It was 1977, and my senior year at Ohio State when my friend Mike invited me to see Queen perform on campus.
Mike and I were both cadets in the Ohio State Army ROTC program. Our friendship developed because we took the ROTC program slightly less seriously than some of our fellow cadets who we had identified as future Army “lifers.” (Mike and I were much “cooler” because as Reserve officers we would have a “real life” outside of the Army.)
As we were walking over to the concert, Mike casually mentioned that he had earned ten dollars that afternoon giving blood so he could afford our concert tickets.
Suddenly I remembered seeing signs posted all around campus advertising ten dollars for blood, but this was the first I had heard of anyone actually doing it.
My immediate thought was blood money to take me to a Queen concert?
Personally, I did not think I was worthy of Mike’s blood, but seeing Queen certainly was!
Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury now considered a rock legend, indeed gave a legendary performance, bouncing all around the stage wearing the same tight white shiny jumpsuit you see in the famous music video above.
Among the songs performed that night was Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen’s 1975 album, A Night at the Opera.
Besides Freddy’s costume, I also remember staring at the big gong on stage and looking forward to it being used for Bohemian Rhapsody’s final note.
Thirty five years later, Queen remains ensconced in my “Personal Pantheon of Classic Rock Greatness.” Their music, much of it sung in a harmonic style known A cappella, is considered by many to be some of the most masterful rock music ever recorded.
Tragically, Freddy Mercury was one of the first celebrities to die of AIDS, in 1991 and his death brought early attention to the disease.
Now what shall we drink to celebrate Queen’s royal greatness?
Ah, let me rephrase that question — What do I have in my refrigerator that I can write about and photograph this second? (I literally get up, look in the refrigerator and see a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay purchased during my last expedition to COSTCO for $20.00. Since my father-in-law’s 90th birthday bash is coming up, I have begun buying some pricier wines for that glorious occasion.)
This fine label is for you if you enjoy a more “upscale” chardonnay infused with oak and citrus. However, after drinking La Crema it is difficult to go back to drinking less expensive chardonnay.
So let’s raise a glass to Freddy, Queen and my ROTC friend Mike, who, the last time I saw him, in late 1977, had actually decided to become a “lifer” and is probably a 3-star general by now.
Thanks Mike for serving our country and for earning blood money so 35 years later I could write this silly column and dedicate it to you.