Queen return home after Sunbury …
After the Sunbury Pop Festival in Sunbury, Australia, Queen are pictured below back from Australia and back home in their native London at Heathrow Airport, January 1974
Queen performed at the music festival on the 27th of January 1974 and were slated to perform again on the 28th but decided to go back home instead.
Freddie and Brian were both ill (Brian became sick after his inoculation prior to traveling to Australia). Freddie was in pain and running a high temperature. They were relieved to get out of Australia and without further delay made the trip back home without further delay.
The band experienced a less than warm welcome by local bands, promoters and patrons.
A local DJ (and Scottish-born musician) named Jim Keays acting as MC introduced Queen as such: “Well, we’ve got another load of limey bastards tonight. They’re probably going to be useless, but let’s give them something to think about!” He then mooned the crowd, and proceeded to call the band “stuck up pommies” before leaving the stage. In addition to that, Queen were looked down upon as being snobs for bringing their own lighting rig and crew, and thus their lighting rig was sabotaged by the local roadies.
Queen were booed and heckled off stage to the point where Freddie threw his tambourine at a rude roadie.
Following their performance, allegedly after the announcer asked the audience, “D’you want anymore from these pommie bastards or do ya want an Aussie rock band?”
Before leaving the stage to jeers that labelled them “pooftahs” who should go back to Pommyland.
Freddie who spoke his mind boldly, fired a parting shot back to the audience:
“𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝗔𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗮, 𝗤𝘂𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱!”
Sure enough, true to Freddie’s word, when they returned April of 1976, Queen impressively sold out their first Australian tour- ‘A Night At The Opera.’ The band topped the charts with their album and of course, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ They were one of the hottest acts on the planet!
This whole Sunbury ordeal cost them dearly, not only in financial terms – they paid their own air fares, but in peace of mind and bad publicity. As a finale, when the plane landed at Heathrow Airport, the band were faced by a barrage of photographers – all waiting for Her Majesty The Queen, whom they had thought was arriving, and none to happy when faced instead with four exhausted musicians.
A great story. Thanks