Queen gigs in 1973 and 1974

Queen gigs in 1973 and 1974
I will spend the next few days reflecting on the occasions that I saw the mighty and majestic Queen in concert.
queenIII first saw Queen when they played as support for Mott the Hoople at Newcastle City Hall on 22nd November 1973. They had just released their first album, the single “Keep Yourself Alive” was out, and there was already a great buzz about this new band. This was one of the few times where everyone wanted to see the support act, and the hall was full for Queen’s performance. They were excellent, much better than many of the bands who would support major tours, and gave Mott a hard act to follow. It was clear, even then, that this was a band who could well make it big, although few would have predicted just how successful they would ultimately become. Freddie Mercury was already a star in his head and in his stage presence, and Brian May’s guitar playing was excellent, his unique custom(self)-made guitar adding an extra dimension of interest.
My friend’s John’s views on Queen at the time of their support slot at Newcastle City Hall: “This was the first and only time I saw them, and I though they were sensational. Really a glam version of Led Zeppelin with some great straight ahead rock songs in Keep Yourself Alive, Liar and Son and Daughter. I immediately went out and bought the album – I had to order it from Bergs [a local record shop at the time]. I told everybody I knew how great they were and that they would be a big success. I felt a very personal connection with them. I can recall being very confused by Seven Seas of Rye as a single, but when Killer Queen was released I was so disgusted that I gave my album away and vowed never to see them again. I lived up to that promise. Aaah the impetuousness of youth.”
A few months later and Queen were back in the region, playing to a packed Sunderland Locarno on 8th March 1974. This, their first headline tour, was at the time of the Queen II album, which was released in the UK on the very same day as the Sunderland gig. The single “Seven Seas of Rhye” had been released a few days earlier, and became the band’s first hit, reaching No 10 in the UK charts. The big show-stopping number was “Liar” which extended to around 10 minutes live and was a massive favourite at the time. This was a great gig, that everyone I knew attended and talked about for months, if not years, afterwards. Queen were amazing, and starting to make a big name for themselves.
Setlist from Sunderland 1974: Procession; Father To Son; Ogre Battle; White Queen; Great King Rat; Doin’ All Right; Son And Daughter; Keep Yourself Alive; Liar. Encore 1: Jailhouse Rock; Shake Rattle And Roll; Stupid Cupid; Jailhouse Rock (reprise). Encore 2: Big Spender; Modern Times Rock’n’roll
brian By the end of the year, Queen had released their third album “Sheer Heart Attack” and moved up from headlining ballrooms to a tour of concert halls. I next saw them on 7th November 1974 at Newcastle City Hall. Support came from Hustler. The single “Killer Queen” had just been released and became the band’s biggest hit to date, making No 2 in the charts. Queen were now a confident, major band, and the sold-out City Hall crowd gave them a great reception. Freddie’s performance was simply rivetting, and his vocal range outstanding. We had seats up in the balcony looking down on the stage. I remember very heavy use of dry ice, to the extent that at one point the entire stalls disappeared from our view, completely shrouded in a massive white cloud. Another great gig, with Freddie resplendent in a massive fur coat.
Setlist from Newcastle City Hall 1974: Procession; Now I’m Here; Ogre Battle; Father To Son; White Queen; Flick Of The Wrist; In The Lap Of The Gods; Killer Queen; March Of The Black Queen; Bring Back That Leroy Brown; Son & Daughter; Keep Yourself Alive; Seven Seas Of Rhye; Liar; Stone Cold Crazy; In The Lap Of The Gods… revisited. Encore 1: Big Spender; Modern Times Rock’n’roll. Encore 2: Jailhouse Rock; God Save The Queen
Queen line-up: Freddie Mercury – lead vocals, piano; Brian May – guitar, vocals; Roger Taylor – drums, vocals; John Deacon – bass guitar, vocals.
Thanks to Mitch for sending his pictures, one of which I have included here. This one of Brian May was taken by Mitch at the Queen gig at Newcastle City Hall in 1975, which I will write about next, in a day or so.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on March 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Excellent blog Peter. I was at all of the concerts mentioned above. In my opinion these were the best Queen years – I still rate their first album as the best one they made by some considerable margin.

    The support band at the 1974 Sunderland Locarno gig was Nutz – a great live band who played a number of times in the region during the mid ’70’s.

    The setlist that I have from the Sunderland gig differs slightly from your blog. I reckon their set included See What A Fool I’ve Been as well as the song Hangman – a track that has never officially been released.

    Procession/Father To Son, Ogre Battle, Son And Daughter, Great King Rat, Hangman, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Modern Times Rock n Roll, Jailhouse Rock, Liar.
    Encores: Hey Big Spender/Bamalama Bamaloo, See What A Fool I’ve Been.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks Mitch. Pleased you like it. I remember Nutz well, I also saw them quite a few times. There are many bands like them who never quite made it, and yet were pretty good acts. Thanks for the update on the setlist; I’m sure your list will be correct, I picked mine up from the internet, and I think it may be taken from a typical setlist for the tour, rather than the specific set from the Mecca. A few more Queen gigs to go yet. Cheers Peter


      • Posted by geoff crawford on November 3, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Great memories.I was there at the Locarno too (aged 15) and my recollection was that Queen came on very late due to technical issues. They were VERY loud as well. We’d missed our train back to Hartlepool so decided to hang around afterwards hiding in a booth somewhere at the Locarno. We managed to meet the band and got their autographs Sadly lost them now!

  2. I was at this concert, had tickets to see Queen the following year when Bohemian Rhapsody was number 1 but I was really ill with the flu and gave my ticket to a mate! So this was in fact the only time I saw Queen, and they were fantastic, I’m glad they’ve officially released the Rainbow show from this same tour – I think literally the following night or two from this gig – so we have a record of exactly the same set list that we got at the City Hall. As with a lot of the bands from this era I loved when I was at school – the Floyd, Genesis, Zeppelin, Sabbath – I sort of abandoned Queen later on the 70’s when I was an older teenager and punk hit, and I did lose faith in many. Some, like Bowie for example, Roxy and the Who to an extent, stayed relevant, but the likes of Queen, Floyd etc were playing these enormous arenas and stadiums and for me it was just big and bloated. But it was a completely different game in the early 70’s when you could see these bands in theatres and clubs, and even if I dislike what Queen turned into after a Night at the Opera, I’ll always remember how good they were when I saw them, and what a magical frontman Freddie was in those days, he had a magnetism and you couldn’t take your eyes off him.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 22, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Simon yes you were lucky to see Queen at their height. There was so much better in the early days Freddie was great! Happy days Peter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: