Archive for the ‘Queen’ Category

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
liveaidtixI went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
liveadiprogFor me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale

Queen and Paul Rodgers Newcastle Arena 3rd May 2005

Queen and Paul Rodgers Newcastle Arena 3rd May 2005
Queen2005Of course, it was never going to be the same. When I heard that Queen were going out on tour again with Paul Rodgers as front man, I could hardly believe it. How was that going to work? What would it be like? However, as an old Queen, Free and Bad Company fan I felt I should go along and support them, and see the new line-up for myself. Marie, David and Laura all came along and we were glad that we did. The way in which the show involved all members with video of Freddie was excellent. And a few Free / Bad Company songs were thrown in for good measure and worked well. You have to give if to them; they managed to pull off what many thought the impossible, to go out with a new front man and make it work. All credit to Paul Rodgers for the way in which he approached this. The show was slick, still relevant and a great tribute to Freddie’s legacy. It will be interesting to see what the new line-up, fronted by Adam Lambert is like.queen2005tix
Setlist: Reaching Out; Tie Your Mother Down; I Want to Break Free; Fat Bottomed Girls; Wishing Well; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Say It’s Not True; ’39; Love of My Life; Hammer to Fall; I’m in Love with My Car; Last Horizon; These Are the Days of Our Lives; Radio Ga Ga; Can’t Get Enough; A Kind of Magic; I Want It All; Bohemian Rhapsody. Encore: All Right Now; We Will Rock You; We Are the Champions
Line-up: Brian May – lead guitars, vocals; Paul Rodgers – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, harmonica; Roger Taylor – drums, percussions, vocals. Touring musicians: Spike Edney – keyboards, backing vocals; Jamie Moses – rhythm guitars, backing vocals; Danny Miranda – bass, backing vocals

Queen St James Park Newcastle 9th July 1986

Queen St James Park Newcastle 9th July 1986
Support acts: Status Quo, Zeno
queentix86The Magic Tour was the biggest and final tour by Queen. Over a million people saw them, making it one of the largest tours ever. The Magic Tour took in 26 dates around Europe’s stadiums, in support of their latest album A Kind of Magic. The UK leg of the tour played at Wembley Stadium, Manchester Maine Road, and Newcastle St James Park (which I attended). The tour ended with a massive show at Knebworth Park. Support acts for the Newcastle gig were Status Quo and Zeno (featuring Zeno Roth, the brother of Uli Roth). Status Quo had just reformed with a new line-up of original front men Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, and new members Rhino (bass) and Jeff Rich (drums). It was good to see the mighty Quo back out on the road again, although it must be said that it was only a couple of years since their 1984 farewell “End of the Road” tour. I’m a big fan of Quo and continue to go and see them today. Their set was a classic hits sing (and rock) along. One song I miss is Dirty Water which was a great crowd favourite in the ’80s. queenprog86
Status Quo setlist: Whatever You Want; Paper Plane; Roll Over Lay Down; Little Lady; Mystery Song / Railroad / Most of the Time / Wild Side of Life / Rollin’ Home / Again and Again / Slow Train; Hold You Back; Don’t Drive My Car; Dirty Water; Rockin’ All Over the World; Big Fat Mama; Don’t Waste My Time; Roadhouse Blues. Encore: Caroline; Rain.
By 1986 Queen were in the groove of delivering mega stadium concerts, and Freddie had grown into a spectacular front man. The set consists of Queen classics, a few album tracks (some of which were not so good in my view) and great rock n roll covers. The tour was captured on the album Live Magic.
Queen setlist: One Vision; Tie Your Mother Down; In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited; Seven Seas of Rhye; Tear It Up; A Kind of Magic; Under Pressure; Another One Bites the Dust; Who Wants to Live Forever; queenchronicleI Want to Break Free; Impromptu; Now I’m Here; Love of My Life; Is This the World We Created…?; (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care/Hello Mary Lou/Tutti Frutti; Bohemian Rhapsody; Hammer to Fall; Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Encore 1: Radio Ga Ga. Encore 2: We Will Rock You; Friends Will Be Friends; We Are the Champions; God Save the Queen.
Queen ceased touring in 1987, due to Freddie’s illness. They would not tour again until 19 years later, when the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour began in 2005, after the tragic death of Freddie Mercury on 24 November 1991, and the retirement of John Deacon in 1997.

Queen Live Aid Wembley Stadium London 13th July 1985

Queen Live Aid Wembley Stadium London 13th July 1985
LiveAidlogo The next time I saw Queen was at the massive historic Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium on 13th July 1985. Queen’s performance at Live Aid at Wembley is often referred to as their greatest single live performance. Indeed, more than that, their short 21 minute set is often spoken of as one of the greatest rock performances ever (indeed; an industry poll in 2005 named it the greatest rock performance of all time). Their set was sandwiched between some great acts: U2 and Dire Straits preceded them; David Bowie and then The Who had the unenviable task of following Queen’s epic performance. It was one of those performances where everything came together. It was the right time of day, as the momentum and magnitude of the event was building, and the crowd were ready for the stadium-filling anthems of Queen. The band were on fire, clearly ready to give it their all, realising that they were performing to a world-wide audience. And Freddie was in command of us all, leading us through a few of their classic songs. Now I am a massive fan of Bowie and The Who, and for me they were the stars of the day, but I must agree that Queen delivered the strongest performance of the event.
From Wikipedia: “At Live Aid, held at Wembley on 13 July 1985, in front of the biggest-ever TV audience of 1.9 billion, Queen performed some of their greatest hits, during which the sold-out stadium audience of 72,000 people clapped, sang, and swayed in unison. The show’s organisers, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, other musicians … and various music journalists ….. commented that Queen stole the show.
Queen’s short set consisted of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (ballad section and guitar solo), “Radio Ga Ga”, a crowd singalong, “Hammer to Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” (1st verse), and “We Are the Champions”. Mercury and May returned later on to perform a version of “Is This the World We Created?”
I saw Queen once more, on their 1986 “Kind of Magic” tour, when it called at St James Park, Newcastle.

Queen Leeds Elland Road Stadium 29th May 1982

Queen Leeds Elland Road Stadium 29th May 1982
Support from Heart, Joan Jett And The BlackHearts, Teardrop Explodes
queentix82In 1982 Queen toured in support of their new album “Hot Space”. “Hot Space” was Queen’s 10th album and saw them experimenting, not that successfully in my view, with disco. The UK leg of the tour consisted of two massive outdoor shows at Milton Keynes Bowl, and Leeds Elland Road football stadium, and two large indoor concerts at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, Edinburgh. I drove down to the Leeds gig with a group of mates. It was a very hot Saturday, on a bank holiday weekend.
I think The Teardrop Explodes opened the show. Now, I was a fan of this band and of Julian Cope in particular. He was a crazy and intriguing front man and they had some pretty neat pop / new wave tunes; notably “Treason” and “Reward”. However, they were viewed as a “punk” band (and hence not “proper” rock) by a small section of the audience who decided to pelt them with bottles. Not a good start to the day.
We were all quite excited about seeing American rock band Heart who featured the amazing (and beautiful) Wilson sisters; Anne and Nancy. We had all been fans since one of us bought “Dreamboat Annie” in 1976; we all borrowed and played that album again and again. Heart’s set included great versions of some of our favourite tracks from their mid-’70s heyday: Magic Man”, “Crazy On You” and the excellent, rocking “Barracuda”. True to their classic rock roots, their encore was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
The final guest act was ex-Runaway Joan Jett with her band the Blackhearts, who got the crowd singing along with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” , which had been high in the charts a few weeks earlier.queenprog82
There was a long wait for Queen. I suspect that they were waiting until it was dark so that the light show would have its greatest effect. Finally, after what seemed forever, the intro to “Flash” boomed across the stadium, followed by ridiculously loud explosions and blinding white flashing lights. Queen exploded onto the stage, Freddie starting to sing “The Hero”. The sort of spectacular entrance that Queen had perfected. The rest of the show was similarly spectacular with Freddie leading the band in those anthemic classic songs, and goading the crowd to sing along. I remember wondering how they would recreate the David Bowie vocal on “Under Pressure” and secretly hoped that he might run out from stage left 🙂 (I wasn’t the only one; rumours were circulating that Bowie would appear with Queen to sing his parts onstage in Leeds and/or Milton Keynes; but of course he didn’t). Instead Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor shared the vocal parts. Another great performance by Queen.
Setlist: Flash; The Hero; We Will Rock You; Action This Day; Play the Game; Staying Power; Somebody to Love; Now I’m Here; Dragon Attack; Now I’m Here; Love of My Life; Keep Yourself Alive; Save Me; Back Chat; Get Down, Make Love; Guitar Solo; Drum Solo; Under Pressure; Fat Bottomed Girls; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Bohemian Rhapsody; Tie Your Mother Down. Encore: Another One Bites the Dust; Sheer Heart Attack; We Will Rock You; We Are the Champions; God Save the Queen
Musicians: Freddie Mercury – lead vocals, piano, tambourine, acoustic rhythm guitar; Brian May – electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals, piano; John Deacon – bass guitar, rhythm guitar; Roger Taylor – drums, electronic drums, backing vocals; Morgan Fisher – piano, synthesizer, backing vocals.

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”.

Queen Hyde Park London 18th September 1976

Queen Hyde Park 18th September 1976
Support from Kiki Dee, Steve Hillage, and Supercharge.
queenracesThe last open air festival event I went to in the long hot summer of 1976 was Queen in Hyde Park. A group of us went down to London by train on a day return ticket, returning straight after the concert on the mail train which pulled out of Kings Cross at midnight. This was a free concert, which drew a crowd of over 150,000, and was organised by Richard Branson. The line-up consisted of Supercharge, Steve Hillage and Kiki Dee. Kiki Dee had just been No 1 in the charts with Elton John and their massive hit Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. There were lots of rumours about that Elton would join her onstage for the song, but he didn’t; instead she was accompanied by a life-size cardboard Elton figure, and we all had to sing the Elton parts with her. Steve Hillage was quite popular at the time, and was great on the day, lots of glissando guitar, and amazing psychedelic trippy versions of the Beatles’ All Too Much, and Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man. There was a big fight in the crowd during his set. But the day belonged to Queen. It was quite a brave move headlining such a major event at what was still a relatively early point in their career, but they pulled it off and were as majestic as ever. Their set was relatively short, around an hour, because of curfew and time restrictions. Apparently Queen were prevented from returning for their usual long encore by the Police. This was just before they released the Day At The Races album. Freddy was amazing, although from where we were standing he was a tiny white figure shining across the massive sea of people (no big screens to watch in those days).
Setlist: A Day At the Races Intro; Bohemian Rhapsody; Ogre Battle; Sweet Lady; White Queen (As It Began); Flick of the Wrist; You’re My Best Friend; Bohemian Rhapsody; Killer Queen; The March of the Black Queen; Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise); Bring Back That Leroy Brown; Brighton Rock; Son and Daughter; ’39; You Take My Breath Away; The Prophet’s Song; Death on Two Legs; Stone Cold Crazy; Keep Yourself Alive; Liar; In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited

Queen Newcastle City Hall 11th December 1975

Queen Newcastle City Hall 11th December 1975
A bit of an adventure involving a ladder and a night at the opera.
In late 1975, Queen recorded and released A Night at the Opera, which was at the time, the most expensive album ever queen 75 progproduced. The album was a massive success, and featured the hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was No 1 in the UK charts for nine weeks and is the third-best-selling single of all time in the UK. This propelled Queen to megastar status, their late 1975 tour sold out in record time, and they were No 1 in the charts at the time of the concerts. For some crazy reason I didn’t get tickets for the City Hall gig, but as the day of the Newcastle concert approached, I became more and more determined to go.
So on the night of the gig I turned up outside the City Hall determined to blag a ticket somehow. Now I had done this several times, and had always managed to buy a ticket, sometimes paying a little more than face value. But that night was different. Demand had been huge, and no-one was selling any tickets. No touts and no spares. A group of us were hanging around with the same idea, all desperate to get in to the show. Time was passing and we could hear the support act, Mr Big, take the stage. Soon they finished their set, and things were getting desperate. Then one guy had an idea. He spotted a ladder around the back of the venue, and looking around, he also spotted an open window. So he climbed up the ladder and squeezed through the open window. A couple of us followed. freddy75The window was tiny, but I managed to squeeze through, finding myself above a sink in the upstairs ladies loo. Luckily there was no one in the ladies 🙂 I quickly sneaked out, and found myself in the circle,  just as Queen took to the stage, exploding into Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen were amazing that night, although I must admit that my enjoyment of the gig was hampered to some extent as I remained on edge throughout the concert, in constant fear of being approached by a steward, and ejected from the venue. I stayed upstairs standing at the side throughout the gig. Luckily everyone was standing, so I easily blended into the crowd. The crowd went crazy for Queen that night; they had now actually become stars;  it seemed to me that they always knew they could and would.
Setlist: Bohemian Rhapsody, Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen (as it began), Flick Of The Wrist, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The March Of The Black Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Son And Daughter, The Prophet’s Song, Doing All Right, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…revisited. Encore: Now I’m Here, Hey Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen
Thanks again to Mitch for his photo which was taken by him that night.

Addition to blog entry on 17 May 2021.
I always regretted that I did not get a programme that night. By the time I emerged from the ladies toilet, after climbing through the window Queen were onstage and I did not have a chance to buy a programme. But through the wonders of eBay I managed to put this to rights, and bought a 1975 UK programme for £30, which I think is pretty cheap. I have attached the image within my blog entry above.

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.”
queen74
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.

Mott the Hoople and Queen Newcastle City Hall November 1973

Mott the Hoople and Queen Newcastle City Hall November 1973
mott73Mott the Hoople’s success with All the Young Dudes was followed by a string of hit singles Honaloochie Boogie, All the Way From Memphis,and Roll Away the Stone all in 1973. These were to be followed by further hits Foxxy Foxxy and Saturday Gigs in 1974. They also enjoyed two major album successes with Mott and then The Hoople. There was however disquiet in the band. Mick Ralphs left to form Bad Company with Paul Rodgers, allowing him to explore the bluesier aspects of rock. And Phally left to be replaced by Morgan Fischer from Love Affair (via his own band Morgan). So when we saw them in 1973, with strong support in the form of Queen, everything was very different. It was the height of Glam, and the gigs were attracting a younger audience and had a much more pop feel, as opposed to the raw rock and roll excitement of those early shows. My friend John writes of his feelings towards the new poppier Mott: “I think I saw them one more time in 74 and by then they had run their course.I had lost interest and think they had too. Commercial success is nothing to be sneered at, and after all it is a business, but whether I thought the band had sold out or there music has changed I don’t know.It just wasn’t the same.” I agree. The band gained in stature and success, and many of their hit singles from that period remain my favourites to this day. Ariel Bender was a crazy foil to Hunter; they would literally push each other to gain centre stage, and their 1973 City Hall gig was great. But it was so different, and so removed from the rock n roll band of just a year or so earlier. There was a buzz about this tour for two reasons. First, because Mott were at the height of their success, and we were looking forward to seeing the new line-up, particularly this mad Ariel Bender guy. motthunter And secondly we were all looking forward to seeing Queen, who had just released their first album and were being hailed as the “next big thing”; a prophecy which for once turned out too true. Queen’s first single Keep yourself Alive was played a lot in the local Mecca ballroom that we all frequented. “Would Queen blow Mott off the stage?” was the question we were all asking. Well of course not. Both bands were great; Freddie was very clearly a star in the making; Bender was as impressive OTT and Glam as promised, and Mott lived up to all expectations, showing just how much they deserved their chart success. A great and memorable gig, and a legendary tour. I went on to see Queen 8 more times; and will reflect on those gigs when I (finally 🙂 ) reach letter “Q”.
John’s views on Queen at the time: “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.”
Queen setlist: Procession/Father To Son, Son And Daughter, Ogre Battle, Hangman, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, Jailhouse Rock/Bamalama Bamaloo. Encore: Hey Big Spender.
Mott set list: Drivin’ Sister, Sucker, Sweet Jane, Hymn For The Dudes, All The Way From Memphis, Sweet Angeline, Rose, Roll Away The Stone, All The Young Dudes, One Of The Boys, Rock And Roll Queen. Encore: Walkin’ With A Mountain.
Things in the Mott camp were however not good, and the pressures of success, years on the road and big egos were soon to come to a head. I saw the band once more before the end came, at that hell-on-earth endurance test of 1974, otherwise known as the Buxton pop festival. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to recall as much as can of their performance at that festival.
Thanks to John for the scan of his poster of Mr Hunter, and Mitch for the setlists.