Real Dazzler (Gypsy Eye GE 197/198)
National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England – September 2nd, 1984
Disc 1 (51:00): Machines (tape), Tear It Up, Tie Your Mother Down, Under Pressure, medley: Somebody To Love / Killer Queen / Seven Seas Of Rhye / Keep Yourself Alive / Liar, improvisation, It’s A Hard Life, Staying Power, Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here, Is This The World We Created?, Love Of My Life (missing), Love Of My Life
Disc 2 (53:37): Stone Cold Crazy, Great King Rat, keyboard solo, guitar solo / Brighton Rock, Hammer To Fall, Another One Bites The Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Jailhouse Rock, We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Queen’s Works tour played in England for only a handful of shows. The NEC in Birmingham is the only venue outside of London to host the tour and demand was so high that a third night, September 2nd, was added after the first two nights sold out and didn’t meet demand. The tape used by Gypsy Eye for Real Dazzleris a very good but boomy audience recording.
Opening with the “Machines” theme from Works, the first numbers are the two fast paced rockers “Tear It Up” and “Tie Your Mother Down” and afterwards Freddie tells Birmingham that “it’s nice to be back on the road after a two year absence. It seems kinda different but as long as you guys are here we’ll be alright.”
The medley is comprised of early material and Freddie acknowledges that “it’s nice to do some of the really early stuff, even though I’ve forgotten the fucking words I don’t care, I’ll make ’em up.” By the improvisation before “It’s A Hard Life” Freddie’s voice is weak. Before the first line he jokes to the audience: “If I don’t get this first note, I’ll kill myself!” Hardly hitting it, he sings the rest of the song in falsetto.
Afterwards Freddie dispels the perennial breakup rumors, saying “If we wanted to break up, we’d let you know. But as long as you buggers buy the records we’re gonna be here. Just to prove it, this is ‘Staying Power.'” The Hot Spacetrack is segued in a short medley with “Dragon Attack” from The Game and with “Now I’m Here.” This arrangement is very clunky, unwieldy and will be dropped later in the tour.
“Is This The World We Created?” is the first song of the short, two song acoustic set. When May plays the introduction to “Love Of My Life,” someone starts singing the song in the audience as was the custom. Freddie quips to May: “They started it up before I even sang.”
“Let’s start from the top. Don’t mess about! How dare you sing without my command?” Freddie continues in jest. He gives the microphone to someone in the front row, but instead of singing they shout some incomprehensible nonsense. Freddie retrieves the microphone and says: “Looks like we really attract a really intelligent bunch.” He then asks, “Should we sing this fucker or not?” and turns to May and says “Why don’t you give the introduction again?”
The third medley of the set is a showcase for the guitar, starting with “Stone Cold Crazy,” a bit of “Great King Rat” and the “Bright Rock” guitar solo followed by May’s tune from Work “Hammer To Fall,” introduced by Freddie as “a light little number.”
After “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” Freddie leads the band into an impromptu performance of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” which serves as prelude to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The final song of the set is a ragged version of “Radio Ga Ga.” It is played without the keyboard introduction and Freddie and Roger get their “goo-goos” and “ga-ga’s” mixed up in the first chorus.
The first encore set is “I Want To Break Free” and “Jailhouse Rock” with “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions” and “God Save The Queen” as the final encores. While they are leaving the stage Freddie quips “come back any time. You’re welcome.”
There is also a soundcheck tape from before this show made by the same taper in circulation. It has never been booted and would have been a nice bonus on this release. But overall the final Birmingham show is a very enjoyable, laid back and relaxed affair with spectacular playing despite some of the mistakes and limitations.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)