My reaction to Freddie Mercury’s voice in 1981

To my amazement, my latest Youtube video about Queen and Freddie at Live Aid became a breakout success. It got more than 50 thousand views in the first six days alone! Hundreds and hundreds of comments poured in. Most were positive, some were critical: 'who are you to...'.

But the most useful reactions were the ones where people provided background about Freddie's vocal issues prior to Live Aid: his doctor advised him not to sing because of throat problems, and where they gave suggestions for performances where Freddie Mercury was at his best vocally.  

One suggestion for me to watch came popping up: Queen's performance of Somebody to Love in Montreal, 1981. So I decided to make a new reaction video to this performance. Watch me as I try to both rock out to this performance and keep my analyzing cool...

Some quick conclusions:

  • Freddie was indeed in better shape here than at Live Aid. In fact, he was marvellous. He had more options vocally, and was not shy to use them.
  • Again, I am struck by how grounded his performance is. In this video, just as an example, it's the piano too that anchors him and seems to relax him vocally. The downward motion of playing seems to relax his muscles.
  • His falsetto near the end of the recording... wow. It was a very concentrated, non-airy sound, with a very nice Oo-shape of the mouth.

Enjoy.

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