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(Safe) Sex, (No) Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll : A Star-Filled Send-Off to Freddie Mercury

April 22, 1992|JEFF KAYE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

As the crew readied the stage for the Queen portion of the show, Elizabeth Taylor appeared and told the crowd: "Protect yourselves. Every time you have sex, use a condom. . . . And if you use drugs, don't share the needle." When a heckler yelled at her to get off the stage, she shot back, "I'll get off in a minute. . . . I have something to say."

The second half of the show featured 20 Queen songs, with performances including Robert Plant singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and George Michael joining with the London Community Gospel Choir for a moving rendition of "Somebody to Love."

Bowie sang a duet with Annie Lennox, adorned with painted black eyes, of "Under Pressure," which he recorded with Queen. He then brought out former Mott the Hoople singer Ian Hunter to share vocals on "All the Young Dudes," which he wrote for that band, and concluded his set with "Heroes."

Before leaving the stage, Bowie startled the crowd by dropping to his knee and reciting the Lord's Prayer in tribute to Mercury and others who have suffered from AIDS.

Besides joining Rose on "Bohemian Rhapsody," John also sang "The Show Must Go On," followed by Rose returning to sing "We Will Rock You," with thunderous clapping and foot-stomping from the crowd.

Minnelli made a surprise appearance for the finale, leading the entire cast, as well as the crowd, in singing "We Are the Champions."

Fireworks burst in the air as the artists filed off. Queen members Taylor and Deacon cried backstage.

Mercury made his own grand exit, appearing up on the video monitors for the last time dressed in royal crown and cape and accompanied by a rendition of "God Save the Queen."

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