The Big Hurt: This week in technical difficulties

Where’s Freddie?
By DAVID THORPE  |  May 25, 2012

As a freshly minted connoisseur of dead-guy holograms, I was thrilled when Brian May announced that deceased legend FREDDIE MERCURY would make a special appearance at the 10th anniversary show of Queen's musical, We Will Rock You. "It's a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac," May told the BBC," as we've been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while." However, he claimed that Mercury's appearance wouldn't quite be a hologram, but rather "an optical illusion of sorts. . . . People will come out saying, 'Did we actually see Freddie?'"

And that's precisely what happened at the May 14 performance — although the question was closer to, "Were we supposed to have seen Freddie?"

I was a little worried that, despite the "optical illusion" story being picked up everywhere, I could find no accounts of the actual event, save for some muttering on Queen's online fan forum. The general opinion was that technical problems had prevented Freddie from appearing; a YouTube clip shows a nervous Brian May playing the closing solo of "Bohemian Rhapsody" while staring offstage and waiting for something to emerge; we hear Mercury's voice sing the final "any way the wind blows," but no optical illusion is visible. "I saw a tiny glimpse of something resembling Freddie," said one commenter, "and then it was gone, but I was on the far right, maybe that angle wasn't really good."

I predicted in my recent piece on the Tupac affair that cheapo holograms would inevitably result in glitches, but it's heartwarming to know that even the old classics of rock tech can still go terribly wrong: a planned Roger Taylor drum cameo during — ahem — "The Show Must Go On" was similarly Spinal Tapped; all accounts tell of an expectant band glancing around in low-level panic while Taylor's drum riser failed to emerge from the stage for most of the song. Luckily, Taylor showed up at the last minute, like Derek Smalls finally busting out of the alien pod.

Elsewhere in technical difficulties: BRET MICHAELS is finally seeing his payday for getting clocked in the head by a falling set at the 2009 Tony Awards. The whack left Michaels with a broken nose and a near-fatal brain hemorrhage. However, the suit against CBS covers insult as well as injury. Billboard reports that "The Poison frontman blamed the network for airing the moment, which became a viral video watched by tens of millions of people online." I take this settlement to mean that we're now absolved of any guilt for pissing ourselves laughing at his near-decapitation, so let's all load up YouTube and have another round.

But LIL WAYNE once again wound up on the fuzzy end of the settlement lollipop. This is three months in a row for him, at least: in March, he settled a suit brought by producer Bangladesh over payment for the "A Milli" beat; in April, he settled with producer Deezle over the "Lollipop" beat. This month, he's settling with producer David Kirkwood over royalties for the "Love Me or Hate Me" beat. It's getting to the point where it's almost comical: Weezy is the Wimpy of rappers, and beats are his burgers.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Photos: Most popular slideshows of 2009, The Big Hurt: The miracle of Japanese Wikipedia, The Big Hurt: The Whitney price hike, Francis Bean's cat, Shakira's sea lion adventure, More more >
  Topics: Big Hurt , Music, Arts, Freddie Mercury,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE BIG HURT: LUPE’S CAREER CHANGE  |  March 19, 2013
    You may have already had a big luxurious eye roll at celebrities as "creative directors" of companies ...
  •   WHO CHARTED: SMOOTH JAZZ SONGS  |  March 12, 2013
    If you dig deep enough into's genre charts, past the foreign hits, past the Latin and Christian stuff and the MySpace streaming charts, you'll find one last afterthought: Smooth Jazz.
    In her long career of pushing boundaries, Madonna has run afoul of some of the world's most powerful institutions.
  •   THE BIG HURT: DIVING IN THE PR DUMPSTER  |  February 26, 2013
    I've been dumpster diving in the PR bin, the rankest receptacle of music industry waste, and I've come up with a dripping fistful of the month's hottest garbage.
  •   THE BIG HURT: LEANIN' WITH BIEBS  |  February 20, 2013
    Bieber was allegedly photographed sipping something from a double Styrofoam cup, in close proximity to a big bottle of codeine cough syrup. This can only add up to one thing: lean . That purple drank, the laudanum of Screw, the deadly nectar of Pimp C.

 See all articles by: DAVID THORPE