For 12 years, Peter Freestone watched his employer and best friend, Freddie Mercury, perform to packed concert venues.
Mercury, the glamorous linchpin of Grammy Hall of Fame band Queen, died in 1991, leaving behind iconic songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
His former assistant, who was originally hired to take care of the band’s costumes, holds on to the memories, using them to help polish the touring show “Queen — It’s a Kinda Magic!” which stops at the Pikes Peak Center on Wednesday.
“It’s one of the greatest rock show bands in history,” said Freestone, who lives in the Czech Republic. “It wasn’t just the guys going on stage playing music. It was shows, lights, sound, costumes. They wanted to entertain people.
“We want to re-create some memories for people, the ones who were lucky enough to see Queen live.”
The Gazette: What was Freddie like?
Peter Freestone: I thought he was great, down to earth. He could be capricious, but he worked very hard at what he did, recording and doing shows.
That was his life. That’s what he lived for. Deep down, he was the best friend a person could ever have.
Gazette: Why is their music still heard so much?
Freestone: They never tried to write the same thing twice. If you look at each of their albums, they’re always different. They never got into a rut.
They have written some very good music and there is some of it that still sounds fresh today. And you still hear so much of it today, like at a sporting event, “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions.”
Gazette: What was his reaction to his HIV diagnosis?
Freestone: A bit of disbelief. It was always something that would happen to someone else, not him. But once he had accepted it, he spoke about it once to me, in 1987, not long after he had been diagnosed.
He said, “Look, I have AIDS. We will never talk about this again. I know now I have a life to live.” He then plunged into the music side. He worked harder after the diagnosis. He had stopped touring in 1986 before the diagnosis, and I suspect he already then felt tired after shows and had a bit of an idea. The music was keeping him going.
Gazette: Do you remember your last conversation with him?
Freestone: I remember his last words. For the last week, there was someone with him 24 hours a day. Three of us spent eight hours each with him. The doctors told us that we had to let Freddie go, and we had to let him know it was OK.
I had that conversation with him on a Friday. He didn’t talk a lot. The last thing he said, and I will never ever know what he meant, it’s still a question in my mind, but he said thank you. I don’t know if it was for being there for that night or for the 12 years.
Gazette: What was the greatest lesson he taught you?
Freestone: It sounds very corny, but to never have regrets. When you regret something, you are wasting your current time on something that has already happened and you can do nothing about. Your life and past is important, and you must live with it. You cannot live in it. Even when he was healthy, he never planned 10 years in the future. The future is going to take care of itself one way or the other. You have to take care of yourself now.
Contact Jennifer Mulson, 636-0270.