Queen live at Wembley Stadium in London, UK - July 12, 1986 (Part-1)
The second night at Wembley Stadium is probably the most famous and well-documented concert of Queen's career. It was filmed by 15 cameras with the initial intention to air it on TV in October. David Bowie was rumoured to join the band on stage for Under Pressure, but it never materialized. Mick Jagger was in the audience, and hung out with the band before the show.
The band, particularly Freddie, seem to be a bit nervous at various points tonight, knowing well that this was the big show that was being filmed to be seen by millions of people throughout the ages. His voice is in not quite as good shape as it was last night, which led to many vocal overdubs being done for the TV/radio simulcast and official releases. Brian's nerves also reveal themselves early on, as he messes up the tapping solo in the middle of One Vision (the only time he ever missed it), and later he completely omits the first half of the Hammer To Fall solo (which he also did in Brussels).
All of these slight flaws aside, the video demonstrates how Queen had simply mastered their craft, having arguably orchestrated the perfect stadium show. It reveals a band who, through the unparalleled showmanship and charisma of Freddie Mercury, were able to connect with every one of the 72,000 people on hand. Brian May would later refer to Queen's touring work ethic as becoming "a well-oiled machine" when in the swing of things.
Pics 4 is a great shot of the blow-ups of the band members released into the sky during A Kind Of Magic. One of them was found by an old lady in her back yard the next morning.
Before Who Wants To Live Forever, Freddie insists, "we're gonna stay together until we fucking well die, I'm sure." There is a mighty truth to the statement which he certainly may have been aware of at this point.
After the impromptu, Brian May puts on a clinic of how to construct a guitar solo. A polar opposite of last night's mediocre solo spot, tonight's rendition is simply magnificent, and perhaps the definitive example of his musicality in the spotlight.
This is another one of those shows where Freddie shouts "Go Johnny!" during the instrumental part of Now I'm Here, referencing Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry.
The bobby hat Mercury is seen with in the acoustic set he stole from a side stage officer during the Newcastle show, in clear view of the audience!
The band attempt a couple more covers tonight, both for the last time - Gimme Some Lovin' and Big Spender. The songs had been tried out earlier in the tour, and the latter had been performed often throughout the 70s.
A fan recalls: "Freddie was perfect, he managed to bring the audience into the show in a way that felt really encompassing and natural. He was on our side and we were on his. Outside of Prince I can't think of any performer I've seen that has managed to bring an audience together as well as he did. It felt communal. His posteuring was always accompanied by a sly tongue-in-cheek understanding that this was a show and he was performing, but he always had a little wink or tongue poke that broke any sense of pomposity. The love for Freddie from the audience was palpable in a way I haven't felt since."
After the show, billed as "Dicky Hart And The Pacemakers" for fun, Queen and some other stars, including Cliff Richard and Samantha Fox, had a jam session at the Kensington Roof Gardens Night Club. Tutti Frutti and Sweet Little Rock And Roller were among the songs played. Short video clips have turned up in documentaries, like The Magic Years.
Samantha Fox recalls: "I sang with Freddie Mercury at a party once and that was fantastic. I couldn’t believe it when he pulled me up. It was their private party in Kensington. As soon as you got into the lift there were naked women painted green, like a forest. They had midgets with little trays of drinks. You just knew it was going to be a brilliant party. Queen took the stage and they jammed for about an hour [the party itself went until about 9am]. It was amazing. And Gary Glitter got up, too! He pulled me up and asked me what songs I knew. And you know when you can’t think? I asked if he knew Touch Me and he laughed and said, 'What about Go Johnny Go?’ We ended up singing that together. It was amazing to do a duet with Freddie."
The party itself was a tame affair for a mere 500 guests, including designers Yves St Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, and Queen's old colleague Zandra Rhodes, who'd designed outfits for them in 1974. One publication recalls, "Queen held a famous party after their Wembley concert in July 1986 at the Roof Garden above Kensington High Street where 500 guests included Cliff Richard, Spandau Ballet and Gary Glitter. 'The uniform of every waiter, boy or girl, was body paint,' remembers Gary. 'At first you didn't notice they had nothing on, then you did a double take and thought, Wow! Only Queen would have thought to do this.' Among the other delights laid on for the guests were a scantily-clad woman on duty in the men's toilet and an equally under-dressed gent in the ladies ready to render whatever assistance was asked. That night Freddie made a point of being seen with Mary Austin on his arm. His boyfriend Jim Hutton was nowhere in sight."
Pics 2 through 4 were taken by Mark Alexander.
here are some of my realistic premier league predictions for every single club:
arsenal: start the season well, but are 14th by october. arsenal fan tv will start shouting for wenger to come back by january, but arteta will hold on to his job all season because stan kroenke doesn’t actually watch arsenal. probably will finish the season 8th though.
aston villa: will have a surprisingly good season overall, but it doesn’t look like it by the end of september and a lot of people will worry about them getting into a relegation scrap, but they quickly pull out of it.
brentford: they’re gonna have five points by december and everyone will talk about how they’ll break the premier league record for the lowest amount of points ever, but they’ll beat manchester united and sort their season out. still gonna get relegated but it’s not embarrassingly bad.
brighton: relegation battle but finish 16th. rinse and repeat till the end of time.
burnley: they’ll finish 15th. nobody knows how, nobody cares how, nobody knows who any of their players are, and nobody is happy about this. they will beat manchester united at old trafford 2-0.
chelsea: they’ll go out early in the cups and the champions league, but it’ll work out for them because they’ll win the league. tuchel leaves at the end of next summer though.
crystal palace: honestly you can take what I said about Brighton and say the same thing about crystal palace. there’s gonna be some rumours about wilf zaha leaving in january, but he will not leave.
everton: they’re gonna have a bad season, spend some stupid money on some random barcelona reject in january, have an even worse season, but somehow beat manchester city at some point to turn the title race.
leeds: they’re finishing in the top six and bielsa is gonna win manager of the season. tottenham will try and get him in when nuno eventually gets sacked.
leicester: will be in the top four from the first week of the season to week 35 and slowly start bottling it, but for the first time ever, they actually don’t and somehow manage to hold on to top four. good for them.
liverpool: start the season well, get hit with another injury crisis, somehow get it together mid season, but fall short of the top four by two points. there’s gonna be some corners of the fanbase asking for klopp to be sacked.
manchester city: will not win the league or the champions league. for a while it looks like jack grealish isn’t fitting in, but by march, he becomes a key player and has more assists than de bruyne. they’ll with the carabao cup.
manchester united: will finish top three, but nobody knows how or why. they’ll score a lot of goals, almost always as a fluke because their chances created will be very low. they’ll also concede a lot of goals because the midfield cannot hold possession. the fans will be losing their minds from week one.
newcastle united: nobody knows what they’re doing this season. they’ll narrowly escape relegation, but mike ashley will sell to the saudi sovereign wealth, and mbappe will be playing for newcastle next season.
norwich: will get relegated as soon as fulham confirm their promotion. they’ll be back in two seasons.
southampton: they’ll finish somewhere midtable but it doesn’t look like that when they lose 9-0 at some point in october.
tottenham: harry kane comes back and starts training, but he’ll start the season badly and then get injured six weeks in. he’s out till march, but nuno basically drops him when he comes back. will finish above arsenal but not in the top six.
watford: will get relegated as soon as west brom confirm their promotion. they’ll also be back in two seasons.
west ham: do really well in europe, but their league form is gonna suffer a bit. they can’t get europe again via the league, but they’ll win the FA cup beating leicester in the final.
wolves: they’ll finish somewhere midtable. they’ll play manchester united six times this season and every one of those matches will end 0-0 with 2 shots on target between both teams.
Constantine TV Series Episode 4 “A Feast of Friends”
Aight, I feel the need to express some feelings about this episode. I’m not sure this is going to be terribly articulate, but I’ll do my best. Let’s do this.
First off, it’s obvious to anyone who has read Hellblazer that this episode is based off of the first two issues of the comic book series. As I wrote in my post about my experience reading it, these issues were the perfect way to start off the series. It’s like “BOOM! This is how it is! Get ready for some serious shit! This is your only warning; this is what you’re in for.” Even though they did change the story for the episode, I still absolutely loved it. The storyline from the comics is a favorite of mine, but even with the changes made in order to adapt it for TV, this was an awesome episode. In fact, it’s my favorite episode of the TV series. Here’s why!
Why is it episode 4?
Unlike the comics this story was adapted to be episode 4, meaning it doesn’t start the TV series. So, why wouldn’t it start the TV series? I think that you have to look at it from a few different perspectives.
Let’s start with the comic: Issues 1 and 2, titled Hunger and A Feast of Friends respectively, make up the first arc of the Hellblazer series. Most fans know, however, that Hellblazer is not John’s first appearance in comics; he got his own series after appearing throughout the American Gothic story arc of Swamp Thing. Consequently, many people came into Hellblazer at the time having some familiarity with the character. While this chapter does expand on John’s character some, this doesn’t serve as a major introduction to him. They just drop the reader into one of his nightmare-inducing everyday situations with little to no preparation. Those who are familiar with his role in Swamp Thing will, odds are, not find these issues to be terribly weird or particularly jarring considering it’s in a series about John; they have a good idea what they are in for.
Here is a quick run-down: John returns to his apartment in Paddington after dealing with the horror show that is the Brujeria in the Swamp Thing comics. Exhausted, he comes back to an unwelcome guest; Gary Lester. Gary is one of the friends who was involved in the Newcastle incident (which is fully explained in issue #11), which left each of them scarred in their own way. Gary dealt with the aftermath via drugs, which have left him wide open for other issues. After foolishly releasing a demon from a sacrificial victim, Gary runs to John for help dealing with the destruction said demon is causing. In this case it’s a hunger demon that causes people to feast upon whatever they greatly desire; food, a crucifix, and even an athlete committing autocannibalism. With help from club owner and Voodoo practitioner Papa Midnight, John betrays his vulnerable and trusting friend in order to stop the demon by instead making him the new sacrifice. Trapping the demon inside of Gary, the literal and figurative ghosts of John’s past haunt and torment him mentally as his friend dies slowly and in agony, ending this arc with a melancholy feeling. John stopped a demon, but at the cost of a friend who truly trusted and cared for him.
Using this story to begin the TV series as is, however, would have been more than a little strange. In the minds of most people outside of the comic book world, John Constantine was first introduced to them via the horrifyingly inaccurate Keanu Reeves film. (I love Keanu, I really do, but that film give me agita). Or, if they were introduced to the show after it had already aired, they are introduced via Matt Ryan’s masterful work portraying him in Legends of Tomorrow. While he does an incredible job in both Constantine and Legends (to the point where I find that I may simply be unable to accept anyone else taking on the role in live action) it depresses me terribly that Legends toned down John’s character so much with all the goofiness. It did not suit John at all! If anything, I find myself feeling sorry for Matt Ryan, who tried so hard to do John’s character justice. Uhg.
Anyway…Already, a lot of the audience is going to be more than a little taken aback by the Constantine series’ portrayal of the character, however comic book accurate he may be. This show is tailored to as wide of an audience as possible, meaning they expect that pretty much no one has read Hellblazer or Swamp Thing before. Consequently, having the series start by just dropping the audience into his crazy world, especially with this particular story arc, might not be the best idea. I’m not saying that his introduction is done super well with the first episode (it’s not a total wreak, but there are issues) but it would have been much harder to start with A Feast of Friends.
Now, let’s look at it from another angle: characterization. As the 4th episode this was, odds are, done assuming that there would be a lot more episodes after this (oh, the painful reality), but really the viewers are still just getting to know John. So, these early episodes are supposed to establish his character. They see him as knowledgeable and ready to handle the weird and scary in the first episode, and in 2 and 3 you see that he is serious about his work, a loner, weirdly well prepared, and how he interacts with others. While in some situations he does come off like a douche, his douche-ness is on full display in this episode. Honestly, this is accurate to how he is in the comics; he’s a nasty piece of work, after all. A world class bastard. He gives Gary shit for his drug addiction pretty much the entire episode as well as his choice to mess with a demon and the chaos it made that he now has to fix. He, like in the comics, tricks Gary into helping him and it results in a slow, painful death for the man. Gary really did trust John, and not only did John betray him, but he was callous about it. Now, that’s not to say that the situation and Gary’s death doesn’t bother him, and this is also seen in both the episode and the comic, but John solders through a lot of it with his mask of stoic indifference; he blatantly a deliberately betrays his friend without much hesitation.
John’s characterization in the show is really important. While fans of Hellblazer know what they are in for (John being a dick, betraying people, sacrificing friends, etc) the wide audience the show was meant to appeal to might not respond well to that. How is the audience supposed to relate to a character whose major personality trait in this arc is to basically be a douche (even if it is justified in a way)? Generally speaking, TV shows try to have a lot of characters with redeeming traits and very basic bitch personalities so that as much of the audience as possible can relate to them in some capacity. They can describe the main character as “cool, quirky, sweet, loving, etc” because that is what network television strives for. The point is for the audience to relate to and find a lot of reasons to like the character, especially the main character. The audience is supposed to be able to see the qualities of the character in themselves. An example of a douchy character being changed for network television is the titular character in TV series Lucifer. He can be an asshat at times, but his redeeming qualities shine through in pretty much every episode; he’s helpful, has a strong sense of justice, and cares about Chloe. He often goes out of his way to understand others, although he often misses the mark, and tries to fix problems and issues that he accidentally creates in order to keep relationships with others. These are things people can relate to, and although he can be rather uncouth, it’s played for laughs, and he has more redeeming qualities than not. If the Constantine series started off with John coldly betraying a friend after giving him shit for his addiction the entire episode with not a lot of his positive traits coming through, from the perspective of most people, this might not be a good way to try and connect with the audience. I’m not saying there are people who don’t/won’t, but again, this is network television and they tend to play on the safe side.
Comic book -> TV
Ok so let’s move onto the meat of this; the changes made to the story. People always complain when something isn’t totally accurate to the book down to every last detail (Harry Potter *cough cough*) and making story and character changes to adaptions of comic books is nothing new. However, to be fair, there are some legitimately good reasons for this. Time, money, limits technology wise, and pacing are good examples. The most important thing to consider, in my opinion, is that we are going from a comic book to television. Literally, that is the most important thing. Essentially, what the writers had to do when adapting this story for the show was carry over the plot from one medium to another, which is tricky.
What’s a medium? A medium is a platform that allows a message to be shared or presented. So, using the medium of a comic book is how Jamie Delano was able to share his message; the story of John Constantine. The writers of the television series then had to adapt the story from comics, a visual and written medium, into a different kind of visual medium with different features to it; stage craft, voice, music, etc.
Comic books have features for story telling; the size and placement of the panels, the writing, word bubbles, narration bubbles, colors, art style, etc. The pro’s to this are that you don’t get paragraph after paragraph describing a place or a person; they literally show them to you and the art presents those details. They also allow for the art to take in the reader emotionally through what the images convey; messy art, sudden loss of color, or even a sudden blank page after a tragic event are simple yet effective ways to convey emotion that are, at times, difficult or downright impossible to put into words. And sometimes the writer wants to leave things to interpretation or allude to something without saying it outright. While this can be done in writing, it can be done through the art as well, and depending on how skilled the artist or creative a set up can be just as effective if not more.
In television storytelling can be done with another wide array of features. Close-ups on the actors, the actors and their performance in general, music, background narration, changes in location, lighting, ect. This allows for emotions to come across in different ways; the quality of the acting can make or break the effectiveness of the scene, and music and lighting can alter the message or feel of scene in order to change or heighten the point, pacing, the use of CGI or practical effects, etc. So, keeping this in mind, there are many features that are exclusive to film that are not in comic books, and vice versa. So, as you can imagine, adapting the stories or message from one medium to another is nowhere near as straightforward as people like to think it is. In other words, I tend to give the writers/actors/etc a break when it comes to adaption because, honestly, there is a lot that goes into it and it’s not like I could do better, honestly. I mean, there are piss poor adaptions, I’m not gunna lie, but there are a lot of them that I think don’t get enough credit simply because it’s “different” in some ways.
Aight, let’s first refer back to what I said earlier concerning the comic; these issues aren’t so much an intro to John as they are literally following him from the end of the American Gothic arc in Swamp Thing and to his apartment where he gets involved with more shit (no rest for the wicked, amirite?). So, again, not a good way to start the TV series. In the TV show, they also have to tie in the changes they set up in the previous episodes. Continuity, my friends.
So, what is different? Here are a few things: John having a safe house, being in the US, Chaz being American and also not involved, Zed being involved and being Latina, the new angel character Manny, and the absence of Papa Midnight really change a lot about the story. The heart of it is John’s relationship with Gary and the defeat of the demon, which thankfully remains unchanged at it’s core. This is the central idea that drives this story and I think that idea was actually done a bit better in the film medium than in the comic.
Keeping all of these factors and all of these changes that needed in order to keep things consistent with the TV show’s changes, let’s get into why I think that this episode is good even with the changes, but why I love it.
I love It
After taking some time to consider things, I realize that what really makes this episode great is the actors; specifically, Matt Ryan and Jonjo O'Neill. The chemistry between them is undeniable. The way they look at each other and how they talk to each other really makes you feel like, at one time at least, they were friends. The scene where Gary swipes the ID badge and says “I learned from the best” is a great example of this. The look on his face and John’s; I don’t have a real eloquent way to say it. I just sort of feel it.
The retcon of Gary’s character really helps with this. Being that Gary is introduced and then killed off in two issues, you don’t really get to know his character in the comics. He’s only in one episode of the TV series, yet he feels more fleshed out. Soul was added to the character. Showing his struggles with addiction, as well as what I suspect to be depression and PTSD, really humanized him. In the episode, he was more than just a desperate, annoying junky; he was a flawed and relatable human being. Who hasn’t made a mistake? How many people have made BIG mistakes with consequences difficult to handle? How many people are haunted by their actions from the past? Addiction and the effects is has on people is devastating. I’m glad that they kept the ending true to the comics, but the way he was portrayed in the episode really made me feel for Gary in this case. It almost made me hope that maybe he really would get better, and have the chance at redemption that he was trying so desperately to find. But it wouldn’t be a John Constantine series without an ending like this one; John loses a friend and slowly digs himself deeper into hell.
Of course, it’s the ending of the episode that people really remember best. It’s the scenes that solidified, at least for me, Matt Ryan as John Constantine. It’s what really helped me have faith in the series. Watching it now, and seeing what really could have been, makes the episode somewhat bitter sweet for me. I felt like this is when the series really found it’s footing; the acting, storytelling, and how well arcs from Hellblazer could be adapted. This is where I think Matt Ryan hit his stride and we could see what he was really capable of as an actor if they let him spread his wings. In the earlier episodes I was honestly unsure. He looked the part, but the soul of the character had not really had a chance to shine through.
How John treats Gary at the end really made a difference, too. Holding him while he was in pain, and sitting with him as he died in agony; these simple yet effective changes really drove home John’s humanity in the face of evil and the tough decisions he has to make. The look he gives many at the very end, the anger and sorrow he seems to be struggling to hold back, is haunting.
In this episode, Matt Ryan’s love and dedication to John’s character shine. Seeing the story in live action gave this story a stronger impact. Even without a lot of the social commentary that was present in the comic, the live action element is what really helps drive the story home. I think it’s because it’s real people showing these very real emotions that can be hard to translate into art. Not to say that John Ridgway did a bad job, but it’s different in live action.
I hope I was able to get these thoughts across. I wasn’t sure if I should share this or not, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I know this is sort of jumbled, but hopefully it’s not a total mess to read.
The football authorities / gov pushed this Saudi / Newcastle takeover into the long grass cos they didn't want to piss off the Saudis or Qataris who're arguing over this beIN Sports shenanigans (amongst other stuff). But that seems to be resolved now so all that's left is for the authorities here to approve the takeover, which is likely to happen cos bin Salman's fucking minted and that's all that matters. Also everybody's shit scared of him, and of his family business, Aramco, (the richest company in the world) which runs more than 10% of the world's oil supply
Salman recently issued Boris Johnson a threat that if the deal wasn't approved soon there would be "commercial and economic consequences for Britain", as he was growing tired of waiting. The deal also involves the billionaire Reuben brothers, who're long time Tory donors, and personally very close to to Boris Johnson (they paid to do up his office).
So basically the Saudi / Newcastle takeover is going to happen. I think for many it will be a bridge too far - not just cos of the human rights and Khashoggi stuff, but cos of the unfairness of the Prem. City have all but a monopoly domestically, the oil clubs dominate the CL - the Saudis will add to that and possibly out do them all as the Salman is not just richer than them, he's more powerful. He has oil dependent nations by the balls, that's how he got away with the Khashoggi shite.
So don't just expect a new level of gross spending in the Prem, expect changes to English & European football, probably around TV rights. I also think the Saudis will be big fans of the European Super League. If they throw their weight behind it, it's hard to see who'll stop them. Fans stopped it last time, but we're facing a different kind of monster in Salman.