If I asked you what the best day of your life was, what would you say? Would it be the day your sibling was born? The day your parents took you on a surprise trip to Disney World? The day your significant other asked you on your first date?
The best day of my life—so far—was July 14, 2017. It was the summer before my freshman year of college, and I had a countdown clock going since February. I was going to see my favorite band: Queen.
I can’t say I’m an old Queen fan. Of course, I’ve known the lyrics to “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” since practically birth, but I never really became interested until my 16th birthday when I heard “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time. Then I was obsessed.
When I found out that Queen was touring in the US, I practically begged my mom every single day for tickets. I often said,“This can be my birthday present!” even though my birthday was five months away. Or, “You won’t have to buy me anything for the rest of my life!” (yeah, right).
On February 3, during New Student Admittance Day at Winona State, my mom and I were eating on the upper floor in the cafeteria (yes, I even remember which table) when she sent me a message. She had gone down to get something to drink when I received it. Let me tell you this: I flipped sh*t.
In my mind.
Do you know how hard it is to try to remain calm on the outside while surrounded by strangers when you’re bouncing off the walls inside your head?
The next few months felt like they were crawling by as I checked my countdown clock to see how much longer I had to wait. After a while, months turned into weeks, weeks turned into days, and days turned into hours.
July 14 finally was here! I wore my Queen logo shirt and did my makeup for the occasion. Um, hello—I’m seeing my idols for the only time in my life...if they’re gonna see me from the balcony, I better be popping! I went to the concert with our family friend, Terri, who is an even bigger Queen fan than me if that’s even possible.
When we arrived at Xcel Energy Center, there was an abundance of parking, but the lines of people wrapped around the venue. There were people of all ages: children, teenagers, adults, middle-aged soccer moms, older biker dudes, and the oldest of the old. Queen is a band that spans over all generations.
When we got to our seats, a group of teenagers about my age—maybe a little younger—sat next to us. They were accompanied by a man who told us that he was very excited, but the kids were just there for the experience.
As we waited for the concert to start, I kept thinking, my idols are in the same building as me! All around me, people kept asking each other how they thought it would be since Adam Lambert was the one that was fronting the band instead of the one-and-only, Freddie Mercury.
The closer it got to 8 PM, the more anxious I became. I was so excited to see my favorite band play all my favorite songs that I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Pretty soon, 8 o’clock came and went. Then 8:05, then 8:15, and then 8:30. At exactly 8:34, over half an hour late, the giant screen displaying the band’s name began to shake as if some giant being was walking behind it. Pretty soon the screen lifted and the band appeared from behind.
It was amazing. I’m pretty sure I cried a little bit. All the adults around us kept commenting how impressed they were that I was singing all the lyrics. I’m sorry, but if you’re 18 years old—like I was at the time—and you don’t know the lyrics to the Queen songs, you’re lame.
Which brings me to the next part of the story.
As I mentioned earlier, there were kids that sat next to us and they sat completely stone-faced, not showing any emotion or recognition to any songs. Until “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on.
As soon as the familiar opening notes on the piano started playing, these teenagers stood up with their Snapchat cameras out and belted out the lyrics. Of course, I was also losing my sh*t, but I had also been losing my sh*t for the previous hour.
Guess what happened after “Bohemian Rhapsody” was over? That’s right, they put their phones away and sat down for the rest of the concert.
I kept exclaiming, “This is the best day of my life!”
Other than the fact that I saw my idols in person, the most memorable moment of the entire night was when the guitarist Brian May played “Love of My Life” in honor of Freddie Mercury. The stadium began to light up with the phone flashlights, and everyone sang along with May.
I remember being so overwhelmed with emotion while thinking how it felt as if Freddie was in the arena with us, beaming at the love all of us were sending him.
Roger Taylor has always been my favorite member of the band (hey—don’t hate: I still love Freddie and Bryan), and when he began to play his song, “I’m in Love with My Car”, I was sure to whip my camera out for pictures and videos, because when else am I going to see him in person ever again?
After a few songs, the band left the stage and the lights in the arena turned on. And people started to leave. Guys—you can’t just accept that a concert is over when the songs stop abruptly and the band leaves! That’s a recipe for an encore to happen. After about 1/10 of the arena had left, the familiar boom, boom, clap began to come from the drums, slower and then faster.
At this point, I was jumping up and down and practically screaming my head off. Here we are, participating in the music with one of the biggest bands in the world, and I know the night was almost over. After “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” the band left the stage for good after a flurry of confetti fell from the ceiling, shimmering on its way down.
My heart was filled with a warm, fuzzy feeling that I just couldn’t get over. To this day, that feeling still comes back whenever I hear Queen or when I reminisce the concert. It was the best day of my life. Oh, and Adam Lambert was amazing as the frontman of Queen. He will never be Freddie Mercury, but his stellar talent is nothing to deny.
I was in a daze for days afterward (no pun intended), reliving every moment by watching the videos I took on my phone and scrolling through pictures. And even now, I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to go to something as amazing as this.
Fast forward to one year, three months, two weeks, five days, and 23 hours later (yes, my countdown clock is still counting, but now it’s a countup clock), I pulled up to the Winona 7 theater with my good friends Skylar and Crystal to see the new Queen movie, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Throughout the day, nostalgia kept creeping up on me to remind me how amazing Queen really is. Other than it being about my favorite band, I was drawn to this movie because how much Rami Malek is like Freddie Mercury. Most of you might know Malek from iRobot, but I know him from playing King Tut in Night at the Museum. To say that I was excited to see it was an understatement.
I follow the band’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor on every social media platform I have, and when they announced that they had found the perfect actors to portray them, I, quite honestly, thought it was a joke.
Until Brian May released this picture in September of 2017:
The intent of the picture was to show audiences how much Rami Malek will look like Freddie with his makeup and wardrobe done.
I was expecting the movie to go just how the concert went: me singing along to every word and practically annoying every single person around me. Because I’m already a huge fan of the band, I pretty much already knew the backstory to everything, but I was excited nonetheless.
Towards the beginning of the movie, Freddie leaves his home at night to go watch a band called Smile which included dental student Roger Taylor on drums and astrophysicist student Brian May on guitar. That night, the lead singer of Smile decided to leave the band to pursue a different band that “had potential to make it big.” I bet he’s still regretting that decision, over 40 years later. Freddie took that opportunity to ask if he can be the lead singer. Brian and Roger looked at each other before Roger replied, “Not with those teeth.”
The movie ends with the very famous Live Aid performance, where everyone in the theater had a sense of pride. I’m not going to lie, I shed a few tears during this part along with Crystal. And then Skylar so lovingly whispered, “Started from ‘not with those teeth’, now we here,” in my ear. Thanks, Skylar.
I’m not going to give away any spoilers, even though it’s a biopic. If you really want to know what happened without watching the movie, just Google Live Aid Queen and How did Freddie Mercury pass away.
As I said earlier, I love Roger Taylor and can I just say: Ben Hardy is an excellent choice to play him. I really enjoyed looking at him, not gonna lie.
This movie was amazing. Throughout the entire showing, I kept having flashbacks of the concert and had that warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. Especially during an intimate scene where Freddie played a video of him singing “Love of My Life” to the audience and described how amazing it felt when they sang it back to him. “Singing to you,” he told his then-fiancee, whom he wrote the song for. I had the feels, remembering all of Xcel Energy Center singing to Brian May on July 14th, 2017.
I wasn’t expecting it to be funny, but there were many parts that were hilarious which solidified my love for the band. Even Skylar, who wasn’t a huge Queen fan, loved it. I highly, highly recommend this movie to you, whether you’re in love with Queen or have no idea who they are. Perhaps after watching it, when I ask what the best day of your life was, you will answer with: The day I saw Bohemian Rhapsody.