I was astonished when I heard Brian say in that Paula Yates interview that they had been planning to play Wembley. What exactly does he mean by 'planning', I wonder? Is there any evidence that a Wembley gig was definitely in the pipeline or is this just Brian, in the emotion of the moment, perhaps embellishing some preliminary discussions about possible future plans?
I don't remember ever reading or hearing anything to challenge the much-rehearsed narrative that the band had by 1985 effectively run out of steam, at least temporarily. The Mark Blake book quotes Roger saying in Mojo: "I didn't think we would tour again for five years — if at all." Peter Hince says in his book: "I believe there was a real possibility that the band could have broken up around that time, they had become tired and somewhat jaded; their fall in popularity in America had affected them a lot…"
For a band like Queen — "Where's the modesty?" "There isn't any." — 'losing' America must have been a massive blow to the collective band ego. Add to that the fallout from Sun City — "Sun fucking City. I wish I had never heard of the place." Add to that the fact that Roger and Freddie had both released solo albums in the last year.
I think it's feasible that they talked about the possibility of a stadium gig — perhaps along the lines of Hyde Park — to prove that Queen were still major players. But promoting what? They had played in England the previous year. Would they really do a major one-off gig in England with nothing new to promote?
As for the comparison between 1984 and 1986, there isn't one. Yes, 1984 was a big year for the band in Britain and Europe in terms of sales, undoubtedly helped by the fact that the first two singles were so successful and the videos so memorable. They were a hugely popular band, but I never really got the sense that they had yet achieved 'legend' status and cut through into the wider public consciousness like the Beatles and maybe the Stones and Michael Jackson.
Live Aid changed everything. I was at university at the time, definitely not natural Queen territory. Even among indie-worshipping students, post-Live Aid it suddenly wasn't massively uncool any more to admit that you were a Queen fan. The Magic Tour was just massive. They could probably have done a week of Wembleys. In fact, I am a bit surprised they didn't. Like Brian said, they were definitely the hottest ticket in town. Live Aid had set them on the road to National Treasure status. Freddie's death got them there six years later.
That's how I remember it, anyway.
Queen tours, one-off shows, bootlegs, merchandise
Pretty much how I remember it. I was never really shy in admitting I was a Queen fan, but pre-Live Aid, you'd be greeted with indifference, or worse still, piss-taking. After Live Aid, there were a lot more people about, who'd admit they either liked them, or hated them.