Operatic Afternoon (Wardour-008)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Osaka, Japan – March 29th, 1976 (afternoon)
Disc 1: Bohemian Rhapsody (taped intro), Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, Bohemian Rhapsody/Killer Queen/March Of The Black Queen/Bohemian Rhapsody/Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Brighton Rock, Son & Daughter
Disc 2: The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy, Doing Alright, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here, Jailhouse Rock/Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On, God Save The Queen
Operatic Afternoon is Wardour’s second release from Queen’s Night At The Opera tour and they choose to release the famous afternoon concert in Osaka. This is the best sounding tape from their early tours of Japan and is the source for the very famous and obscenely rare Zoom LP. The 2LP set was limited to only 400 copies. The police destroyed most of the copies, so only about 50 copies are in existence. A CD was released by the name of Zoom (LLX 1/2) which claimed to be this famous show, but in reality it is from the evening concert on this date. The evening show was also released as Expert Sky Cabinet on Gypsy Eye (201/202) in 2001.
So this current release is the very first commercially produced compact disc edition of the afternoon concert. Like many famous titles from the seventies, the master tape source is unfortunately not available. Wardour used a pristine vinyl copy recorded from a laser turntable. There is very little evidence of its vinyl origin. Just a few almost inaudible pops in “Sweet Lady” and “White Queen”. The transfer is so good it might as well be the tape. For this alone I would recommend Operatic Afternoon. But the show itself is what we know Queen are capable of before a Japanese audience. After “Ogre Battle” Freddie greets Osaka with “Good evening…afternoon. Konichiwa! You’re too quiet!”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” has already settled into being a crowd favorite and all three of its appearances in the set is greeted with very loud and enthusiastic applause. They also really like Queen’s “nostalgia” numbers like “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” and “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon”. “Doing Alright” is augmented with lots of screaming girls! Roger Taylor gives a good drum solo in “Keep Yourself Alive” and the encores are a riotous way to end a great show. The great performance along with the sound quality and the superb mastering by Wardour makes this an essential release to seek out.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)