Sweet Rhapsody (Gypsy Eye GE-047/048)
Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England – November 26th, 1975 (early show)
Disc 1 (42:14): Opening, Bohemian Rhapsody (tape intro), Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, medley: Bohemian Rhapsody / Killer Queen / The March Of The Black Queen / Bohemian Rhapsody (reprise), Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Brighton Rock – Son And Daughter
Disc 2 (44:28): The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy, Doing All Right, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Liar, Now I’m Here, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen
Sweet Rhapsody is an early Gypsy Eye release documenting Queen at a very important turning point in their career. A month after the release of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and five days after the release of A Night At The Opera, the single just hit number one on the charts forever changing the fortunes of our heroes. The tape Gypsy Eye use for this release is a good but distant sounding audience recording. It is distant but clear with the emphasis upon the treble. Since its release a lower generation, better sounding tape has surfaced and would make a great silver upgrade. There are several little cuts between songs including after “Liar” with the usual final song “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” missing. Although it is possible the taper didn’t record the song, it would be strange if he did that while recording the encores. Most likely Queen dropped the song from the set for time constraints since they were scheduled for a second show shortly after this one.
The tape picks up with the Kenny Everett introduction. He is the DJ who played “Bohemian Rhapsody” constantly on the radio insuring it would be a hit. The operatic middle of the song is played on tape as an introduction (replacing “Procession” from earlier tours) before the band come on stage and play the hard rock section, seguing into “Ogre Battle.” Freddie says, “Are you feeling fine? We’re feeling great! We’ll do a new number for you, it’s called ‘Sweet Lady'” continuing the hard, heavy vibe. “Flick Of The Wrist,” which is segued with “Lily Of The Valley” on Sheer Heart Attack ends with the “Brighton Rock” ending, an arrangement they introduced the previous year.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” bookends a medley which includes “Killer Queen” and part of “March Of The Black Queen.” “Brighton Rock” was introduced into the set for the first time on this tour and this recording is the earliest live version available (two tapes from earlier in the tour, from Liverpool and Coventry, have the long version of “Son And Daughter” instead). The track lasts for eleven minutes and contains the Brian May solo with hints of nursery rhymes thrown in (“This Old Man” is clearly audible). A long version of “Liar” with extended solos in the middle closes out the performance with a quick encore section with “Now I’m Here” and a short running through of “Jailhouse Rock.” Normally this would have been expanded to include “Stupid Cupid” and “Be Bop A Lulu” but again they sound pressed for time and cut it short. Gypsy Eye use a double slimline package with relevant photos of the era for the front and back. This is a great show to have and since a better sounding generation has since been released another version of this important show would be welcomed.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)