When a band named “Queen” got booed in 1974

In 1974, a then largely unknown Queen were booed and heckled at a music festival in Australia. Freddie Mercury told the audience, the band Queen would return after debuting their smash hit Bohemian Rhapsody just two years later.

If someone would have ever booed Queen at a concert people would have lost their mind. But when they were still unknown they did get booed during the Sunbury Music Festival in Australia in 1974. Freddie Mercury had this to say: “When we come back to Australia, we will be the biggest band in the world!”. And lo and behold in 1976 when they released Bohemian Rhapsody and returned in 1976 they were well on their way. There were a few things that led to the band being booed, but if Freddie Mercury was alive and still singing today you know someone would get drop-kicked for daring to boo him.

Unfortunately the band didn’t have much a chance to really make their case with the crowd since the DJ that introduced them wasn’t all that supportive, introducing them in a way that was far less than welcoming and even going so far as berate them before they’d even started their set. That kind of inhospitable atmosphere doesn’t usually make for a good show no matter how revved up a band is, and unfortunately it sounds as though Freddie and Brian were ill that day, which only made things worse. Added onto that was the fact that their lighting rig was sabotaged by local roadies after they were looked down upon as being snobs for having their own rig and their own crew. Basically they were outsiders and were treated as such.

Of course how it really went kind of varies from person to person since if you asked the fans they might say that Queen did relatively well and even received calls for an encore, or that they were reviled and were told to get off the stage so that more Aussie bands could come on. From the band’s point of view things were just horrible because the Aussie crews were fighting with their crew, the DJ was being as dismissive as possible to them, and in many ways was egging the crowd on to tell Queen just where they could stick their music.

Apart from that the band recalls that the other bands they were playing before and after were pretty decent to them. I can only think that it had to be the unspoken code that musicians happen to know what’s going on behind the scenes enough to understand what it’s like to be in a strange place with a strange crowd that might not like them.

The DJ could have been the kind of guy that has so much pride in his country that he doesn’t think anyone else could possibly be better. In such a position one would almost think that a person would be at least somewhat worldly and a lot more enlightened. But obviously that wasn’t the case.

Just try to get someone to boo Queen now, people would look them like they lost their mind.

The band in Australia, 1974.
The band in Australia, 1974.

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