Have you ever been at a concert, which you can name the best concert in your life with 100% certainty? 

Now, I’ve been.

The concert that takes the top place on my list of the best concerts I’ve been at is a charity Anti-AIDS Elton John + Queen + Adam Lambert concert in Kiev, the Independence Square, June 30, 2012 (one day before the Euro-2012 final in Kiev).

Well, actually, it all started the day before the gig. On June 29, I was lucky enough to meet Brian May, the one and only lead guitarist of Queen, after his and Roger Taylor’s press conference. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Brian standing right in front of me even closer than at arm’s length, chit-chatting, giving the autograph and then, after he had already got into his car to drive to the soundcheck, he saw me and stepped out so we could have a picture of us taken! That was just insanely cool! Such a world-famous guy, musician, songwriter, PhD, stepped out of his car for a fan! At that moment, I was feeling amazed and proud. That’s the memory I’ll cherish forever! And to make the level of awesomeness even higher, by sheer accident, I found on YouTube a video made by some magazine reporter capturing that moment.


Brian May&Mariana Shevchenko
Brian May + me (Kiev, June 29, 2012)


The day of the concert couldn’t be better: the weather was great, I had a great company for the gig, and I was super-excited to see the people I was growing up listening to and watching music videos of – first, Elton John and then Queen + Adam Lambert.

My friends and I arrived at the Independence Square (also known as Maidan now) approx. 4 hours before the security started letting people past checkpoints to the fan zone. It was a free-of-charge concert (both for people with invitations in the fan zone near the stage, like my friends and I, and for people without invitations, who had a chance to watch the concert behind the fan zone and all the way down the main street of Kiev – Khreshchatyk – on big screens installed specially for Euro-2012), so a huge crowd was gathering behind us, but my 2 friends and I were happy that we had a chance to get closer to the stage as long as we had got there earlier than the rest of people, who had invitations too.

When the security let us entry the fan zone, we ‘warmed up’ running to the stage, and how surprised I was when, after I reserved me a place in the first row, I saw that that was a spot I wanted to stand on all along! As it turned out, that was a place right in front of Brian May. What a coincidence!

The concert started approx. 2 hours later with 2 great musicians 2Cellos, a Croatian cello duo, consisting of Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, playing covers of many famous bands like AC/DC, Nirvana, U2, Guns N’ Roses and Michael Jackson. I guess, that was the best opening act I’ve ever seen at gigs.

2Cellos later that evening continued on to play alongside Elton John and his band on the stage and were a great addition to the show!

So, when all the people gathered (as it was calculated, around 200 000 people showed up that evening!!!), hundreds of TV reporters and cameras got ready, waiting full of excitement, Elton John went on stage. The crowd greeted him with huge applauds, screaming and waving. And the magic began.

AwrUG3kCQAACIabCheck out the crowd! Yes, those are all people way back along the street (where the lights are). The stage is barely visible on the left and that place with seats under the round roof is where the organizers and other VIPs were sitting (including Elton John’s husband).

Elton played all his hits of different years (by the way, there was voting on the organizers’ website to find out which Elton’s and Queen’s songs people wanted to hear at the concert, and the results were given to the performers).



My faves are highlighted, so you can see that 90% of Elton’s gig got me jumping with joy!

01. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
02. Bennie and the Jets
03. Levon
04. Tiny Dancer (if you love movie ‘Almost Famous’ too, you know why I like it so much)
05. Philadelphia Freedom
06. Candle in the Wind
07. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
08. Rocket Man
09. Hey Ahab
10. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
11. Sacrifice (my all-time fave!)
12. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
13. Nikita (Solo)
14. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (just imagine if George Michael was there too that day performing this song together as they used to!)
15. I’m Still Standing
16. The Bitch Is Back (this one was so much fun)
17. Crocodile Rock (I really danced off to it at the concert, see me @ 1:32:22)
18. Your Song

I had such a great time! If you watch the video recording of the concert, you’ll see a lot of me (some of my friends wrote me on social networks after the gig, which they were watching on TV that day, that the camera men liked me, so they showed me during almost each song of Elton and Queen, lol). Here’s the full show of Elton John, enjoy:

I really liked all the songs – old and new – but the most precious to me was ‘Sacrifice‘, which I enjoyed listening to and watching the video when I was little. I could have listened to it non-stop.



But the most exciting moment at the concert was when I caught 3 guitar picks of Elton’s long-time guitarist! You can see that moment in the video 1:25:54.

I still have those ‘trophies’ on display in my room.


After Elton John, there were Queen. I couldn’t believe that my dream came true and I was standing at Queen concert, listening to them, seeing them, singing along with them! Ever since I saw a record of Queen concert at Wembley Stadium when I was a child, I dreamt of seeing them live. And so, many years later, it happened. Sadly, there was no Freddie, but when he was shown on screens before Queen walked on stage and during the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘, ‘Somebody to Love‘ and ‘Love of My Life‘, every single person had goosebumps! I did, for sure! At that moment, he was with all of us there.

cULRk7aAy1YCheck out the concert:


And here’s ‘Love of My Life’ separately (you can see me there too @ 2:39)



I was really surprised to see Roger’s son Rufus as one of the musicians at the concert. As I could see, he’s as talented as his dad – musical talent is in the family.




Among so many Queen songs I heard that evening ‘A Kind of Magic‘, ‘I want to Break Free‘, ‘Somebody to Love‘ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love‘ were my particularly _AK_8803_1_1000favourite as long as I loved them since childhood (how can you not like that work of art of the former 2 – those videos were awesome!)

_AK_9381_1_1000It was great to hear live ‘The Show Must Go On‘ because it was never performed by Freddie live. The performance was so powerful but really emotional (for me, at least). And ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ was just OMG! Epic!


The only song I missed deeply that evening was ‘Breakthrough‘. Its music video is in my top 5 of the best Queen videos!

Queen’s setlist:

I won’t highlight my faves ’cause they all are my faves!

01. Seven Seas of Rhye
02. Keep Yourself Alive
03. We Will Rock You
04. Fat Bottomed Girls
05. Don’t Stop Me Now
06. Under Pressure (Roger & Adam)
07. I Want It All
08. Who Wants to Live Forever
09. A Kind of Magic (Roger on lead vocals, Rufus on drums)
10. These Are the Days of Our Lives (Roger on lead vocals, Rufus on drums)
11. Love of My Life (Brian on lead vocals)
12. ’39 (Brian on lead vocals)
13. Dragon Attack
14. Drum Solo (by Roger and Rufus Tiger Taylor)
15. Guitar Solo (by Brian May, incl. “Brighton Rock”)
16. I Want to Break Free
17. Another One Bites the Dust
18. Radio Ga Ga
19. Somebody to Love
20. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
21. The Show Must Go On
22. Bohemian Rhapsody
23. Tie Your Mother Down (Brian on lead vocals)
24. We Will Rock You (with Victor Romanchenko – winner of the Ukrainian X-Factor)
25. We Are the Champions

DSC_0102To sum up, the atmosphere of the concert was absolutely amazing! We relaxed and danced to Elton John’s songs and rocked to Queen songs. Adam Lambert did a nice job, he isn’t Freddie, of course, but performed well, even though it could be seen that he was a little nervous at the beginning (well, sure, hundreds of thousand people were watching). But we, the 1st row, tried to show him everything was great and that we liked his performance, so he cheered up, turned on his charisma and pulled off a great show!


Everything finished off with amazing fireworks, which was a perfect representation of our feelings that night. The crowd just couldn’t get enough! That day was a true holiday that will forever be in my heart!