It was late July 1982, when Freddie phoned and invited us to join him with the band on the West Coast leg of the Queen America ‘82 tour. We would fly to Vancouver B.C. on September 4, and attend the Queen concert that evening. This promised to be an “Out Of This World” experience for not only Lee and myself, but Joe Scardilli and John Murphy who managed to schedule themselves off—so rarely accomplished with their work as flight attendants.
They were able to join us for part of the adventure. Jim Ealey and Jim Cruz (neighbors in my apartment complex, I recently introduced them to Freddie and he had become fast, yet temporary, new friends), were graciously invited for this adventure as well. The six of us would travel together on a flight from New York to Vancouver. Our arrival was scheduled for the late afternoon. We had time to check into our hotel and rest before we joined Freddie at the Vancouver Coliseum. Freddie’s current boyfriend was Bill Reid from New Jersey. He was flown out to join Freddie.
Our tickets and backstage passes were left at the front desk by Phoebe. The six of us joined up in the lobby and shuttled via limousine for the short trip to the venue. Of course, the concert was absolutely flawless and exciting. It was the first concert for the two Jims. What a pleasure it was to watch both react to it!
We met Freddie and Phoebe backstage, and planned to pub crawl through the bars in Vancouver. Quickly the nine of us headed straight out for a night on the town.
Freddie and Bill seemed to be doing well together at first, but as the night wore on, our group was feeling no pain. Bill however, was totally wasted drunk and they left us at the bar.
The next morning, we stopped by Freddie’s suite. Phoebe sheepishly opened the door a crack, and it was clear that there was something he wasn’t telling us. He just stared at us with a blank expression on his face. After a moment, we could hear Freddie say, “Let them in, darling. They are family.”
Once inside, we found a somewhat somber Freddie. We also found something we weren’t prepared for. It appeared that when Freddie and Bill got back to the hotel, Bill’s anger resulted in, what could only be considered, a meltdown. We were told of a major fight that Freddie and Bill had, which destroyed much of Freddie’s suite. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt as bottles and glasses were thrown across and throughout the room. Bill was dismissed and sent back home earlier that morning, and we all managed to put Freddie in a good mood, which we were very good at accomplishing.
The next order of business was to survey the scene. The wreckage was quite upsetting. The reenergized Freddie started excitedly laughing about the whole scene. He insisted on a picture to be taken of him holding a silver champagne bucket in his lap in front of the many holes in the wall. Lee, of course, obliged him and captured a photo in all of its rather odd glory. It became obvious that a certain hurricane Bill had stormed through the bedroom as well. We packed up and without enough time for breakfast were driven to the airport.
“Freddie Mercury in New York: Don’t Stop Us Now”
Up next, the gentlemen take a flight on a very special private jet! ✈️