Bootleg Race (Tarantura TCDQ-5-1, 2)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 14th, 1979
Disc 1 (68:34): We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Somebody To Love, If You Can’t Beat Them, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, I’m In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, You’re My Best Friend, Now I’m Here, Don’t Stop Me Now, Spread Your Wings, Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life, ’39
Disc 2 (50:57): It’s Late, Brighton Rock, Keep Yourself Alive, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen, announcement
Queen began their longest tour of Japan on April 13th in the Budokan in Tokyo. And while the open night doesn’t have a tape source and remains shrouded in mystery, the second night has several tapes in circulation. One of the sources, which is good but muffled and thin sounding, was released on Pride And Joy (Wardour-047) several year ago.
Bootleg Race on Tarantura debuts the Mr. Peach recording for the show. Like other Peach tapes, it is very close to the stage and picks up the charisma and force of the band at this time. Queen sounds too loud for the recorder since the tape has slight distortion. It’s not too serious an issue, however, and is still better than Wardour.
Queen’s aesthetic changed throughout their career depending upon their whims and movements in pop music. The Killers era is the logical extension and summation of the seventies. A certain brutality surrounds their music, but also nods to their theatric and comical side too.
Freddie’s voice would deteriorate throughout these two weeks (reaching a nadir on April 25th), but is not too bad this night and is able to keep up with the rest of the band.
The opening sounds much too loud for the recorder to handle as they come onto stage for the fast arrangement of “We Will Rock You” which, after a curt greeting, is followed by “Let Me Entertain You,” a mindless rocker followed by a self-conscious parody of arena rock.
After “Somebody To Love” Freddie introduces the next song as a song “from a new album called Jazz. Ah, you recognize it” after there is some cheering. “Much better than last night.” The John Deacon composition is alternated in the set with “Fat Bottom Girls” throughout the tour, and this is assumed to be the first performance in Japan.
Freddie introduces “Death On Two Legs” saying, “we call him motherfucker. What does motherfucker mean in Japanese? Well, you get the gist of it…” The medley has a similar structure to the News Of The World medley except that “Good Old Fashioned Loverboy” is dropped in favor of “Bicycle Race” and “Millionaire Waltz” is dropped altogether. It is a shame the single from Jazz is truncated in the set, but they do manage to include bits of all of the song’s sections in the ninety seconds it’s played. Included also are the bicycle bells.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Spread Your Wings” are their two massive piano driven numbers, and is followed by the three song acoustic interlude ending with “’39.”
After that much fun, they return to arena rock starting with the playlet “It’s Late.” It’s such a melodramatic number that Freddie’s enthusiasm becomes infectious, sucking the listener in.
While introducing “Brighton Rock” Freddie makes fun at the band’s expense by introducing them as “the backing combo.” May’s solo is brilliant, but is actually quite overshadowed by Taylor’s Götterdamerung tympani interlude. It’s so loud it seems to shake the rafters of the Budokan, and the audience’s reaction boarders on the hysterical. Taylor has another, more conventional drum solo in the following song “Keep Yourself Alive.”
Freddie’s voice seems to weaken as the show progresses, forcing him to reinterpret the melody to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” During the final encore set, the audience sing along to “We Are The Champions” and, at the very end, the second closes to Mr. Peach serenade the band with their bicycle bells. It’s a true spontaneous show of support for the band and a great way to end the show.
Tarantura package Bootleg Racein a gatefold sleeve, utilizing the tour poster on the front cover and photos from the Killer tour in the inside. Since Freddie’s voice is quite alright in this show and given the sound quality, this is perhaps the best show to obtain for this era.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)