Queen Newcastle City Hall 3rd December 1979

Queen Newcastle City Hall 3rd December 1979
A Crazy night watching rock gods grow in front of my eyes
queentix3dec79This gig came as a pleasant surprise. I didn’t think that I would ever see Queen back in the City Hall again. By 1979 Queen were a massive band, and had reached a point in their career where they were becoming much more used to playing arenas and stadiums, than in small provincial concert halls. So I got quite a shock when they announced a UK tour which saw them return to their roots; going back to play some of the smaller venues which they had packed when they were paying their dues in the early days of their career. The tour included two nights at Newcastle City Hall on 3rd and 4th December. Great! I made sure that we got tickets; no more hanging around outside trying to blag my way in, no climbing through a window this time. queenprog79As soon as we entered the venue is was very clear just how big a band Queen now were, and how much of a “show” we were about to witness. A massive extended stage seemed to take up almost half of the stalls (or the “Area” as the tickets always called it in those days 🙂 …..always seemed a strange name to me), complete with a walkway for Freddie to come out into the crowd. A mass of lights surrounded the stage set-up, and the drum kit stood majestically on a massive raised platform. Pretty impressive and very different from the early days.freddy79The show itself was ultra-professional, and in parts very staged; at times I felt a little too much so, and my mind reflected back to the early days when Queen were a little more of a rock band. The Queen I saw in 1979, and from then on, was majestic, pomp-rock, a true spectacle. Don’t get me wrong, I continued to admire and follow the band, but I must also admit to missing some of the raw rock’n’roll that the early band were so good at. And in each concert, Freddie seemed to grown a little more in confidence, craziness and stature; he began to truly command the audience, and his vocal strength also seemed to grow alongside his presence. freddybrian79This would, of course, reach its peak in Wembley Stadium, at Live Aid in 1985, where Freddie and the band stepped up into yet another league. But that’s for a blog in a few days time. The City Hall show that night saw Queen take us through all their classics in what was quite a long set. Very impressive. It was almost as it they were marking their territory as one of the UK’s, and the world’s, major bands; and they probably were. We left the hall that night, feeling privileged to have see something truly legendary, unique and spectacular. freddy279Setlist: Let Me Entertain You; Tie Your Mother Down; Somebody to Love; If You Can’t Beat Them; Mustapha; Death on Two Legs; Killer Queen; I’m in Love with My Car; Get Down, Make Love; You’re My Best Friend; Save Me; Now I’m Here; Don’t Stop Me Now; Spread Your Wings; Love of My Life; ’39; Fat Bottomed Girls; Keep Yourself Alive; Brighton Rock; Bohemian Rhapsody. Encore: Sheer Heart Attack; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; We Will Rock You; We Are the Champions; God Save the Queen.fredy379 This was the last time I was to see Queen in such an intimate setting. From that night onward, I would watch them from the pitch or stands of a football stadium. It was inevitable that their career would progress that way; their anthems and Freddie’s stage presence were made for the rousing singalongs of the terraces. I’ll write about those experiences over the next few days.
Many thanks again to Mitch for allowing me to use his excellent pictures of Queen, which he took at Newcastle City Hall on 4th December 1979, the second of the two nights which they played there as part of the “Crazy tour”.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dek on May 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Just found this web page and must say .. Whoever took these photos I must of been sat right next to as I have really similar pics from exactl the same angle ! Just saying lol

    Reply

  2. great to see the band in a small venue and it was my birthday,,,, great stuff on this blog

    Reply

  3. Posted by Ged on October 2, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I was at the Newcastle city hall gig on Dec 3rd 1979 and it was my very first Queen gig
    i was stunned from start to finish. John Deacons bass thumped me in the stomach and i remember thinking Queen were not a usual rock group they were very special especially with Freddie. Today Queen have lost the magic as Deacon & Mercury are not in the group. Still from the very start to 1991 Queen were magnificent.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Laurenc eYounger on June 14, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    I was there,it was my first major gig and what a one to start off with,sheer brilliance!!

    Reply

  5. I think this was the best of the six times I saw Queen (although I think I went to the second night on the Tuesday, but I’m sure it was pretty much the same or very similar experience, I never kept my ticket stubs so I rely on my memory and the internet to jog it I’m afraid!). I saw them three times at NCH (74/75/79), Leeds United (82), NEC Brum (84) and NUFC (86). I can honestly say they were great each time but 1979 really stands out as a special one, maybe because even at that point I just never expected to see them at the City Hall again, I do recall queuing in the rain and cold for hours, I’m pretty sure for this gig, but then again all those countless hours of queuing in horrible conditions are rather folding into each other after all these years! Anyway, Queen were amazing that night, it was pretty much the Live Killers set, and loud as hell. I read all over these Queen fan sites that these two nights at the City Hall are now seen as something of a live peak in terms of Freddie’s voice, and I must say that’s how I recall it. On a personal level, it sticks in my mind because my best friend told me he was gay in the pub before hand, which was a big thing in 1979, so it was a slightly strange, emotional night, but all good! I get quite emotional thinking about it, the power of rock n roll, and friendship!

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on July 9, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Great nights and happy days Craig thanks for all your comments and pleased you are enjoying reading my blog Best wishes Peter

      Reply

      • Posted by Gerry. on July 9, 2020 at 1:37 pm

        Hello to everyone! Queen at Newcastle City Hall Tues 4th December was my first ever time seeing the band and i was stunned. They were off the scale and Freddie was my idol. My brother and i were in the balcony but i wish we had been closer. This night was special as Freddie unveiled there new single to be released in Jan 1980 called “Save Me” with Brian at the piano until the guitar blasted in……. amazing ! My last Queen gig was in 1986 again in Newcastle at St James Football Ground and this time we were at the front in the 7th row back from the stage. I saw Freddie & Brian close up and was in awe of them. Freddie even nicked a coppers helmet for a few moments i bet that gave Fred a thrill lol
        Queen were a brilliant band with Freddie, but now the magic has vanished and Adam is limp boring and does nothing for me so i never saw Queen live again.

      • Posted by vintagerock on July 9, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        Hi Gerry see my previous comment. I was lucky enough to see Queen in the very early days when they supported Mott the Hoople, and in Sunderland Locarno ballroom, and at Live Aid; so I am afraid the latest line-up can’t touch those days and the concerts you mention cheers Peter

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