In Concert ’74 (Gypsy Eye GE156/157)
Sartory Saal, Cologne, Germany – December 6th, 1974
Disc 1 (46:36): Procession, Now I’m Here, Ogre Battle, Father To Son, White Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, medley, Son And Daughter
Disc 2 (35:49): Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Stone Cold Crazy, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Big Spender, Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen
The success of Sheer Heart Attac kenabled Queen to make their first trip abroad as a group. Several weeks after the album’s release in November 1974 they traveled to Europe for two weeks, playing in Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium and Spain before heading to the US. In Concert ’74 on Gypsy Eye is a silver pressing of rare tape to come from this visit.
The Sartory Saal, one of the main social halls in Cologne, is a small venue which guaranteed a clear recording. An audience member sitting in front of the stage about ten metres back produced this recording. There is a small cut at 7:28 in the guitar solo and one after “Jailhouse Rock,” but it’s otherwise complete.
It’s obvious when the band begins the show after the “Procession” introduction that they are tentative. “Now I’m Here” sounds very slow and unconvincing and Freddie nervously greets the audience afterwards, saying: “this is our first time in Köln…are you doing okay? Right now we’d like to do something from Queen II. You have Queen II, right????”
“Ogre Battle” is a marked improvement and responding to the cheering Freddie tell them: “I can see you’re gonna be a good audience tonight…I’ve never seen a place like this before.” It is refreshing hearing this kind of insecurity in the band for it makes them sound human. Even though Sheer Heart Attack was a success, they didn’t take that for granted and were unsure how their act would go over in a new city such as Cologne.
Gypsy Eye tracks the medley as one track on disc one. Freddie tells the audience that: “we’d like to do a few numbers from our new album Sheer Heart Attack.” Someone by the stage requests “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” and Freddie tells him “yes ‘Leroy Brown’ will be one of them…one of them is our current single ‘Killer Queen.'” The songs in the medley are “In The Lap Of The Gods,” “Killer Queen,” “The March Of The Black Queen” and “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” and, rather ironically, Freddie misses a cue in the middle of “Leroy Brown.”
“Son And Daughter” contains the long Brian May guitar solo of the evening. It sounds markedly more lyrical than it would become in later years, far from being the heavy metal behemoth by the eighties. Roger Taylor gives the introduction for “Seven Seas Of Rhye” and Freddie calls “Stone Cold Crazy” “rock and roll a là Queen.
The set ends with the sing-along “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” and the encores are comprised of three songs: “Big Spender,” “Modern Times Rock And Roll” and “Jailhouse Rock.” The show ends with May’s arrangement of “God Save The Queen.” This is the earliest recording of this piece which would be released until their next album A Night At The Opera in 1975.
Gypsy Eye attempted to brighten the tape a bit making it sound top heavy by favoring the upper frequencies. A better generation has surfaced recently that sounds better than this, however. Since this is one of the very few Sheer Heart Attack era recordings in circulation, it deserves to have a definitive version on silver. In Concert ’74 is, nevertheless, a fascinating release worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)