How can you make Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” even better? Playing it with 1000 musicians in a packed Italian stadium, that’s how! The gargantuan collaboration happened at Rockin’1000 For Romagna, a charity concert to raise funds to help the flood-affected Romagna region.
The performance featured a stadium packed full of singers, guitarists, keyboardists, drummers and bassists all playing together in remarkable harmony. Such a busy performance could easily become a mess but the musicians hold it together very well, creating a truly epic sonic experience. The performance was given to a packed stadium crowd, as you can see in the video below.
Highlights of the cover include the booming drum sound and the beautiful vocal choir. The drummers blend together to create a massive drum sound that is unlike any other, while the masses of vocalists create a heavenly choir. Of particular note is the opera-style section at 2:06 where the low male vocals and high female parts play off each other.
Another great moment is when the big riff comes in at 3:10 and the hoards of rhythm guitarists come together to create an earthshaking riff. Curiously the organizers just had a single lead guitarist do the solo, perhaps not trusting so many guitarists to hold a simultaneous solo together without it falling apart. Rockin’1000 also did a similar epic performance with 1000 musos playing “Learn to Fly” by Foo Fighters, which you can check out below.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is famously one of the most complex songs to achieve such huge international commercial success, so the musicians pulling off the performance so tightly is quite an achievement. The rock opera was originally released as the lead single from Queen’s fourth album A Night at the Opera in 1975.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was penned by Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and parodies elements of opera with its bombastic vocals and nods to Italian opera phrasing, which is fitting for the Italian stadium performance. The experimental song was perhaps ahead of its time, gaining mixed critical reception upon release, but over the years it has become Queen’s signature song and is currently their most streamed track on Spotify by a big margin.