When: Sat., Sept. 14, 9 p.m. 2013
I lost my innocence with Freddie Mercury. In the early 1980s, I was still a child, with a child's enjoyment of Queen numbers like "Another One Bites the Dust." But on July 13, 1985, my world broadened when I saw Queen take the stage in London's Wembley Stadium for the transoceanic Live Aid concert. Mercury was shirtless, with a studded dog collar on one bicep and a well-tended mustache. A flamboyant, campy routine of thrusts and rough-trade glowers was overt enough for even me to understand. It turned out to be a performance for the ages, but his final live performance came only a year later. He died of AIDS in 1991.
Two distinct but worthy nonprofits will benefit from this concert by local acts playing the songs of Queen. The dozen-plus list of performers includes Fantastico!, Magnolia Collective, Curtis Eller's American Circus, Billy Sugarfix, Beloved Binge, New Town Drunks, Mark Simonsen, Jeff Hart and Bears in the City. Proceeds will support Planned Parenthood of North Carolina—an embattled group thanks to the current regime in Raleigh—and the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity set up in the late singer's name. An art exhibit featuring local renderings of Mercury will open before the concert and remain on view through September. Concertgoers are encouraged to dress like Freddie. Art exhibit at 7 p.m., concert at 9 p.m. —David Fellerath