Queen: Freddie Mercury’s fabulous kimono
Queen in Edinburgh, September 1976, my edit of original by Hiro Ohno, via queenlive.ca
The costume memo for that gig: white, discuss.
John: flared overalls with a short sleeved button up shirt (and platform boots, ‘cause it’s the seventies and the seventies John cannot be separated from his plats)
Freddie: the tightest, whitest spandex overalls in existence, with a— a plunging neckline (to his bellybutton), accessorize with assorted necklaces
Brian: how many layers can one tall guitar god wear? A shirt? A frilly jacket by Zandra? possibly there’s a third hidden layer. Cover. Up. Winter is coming. Tight white loons to tie the outfit together with the other lads’? Yes to all!
Roger: White hair, white trousers, white tunic, white tambourine. WHITE!
(photo source: http://www.queenlive.ca/queen/76-09-01.htm)
funnydressesweirdhairanddance Yes and no. It’s easy to forget after watching Live Aid so many times (1 “costume” – jeans), or the other 80s shows (a couple of changes, but mostly just taking off their jackets), but in the 70s, these guys were INSANE with costume changes. Half dozen or more every show was incredibly common.
You’re right to point out the white costumes, though. This very show in Edinburgh saw the introduction of the white unitard that Roger called “The Kermit Suit”, because at least once per show, the green lights would hit it, and Roger thought Freddie looked like Kermit. LOL Here’s an example, again, from this very show:
BUT, and this is a big butt, White was only part of the story. This goes back to the days of Queen II, which had a White Side AND a Black Side. So here’s another glorious photo of Freddie and Deacy, this time in their BLACK outfits – black sequined unitard for Fred, white overalls and black shirt for John:
(That’s one of my favorite pics of the two of them ever, tbh!)
But this Edinburgh show didn’t stop at black and white! No no no, it also featured RED, in a KIMONO no less!!!
(Note that Brian is in his black outfit at this point, much different in both color and with a sleeker profile from the white outfit in the first photo – and that scarf!!!)
But what’s under the RED KIMONO? That’s right – THE RED AND WHITE SHORTS! (aka, the popcorn shorts), with John still in all white.
Which leads to one of my favorite moments in the entire history of Queen, as Fred and Brian look thirstily at each other’s junk!
But even before then, there was a transition where Freddie was in black and Brian was in white, another fantastic shot by Hiro Ohno:
And that’s not even all! Freddie was also outfitted in a white boiler-suit kinda thing that I’ve not seen well-documented anywhere. Definitely Kermit colored lights again!
Anyway, that’s part of the odd experience of being an old Queen fan vs. being a younger, newer Queen fan. I fell in love with a weird, proggy, art rock band with tons of costume changes that were even further out than “mainstream” glam in the 70s, and couldn’t relate at all to the 80s band with barely any costume changes playing pop singles…whereas I know that a lot of people who fell in love with mainstream 80s Queen don’t know what to make of how incredibly atonal, cacophonous, and just plain strange the 70s vintage band was.
Nowadays, I love ‘em both, as I know many of you do….but I still suspect many of you are just beginnning to wrap your heads around how very, very outrageous they were in those early days!
McLennon parked in the Tokyo Hilton, 1966, by Shimpei Asai from his book Hello Goodbye, my edit of his original via rollingstone. The crowds were crazy enough outside that the police forbade them from leaving the hotel at all.
John snuck briefly out, but Paul was caught pretty much as soon as he stepped outside, and hustled right back up to the room.