Sunbury Festival, January 1974

Queen's first Australian visit was not an auspicious event. They were brought out as headliners for the third Sunbury festival, which was the first to feature overseas acts. Unfortunately, Queen were virtually unknown in Australia at the time -- their single "Killer Queen" (from their third LP Sheer Heart Attack)  had only limited exposure here, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" was still a year in the future. The band's camp theatrics went down like a lead balloon with the Sunbury audience, who were accustomed to the no-frills blues/boogie of Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, and Queen were jeered, abused as "poofters" and 'bottled' off the stage.

It's reported that, as they left the stage, singer Freddie Mercury proclaimed that next time the group returned they would be the biggest band in the world. It might have sounded like an empty boast at the time, but when they did come back in 1976, "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the A Night At The Opera LP had become massive international hits, and Queen were arguably the hottest bands in the world at that time.

References / Links

Ian McFarlane
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)