The rock legends’ 22-minute set, which has become one of the most celebrated live performances in history, was recreated for Bohemian Rhapsody, the 2018 biopic of lead singer Freddie Mercury that starred Rami Malek.
May told TalkRADIO: “It was so strange kind of reliving it for the movie.
“They recreated it so incredibly faithfully, and to be there on that set was really spine-chilling; it brought it all back.
“And at the time, we weren’t aware of what an epoch-making thing it was, really.
“We came off [thinking], ‘Well, that went kind of okay.’ But we didn’t realise that it had made such a lasting impression on the ether...
“It sort of lives on, doesn’t it?”
When the 1985 charity concert, which was organised by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, is remembered on television, the clip that is most often replayed is of Mercury strutting his stuff on stage, swinging his baton microphone and leading the huge crowd in singing and clapping along in unison.
Mercury died aged 45 in 1991 after suffering from AIDS.
May said of the late singer: “He had a great spatial awareness, and that’s something very important.
“If you’re working with people on a stage, you need to have musical contact, but you also need the kind of physical chemistry going on – the awareness of where you are and where you’re aiming your energy.
“Freddie was wonderful for that, and we just clicked from the very beginning.”
Queen have gone on to tour with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert performing lead vocals.
May has said he is grateful to be alive after a difficult year, having suffered a heart attack and a stomach explosion. He also believes he contracted COVID-19.
Watch: Freddie Mercury struts his stuff at Live Aid