Watch Queen + Adam Lambert Play ‘The Show Must Go On’ From New Live LP
The song originally appeared on Queen’s 1991 LP Innuendo, which was released just months before Freddie Mercury died. “Even though we were all aware of Freddie’s impending tragedy, we had some inspired and joyful times in the studio, making the Innuendo album,” Queen guitarist Brian May says in a statement. ” We didn’t speak much about Freddie’s illness — he just wanted to get on with ‘business as usual’ as far as possible.”
“But already there was only a day or two per week when Freddie was well enough to come in and work with us,” he continues. “We grabbed those precious moments and made the most of them. I’d been working on ‘The Show Must Go On’ as an idea, but I was uncertain whether the title was too obvious. Freddie heard it and loved it and dismissed any thoughts that there was a problem with the chorus or the title. He wanted to work on it.”
The group never had a chance to perform the song live with Mercury, but in 1992 they played it with Elton John and Tony Iommi at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at London’s Wembley Stadium. They played it again with Elton John at a 1997 Paris event at the Théâtre national de Chaillot, which wound up being the last time that bassist John Deacon performed with the band before retiring from public life.
It was in the setlist nearly every time that Queen + Paul Rodgers played between 2005 and 2008 and it’s been in the mix at Queen + Adam Lambert shows since they started gigging together in 2012.
The band was supposed to spend the summer on the road in Europe, but they had to delay those plans until 2021 because of the pandemic. During the downtime, May severely injured his gluteus maximus “in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening,” and in May, he was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack.
“He’s very much on the mend,” drummer Roger Taylor told Rolling Stone in July. “We’re in daily contact. It was quite a scare. He had a real scare. It’s been strange. We were struck doubly. Our manager had a pretty major heart attack, too. It’s been a very weird year for us in all kinds of ways.”