Watch Charles Berthoud lead 200 bass players in a magical cover of Queen’s Under Pressure

Charles Berthoud performs with Rockin' 1000
(Image credit: Charles Berthoud)

Charles Berthoud, bassist and social media star with over a million subscribers on YouTube, recently took to the stage in São Paulo, Brazil, with members of Rockin' 1000, the self-proclaimed 'biggest classic rock band on Earth.’ 

With the entire bass guitar section at his disposal, Berthoud led a performance of Under Pressure, the 1981 Queen song co-written with David Bowie. “The band has a great setlist of classic rock songs like Sweet Child O’ Mine, Enter Sandman, Learn To Fly, but I chose Under Pressure because most people already knew the bassline,” he says. “I could immediately hear how I could split the bassists into two sections and then play the lead part on top.”

The unmistakable bassline is one of the most iconic intro's in rock music history. Remarkably, Charles was fairly relaxed about it all. Asked how he monitored his own sound, he explains: “We were all wearing wireless headphones so we could hear each other, but there was still a crazy echo around the stadium. There wasn't much time for a soundcheck either, so it all sounded beautiful and spacey, but also a little chaotic!”

Days before the video was first shared on YouTube, Berthoud had also slapped his bass with 200 drummers in the same stadium. “I've never done anything even remotely similar to this,” he tells us. “I knew I would have only five minutes per video on the day, so I really had to conceptualize every detail in advance. Surprisingly, it went mostly to plan!”

To watch more from Charles Berthoud, subscribe to his YouTube channel (opens in new tab)or visit charlesberthoud.com (opens in new tab)

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Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.