Five years after Freddie Mercury passed away, the three surviving members of Queen reunited in Paris at the opening of A Ballet for Life, which was partially inspired by Mercury’s battle with AIDS. They were joined by Elton John and the ballerinas for a stunning rendition of “The Show Must Go On,” a track that Mercury wrote when he knew he was dying.
“I’ve been trying to get Queen out of my system,” guitarist Brian May said in an interview shortly after the performance. “I know that probably doesn’t sound very nice, but in a way it’s unhealthy to be just clinging to the past.”
Drummer Roger Taylor had a bit of a different take on the situation. “It’s been five years since Freddie’s death, and I think we don’t feel quite so precious about it as we did,” he said. “I think maybe the future is open to us doing something again . . . Elton said, ‘You lot are like a fantastic racing car, sitting in the garage with no bloody driver.'”
While Brian May and Roger Taylor were clearly looking for a way to resurrect Queen, bassist John Deacon had no such desire. The 1997 performance with the Bejart Ballet marked his final public appearance with his bandmates. He opted to sit out the tour with Paul Rodgers and didn’t even show up at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Paul Rodgers and Queen parted ways in 2009, but recently the band have been doing select gigs with American Idol finalist Adam Lambert.