Brian May Says John Deacon Was ‘Desperately Uncomfortable’ Playing With Queen

Queen’s YouTube channel recently posted a video in which the remaining members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, looked back at performing in Bejart Ballet in 1996. This being the last performance of John Deacon with Queen, Taylor and May stated that it was apparent how uncomfortable he felt at the time.

After Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991, Queen members went through a challenging period. The band performed a couple of times without Mercury and Deacon for special occasions such as The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS and a Charity Concert in Cowdray House. In 1996, they performed for the Bejart Ballet. It was fascinating for May and Rogers as they looked forward to collaborating with Versace and their music with Mozart.

Elton John was hired to be their lead singer, and they performed ‘The Show Must Go On.’ The recent video shows some footage from its rehearsals, and it is no secret that while May and Taylor seemed happy and excited, John Deacon looks closed up in an imaginary shell. According to Taylor, his discomfort was evident because he was chain-smoking, and according to May, his body language showed it.

Being traumatized differently than May and Taylor, Deacon couldn’t handle performing without Freddie. The thing that possibly triggered him the most was seeing someone else sing instead of Freddie, and he didn’t want to be there for that. Hence, that was the last time the fans saw Deacon with Queen. While Taylor and May continued Freddie’s legacy with Queen, Deacon distanced himself from music and the press.

Here is what Taylor stated in the video about Deacon’s discomfort:

“That was John’s last ever performance. I could tell he wasn’t happy because he was chain-smoking, very very nervous, and had been severely traumatized by losing Freddie.”

May continued:

“Deacy, or dear friend John, I think he didn’t arrive at the same place as we did, and Elton John is there, but John is so desperately uncomfortable with the whole thing. You can see him kind of his whole body is reacting against it. At the end of it, he says, ‘I can never do this again, I can’t do this.’ And it was true, that was the last time he ever played with us in public.”

You can watch the video below.