A Night At The Court – The Definitive Edition (Apocalypse Sound AS 166)
Earl’s Court, London, England – June 6, 1977
Procession, Tie Your Mother Down, Ogre Battle, White Queen, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, The Millionaire Waltz, You’re My Best Friend, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Death On Two Legs, Doing Alright, Brighton Rock, Guitar Solo, Brighton Rock (Reprise), ’39, You Take My Breath Away, White Man, The Prophet’s Song, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Stone Cold Crazy, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here, Liar, Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley
Bonus Feature: Basketball Halle, Munich, Germany – February 11, 1979
Fat Bottomed Girls (Soundcheck), Queen Interview, Let Me Entertain You, Now I’m Here, Bohemian Rhapsody, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock you, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Queen started their 19 date European Tour in Stockholm on May 8, 1977 and finished about a month later with two shows at Earl’s Court in London on June 6th and 7th. These shows were filmed for what was to be the bands first official live video but due to some technical problems with Freddie’s microphone, the project was ultimately scratched. The problem is only at the start of the show and only affects “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Ogre Battle” where his vocal cuts in and out in spots.
Visually, it is only a two camera mix but all four members do get face time. The video quality is very good with the print presumably very close to the master and the picture only gets washed out some in extreme bright lights but this is minor when considering the moments of real clarity. What is also nice is the job that Apocalypse Sound did with the audio, being perhaps the best this has ever sounded.
The performance is finely tuned and where it’s the end of the tour, Freddie’s not afraid to push himself vocally. “White Queen” is mesmerizing both musically and visually and focuses on Brian May for most of the tune. The medley has been modified to include tracks from A Day At The Races and now features “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” and “The Millionaire Waltz”. Freddie introduces “Death On Two Legs” as “about a nasty old man I used to know” referring to the band’s early management. This is played complete here and would be shortened later to be included as part of the medley. “Doing Alright” is a highlight from Queen’s first record featuring some nice sounding vocal harmonies.
The entire band come to the front of the stage for “‘39” for the only acoustic number of the evening. “You Take My Breath Away” follows and is played solo on piano by Mercury where the echo from the arena really lends itself to a very haunting and beautiful version. This is marred only by an unexpected brief noise from a reverb unit. Two Brian May compositions are joined in a unique arrangement starting with “White Man” and finishing with “The Prophet’s Song”. The vocal solo section of “The Prophet’s Song” that bridges the two resembles some of the harmonizing effects that would later be used during “Get Down, Make Love”.
There is some noticeable buzzing during the opera section of “Bohemian Rhapsody” but isn’t really intrusive otherwise. (This buzzing is also present on the CD versions of this concert as well) The energy continues to build during “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Stone Cold Crazy” before smoke fills the stage for the more dramatic “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited”. The “Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley” is rumored to come from the June 7th performance and contains “Lucille”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, “Stupid Cupid”, and “Be Bop A Lula”. There are two unfortunate cuts near the end, one which repeats about 20 seconds of the track and is the only minor flaw in this release.
The most recent pressed version of the Earl’s Court show was paired with the Houston ‘77 concert on the no label DVD News Of The World Tour. This release filled the blackouts with still images, sometimes with photos from much later in the bands career and is also uncut during the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley”. Apocalypse Sound wisely chose not to fill the blackouts, has a much cleaner picture with better color, and is superior in sound quality as well. This is certainly closer to the master than the no label release and is much more enjoyable than News Of The World Tour.
The Munich bonus material is really an excellent addition to the end of the DVD. It comes from German TV in excellent quality and probably comes from the station master or the 1991 rebroadcast. It contains some bits from soundcheck and highlights from the show. The tracks are mostly complete with the exception of “Bohemian Rhapsody” which cuts in at the opera section and mostly contains tracks released after the Earl’s Court show so it works nicely as a companion piece. Bonus features like this are always a welcomed addition and together with the Earl’s Court show the DVD runs almost two and a half hours.
The footage from Earl’s Court is awesome to see and belongs in every Queen fan’s collection. This probably won’t get much better unless the masters are cleaned up and released officially by the band so A Night At The Court – The Definitive Edition from Apocalypse Sound is an excellent title worth picking up. It comes packaged in the labels usual tri-fold digi-pak and once again they deliver an awesome looking product.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)