several other bands, played the National Jazz & Blues Festival at the Kempton Park Racecourse in England. 

1968 – Paul McCartney records “Mother Nature’s Son” after the rest of the band called it a night. The song was part of the White Album. 

1969 – Brian Jones is on the cover of Rolling Stone. 

1969 – Chicago, known as Chicago Transit Authority at the time, hit the charts for the first time with “Questions 67 and 68.”

1970 – Charles Manson and his followers committed the Tate-LeBianca murders. A year later, Manson’s claimed that The Beatles inspired the murders with subliminal messages in the White Album. “It’s the Beatles, the music they’re putting out … These kids listen to this music and pick up the message. It’s subliminal.”

1973 – Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell left Wings. 

1975 – Don Kirshner hosted the first Rock Music Award Show in California. 

1975 – The Bee Gee’s “Jive Talkin” went to #1 in the US and would stay there for 2 weeks. 

1980 – While being exhibited at Earls Court in London, England, 10 original drawings for Pink Floyd’s The Wall were stolen. The drawings were all created by Gerald Scarfe. 

1980 – AC/DC’s Back In Black, became their first chart-topping album in the UK. It was the band’s first album with Brian Johnson. 

1994 – Lynyrd Skynyrd released Endangered Species. 

1994 – A man jumped on stage at an Oasis show in England and hit Hoel Gallagher in the face. The guitarist refused to play resulting in more than 300 people attacking the band’s bus as they drove away. 

1995 – The original KISS lineup plays together for the first time in 15 years for their MTV Unplugged special. 

1995 – Jerry Garcia, co-founder of the Grateful Dead dies at 53. 

Rock Birthdays

194 – Vic Price of Pretty Things, Jeff Beck Group, The Who, and others (Drums)

1955 – Charlie Morgan of Elton John, Paul McCartney, and others(Drums) 

1972 – Arion Salazar of Third Eye Blind (Bass)

On This Day In History – August 9

August 9th holds a special place in rock history, with important events that continue to matter. From the birth of influential artists who shaped rock, to albums that became anthems of youth, to Queen’s last live show with Freddie Mercury, this date reminds us of rock music’s lasting power. Through its sounds and words, August 9th reminds us of rock’s importance in our culture.